Yesterday, 1 April, at approximately 11am, a large shark was spotted in Noordhoek by a group of surfers. They observed the shark patrolling up and down the inshore area, in beautiful crystal waters. The shark was originally thought by onlookers to be a white shark, however, luckily a hang glider took an aerial photo of the animal, and, after consultation with experts from KZN, we were able to confirm that it is infact a whale shark.
While many would presume the cold Atlantic waters would not be welcoming for whale sharks, it is not uncommon for us to encounter at least one whale shark per year stranded along our coast, so they definately do frequent our waters occassionally, although in general it is too cold for them. Just last weekend a juvenile whale shark died at Kommetjie.
Interestingly, the first whale shark ever described by science came from Table Bay, Cape Town. The theory is that they migrate along the warm Agulhas current and occasionally get trapped and then succumb to the cold when the water suddenly turns cold again.
Whale shark or white shark….we still think it is a pretty cool sighting!