Tuesday, November 18, 2014

What barks but lives in the sea?

Hi Sea Fans!

Having visited with some seals lately, I feel a little homesick. It reminded me of an amazing dive I did in in Plettenberg Bay on the South African east coast. 

Cape fur seals (Copyright Hans Hillewaert)
The visibility was bad (I reckon 2 metres, but my dive buddy reckons 3 or 4m), we were being pushed around by a surge in shallow water, it was freezing cold (15°C is not my kind of temperature for diving) and the instructor said that usually there are more seals, but hey - we had fun!  They're such curious, cute animals.  We only spent about 15 minutes with them, but it was great. You really appreciate nature when you're up close to animals (not too close mind you!).  I'm so used to seeing them in the aquarium and if I see them in the wild, I'm usually on a boat, but under water...they're quite magical. 

Did you know that the male Cape Fur Seal is the largest of all the fur seals?!  They reach 2 - 2.3 metres and weigh 200 - 360 kg!!  The Cape Fur Seals are found along the coasts of South Africa and Namibia and are not migratory, but will move within their range.  Their diet varies with the seasons, but some of their favourites are maasbanker (pronounced: maahs-bunker), pilchards, hake, squid and cuttlefish.  At the aquarium, the seals get a variety of fish and squid, also depending on the season.  Sometimes I think I should have been an animal in the aquarium, their lunches are often better than mine!  Well, I guess it's off to eat my peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch then.

Have a great November, Sea Fans, and I'll chat to you soon.
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