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Nahoon Point and a Super pod of Dolphins
At least a thousand Dolphins
As we enjoyed a cup of coffee overlooking the East London Beach front today we noticed the biggest pod of Dolphins we had ever seen passing by. It stretched for perhaps half a kilometer and must have consisted of at least a thousand of these graceful sea mammals. Their name comes from the Greek word for womb indicating that they carry their young as mammals do.
There are several different species of Dolphin found in the oceans of the world and these were probably Common Dolphins who are known to surround their prey when feeding. The other ones found in this area are Bottle nosed Dolphins.
A group paused at Eastern Beach to form a feeding circle where they stayed for a while. These Dolphins often feed together by surrounding schools of fish. They then feed on these fish as they try to escape or take turns swimming into the encircled fish.
Last night after worship we had sat at Gonubie beach front watching fishermen catching Shad in their dozens. This perhaps heralded the arrival of the annual “Sardine Run”, a miracle of nature that takes place along the S/E Coast of South Africa in winter.(July /August) The arrival of the Dolphins today seemed to confirm this.
From the beach front we hurried about 3 km. to the Nahoon Point Nature Reserve to watch the Dolphins swim past and we were not disappointed. From our vantage point on the boardwalk overlooking the Nahoon Reef, a famous surfing spot, we watched as some of the Dolphins took advantage of a good break to catch a wave or two. Meanwhile the main body, swimming in a long line, disappeared up the coast towards Gonubie in the N/E in the beautiful clear blue waters of the Indian Ocean.
While we have often watched these graceful animals swim through the warm waters of the Indian Ocean we have never seen such numbers. While paddle skiing of Nahoon point I have at times had the pleasure of the company of these beautiful mammals
In October last year a so called “Super Pod” of Dolphins were seen of the coast near Cape Town and can be seen on U-Tube (Dolphin Stampede). For us this was certainly a “Super Pod” here in East London and while it perhaps did not have 10 000 Dolphins it certainly was very big.
Today a friend told us that while surfing at a nearby beach called Chintsa he and his companions were ushered quite aggressively out of the water by some Dolphins at about the same time we watched them coming past in East London. This is unusual behavior that we have never heard of before.Normally they are quite happy to share the waves with humans.
The nature reserve today also produced the ever present African Oyster Catchers, Kelp Gulls,Little Terns, a Brown-hooded Kingfisher and a Raptor that we could not identify.There is a pair of Crowned Eagles and also a pair of Peregrine Falcon that frequent this coastal area. Because of its size we felt that this was probably a Crowned Eagle. We also saw some Rock Rabbits who live on the sand dunes in the area and a Blue Duiker crossing the road near the sign board warning of their presence. All in all this was an experience to be savored, even by someone who lives at the coast like we do!