Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Dolphin Action

Nine paddlers showed up for last Tuesdays paddle. As soon as we rounded the corner at Watsons Bay I new from the large number of gulls around that something was going on. As we hit South Head Andre and I broke from the group to go investigate.

Soon we were in amongst a huge school of Australian Salmon. They were feeding on the surface, mouths wide open sucking in some tiny food source which I suspect were shrimp about 4 mm long. To add to the spectacle hundreds of gulls, some terns and a couple of cormorants were also working the frenzy. The sheer size of this school which I estimate to have been at least 20 x 30 metres (and thats just what was on the surface) was exciting enough but what happened next really blew us away.The sea in front us erupted. The fish were splashing the surface as the predators came charging in from three sides. At first we didn't know what was going on except that there was something big involved. To our great relief we soon realised that it was dolphins that had launched the attack. The surface quickly went quiet as the fish dived. Now dolphins were popping up all over the place. Not far from us two dolphins shot clean out of the water, somersaulted and landed with hardly a splash. I was snapping away with my little camera but as is often the case the photos were all duds. Out of focus, water on the lens, too far away and missed shots beacause of that dam shutter lag. As a result I got this could have been a great shot!
We caught up to the group, none of who had noticed a thing!

I'm thinking of retiring my Nikon D2H and sacrificing it for a season of kayaking shots.
A few weeks ago there were three seals off South Head, there are whales coming down the coast and now large Pods of Dolphins. It seems this is the time for wildlife spotting!