Living by the coast has it’s drawbacks sometimes – the seasonal wind and sea fret can impact the hardiest of coastal dwellers. Just when we thought spring had settled a couple of low frontal weather systems had us scurrying to get out the winter layers again. On the Atlantic side the seas were huge, and one of the unexpected visitors to our rocky beach was an exhausted young Cape fur seal. It hauled out of the water and spent the day on the rocks recuperating. Seal pups are only weaned when they are about nine months old. Baleful eyes warily watched as I attempted to remain discreetly hidden.
Generally the dassie (Rock hyrax) colony commands rights over the rocks and sandbathing facilities, little seal was the first intruder and then up popped a Cape clawless otter.
It was all action for this photographer, as the next to appear (out at sea) were Southern right whales. Their sheer size and tonnage have us entranced and the trick is to figure what is happening out there by trying to piece together the body parts which randomly appear – a ventral fin, the size of the flukes – is it adult or newly born? Or perhaps the cavorting of mating rituals?
Further along the road at the penguin colony the chicks are looking quite bedraggled in various stages of growth:
Looking sleek and probably almost ready to fledge and make off on it’s own, this juvenile’s plumage will soon change to adult colouration.
False Bay is sometimes referred to as the “Serengeti of the seas” for it’s rich marine life and influx of seasonal species. Though there is the fear that many species are decreasing in numbers and little is being done to protect the resources.
Pools of toxic algal bloom which sometimes occur when there is an upwelling of nutrient rich phytoplankton, turn the water an unusual reddish brown colour. These red tides cause depletion of oxygen in the water which is harmful to filter feeders and crustaceans. Tons of of rock lobsters and other shellfish become casualties and the beaches fester with the die off of many of these species.
The “Cape Doctor” (as the south-easterly wind is fondly known) has been in fine form this summer. It’s blustery dynamic speeds have reached galeforce and tempered by the South Atlantic anticyclone weather system hanging off the peninsula, the seas have responded in huge curling waves. A breed of hardy daredevil windsurfers come out to play – while the spectators marvel in awe at their finesse in this scene at Platboom beach.
Here along the coastal edge of the Cape peninsula, kelp forests create unique ecosystem and provide a sheltered habitat for smaller creatures from the force of breaking waves. The photo shows the top fronds of the canopy afloat on the surface of the sea at low tide. It has a neat construction where hollow gas-filled stalks expand into bulbs at the top which then act as floats for the strap-shaped fronds. Creatures such as rock lobsters and sea urchins, mussels and sea cucumbers are typically associated with sea bamboo.
“Afloat” was this week’s photo challenge; to find out more click here to follow the link.