Ocean News

Lightning crashes as white sharks take to the air

22nd May 2009

A white shark breaching out of the water after its seal prey

Yesterday was a day I won’t easily forget as we had the most beautiful lightning and thunder storm in False Bay while white sharks breached out of the water to catch their seal prey.

Seal Island is a very special place on a normal day, but yesterday was a day that will stand out for me as one of my highlights. We left Simon’s Town harbour when it was still completely dark. During the 20 minute boat trip to the island we were stunned by the beautiful, but vicious lightning storm over the Cape Peninsula.

We got to Seal Island just as the sun was starting to produce the most incredible range of colours over the seal colony of thousands of Cape fur seals.

Luckily it didn’t rain too much, although it theatened to do so throughout the morning and we were able to take some photographs and really enjoy the storm.

As soon as the sun was high enough producing enough light we could start observing for any signs of predatory activity by white sharks on the seals leaving and returning from the island. All observers are on the look out for seal movement, unusual splashing, black-backed kelp gulls flying to one particular area and picking up bits on the water surface (which may be seal remains) and of course sharks. We were very lucky to see four predatory attacks, all of them spotted first by a white shark breaching out of the water.

After about two hours the lightning stopped and a rainbow over Cape Point marked the end of the storm. We were all hoping a white shark would breach in line with the rainbow!

Soon the sun started to light up the mountains looking over False Bay.

As soon as the clouds cleared up it allowed us to anchor the boat and start attracting sharks to the boat. The morning was truly unforgetable and each of us on the boat took a moment ot take it all in and enjoy the moment. We are so lucky to be able to work out at sea, some days its challenging and very hard work, but on days like this it is all worth it.