Cape Town Travel Diary: Seals

I'm back from my 9 days in Cape Town, South Africa. Since I got a very satisfying amount of sleep on the plane (a journey > 16 hours on the plane, >24 hours shuttling to, around, and from international and domestic airports) I'm up for sharing some of my photos and adventures.

Although I only had cumulatively about three days to be a tourist, I made the most of my time so I'll have to spread the photos and stories across a couple of posts. Seals, Cape of Good Hope, penguins, shark diving (!), Table Mountain and the waterfront will be some chapters you can look forward to reading.

Day 1 - Seals: I booked a tour to the Cape, including arrangements to see fur seals and penguins. Really not the kind of animals that come immediately to mind when you think of Africa, but I've learned there's a big difference between northern and southern Africa.

Here's the harbor where we gathered for a morning boat ride to see the fur seals in Hout Bay. It was beautiful and serene as the mist lay like a gentle veil on the water and boats floated quietly in the harbor. The seals have the most blood vessels in the tips of the flippers so they hold them out of the water to best stay warm through the sun's rays. But it also kind of looks like they are all waving 'hello' to you as you pass by. We met a guy who has been working with a particularly large seal for the past 20+ years by creating photo op's for the tourists. I had to ask, "Where does the seal sleep at night?" The guy explained that at the end of the day the seal just pops back into the water and knows to meet him on the dock the next morning for more photos. I can't quite tell you how strange it is to feel the hot breath of a fur seal on your hand as you dangle a fish above him to nosh on. We later noted that this trained dock seal is far more plump than any of the seals we saw on the island, likely thanks to his steady diet of tourist-dollar-funded fish.


JCK said...

Yay, you're home! After you left, my dear husband sent me links to all the youtube videos of shark dives go wrong. I'm so glad you survived. Now I can sleep at night :) I look forward to seeing more pictures.

Claire said...

Yes, home safe and sound with all limbs, fingers and toes. :)

Ellyn said...

What a hearty-looking seal! I love the photos of Cape Point-- beautiful! I want to catch up via phone soon to hear more about your trip.


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