Shark Natural Predation
The single most unique feature that differentiates the predatory activity at Seal Island in False Bay, is the way in which natural predation takes place. No where else on the planet will you find a place to watch how white sharks during our winter months, make use of the hunting teqnique which they have perfected for the particular topography around Seal Island, in such regularity.
Early morning, before sun rise, we arrive at the Island to witness this spectacular event. On land, you will be fortunate to see a cheetah, or lion make a kill. But here at Seal Island in False Bay, marine life offers you the best opportunity to see its apex predator, the great white shark, in spectacular fashion, relentlessly chase down a Cape fur seal, usually either leaving the Island to go and feed, or on return after a hunt.
The topography around Seal Island is Ideally suited for the white sharks to make use of a hunting method that is especially adapted for this type of terrain, with deep drop offs dropping down to between 60- and 120 feet within a couple of meters away from the Island.
During early morning before sunrise, sharks drop down to the depths around Seal Island and patrol the perimeters of the small Island with its 50 000 strong Cape fur seal population. It is during these early periods of dawn when the feeding drive of the Seals urges them off the Island to go and feed, or heading back to their safe haven where they can rest after a hunt, that they are at their most vulnerable for the hunting great white sharks that is on patrol around the Island.
The low light at dawn which limits visibility for the Seals, then aids the sharks when they swim up from 80 feet down, attacking the overhead swimming seals with great speed, stealth and using their dark top-side colour as camouflage.
If successful in it approach, the one ton shark flies out of the water, hitting the swimming seal with such force, that the attack ends in a couple of seconds with devastating effects.
If however the seal seas the approaching shark in time, it results into the most spectacular marine and aireal acrobatics, marine life has to offer for us humans to witness. But sometimes even the best swimming manouvres and efforts of the nimble fleeing seal is not enough for it to escape the non relenting chasing and flying "air jaws'" of the white shark in hot pursuit. If the chase is unsuccessful, the seal usually swims away in high fashion, with the shark disappearing into the depths of False Bay again, preparing itself to lauch another attack on a later occasion.
As the sun starts rising and the sunray penetration improves viibility in the water for the seals, the element of surprize, to attack the seals, gets less and less resulting in decreased surface activity. The surface attacks and activity only increase towards late afternoon again. If you are a nature lover, try not to miss out on this spectacle. Plan your trip around it if you can. The best time to witness this natural phenomenon is during our mid-winter months between mid-April and mid-September.