Trip Highlights: 4 species Albatross including Atlantic and Indian Yellow-nosed, Great Shearwater, Parasitic Jaeger, Sabine's Gull, Dusky and Long-beaked Common Dolphins, Sunfish, Mako and Blue Sharks!
We began the bird species list for day immediately on leaving the Simon's Town quay. The large fenders in the yacht club held Cape Cormorant, Kelp, Hartlaub's and a single Grey-headed Gull, and a Grey Heron. Offshore of Boulders Beach we had several large groups of African Penguins heading out to sea.
After completing the run to Cape Point, we stopped to get a few photos of the impressive sandstone cliffs and its two lighthouses. Offshore of the point we sighted our first pelagic species: White-chinned Petrels and Sooty Shearwaters. The large numbers of small bait fish also attracted a variety of coastal species: Cape Cormorants, Kelp Gulls, Great Crested (Swift) and Sandwich Terns.
Once in the open ocean, we saw of first Shy Albatrosses, and were treated to a small pod of both Long-beaked Common, and Dusky Dolphins feeding on bait fish, along with several Yellow-finned Tuna.
On reaching a distance of 23 nautical miles off of Cape Point, we decided to stop and begin chumming as there were no fishing vessels within range. As the number of birds steadly increased, we generated a respectable species list. The additional species seen included: Black-browed, Atlantic and Indian Yellow-nosed Albatrosses; Northern and Southern Giant Petrels; numerous Wilson's and European Storm Petrels, Sabine's Gull and Arctic Terns. The activity was not restricted purely to seabirds. We had a few sightings of Blue and Mako Sharks, two Sunfish, and a single butterfly!!
On the trip back to the coast we added an additional sighting of Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross, while adding a single Great Shearwater, and a dark morph Parasitic Jaeger. The jaeger was a milestone sighting for one of our guests. It allowed Frans-Hendrik Joubert to set a new record for the number of species (336!!) ever seen as part of the Wider Cape Town Birding challenge. Well done Frans!!
Just before reaching Cape Point we sighted a pair of distant whale blows. The whales submerged quickly and their identity could not reliably established. They were either Humpbacks, or most likely Bryde's Whales.
Our last stop was at the cormorant colonies at Partridge Point. The main rock held several dozen Bank Cormorant nests. The rocks also had good numbers of Cape and White-breasted Cormorants. The Cape Fur Seal haul-out rock was particularly crowded in the rough seas, with a single African Black Oystercatcher adding a splash of birdlife to the scene.
A personal note from Vince Ward: This was my 60th pelagic as a guide. I would like to heartily thank Cape Town Pelagics for its ongoing support, in allowing me to indulge in my love of going out to sea to show our guests the unique spectacle that lies off the Cape coast.
Atlantic Yellow-nosed Albatross
Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross
Shy (White-capped) Albatross
Northern Giant Petrel
Southern Giant Petrel
Wilson's Storm Petrel
European Storm Petrel
Cape Gannet - coastal & pelagic
Greater Crested (Swift) Tern
African Black Oystercatcher
Cape Fur Seal
Long-beaked Common Dolphin
possible Bryde's Whale
A message from Cape Town Pelagics:
A huge thank you to our experienced skippers who are
able to safely lead us to the best birding areas and
skillfully manoeuvre the boat into just the best position
while all on board are busy concentrating on the birds!
Coordinating a pelagic trip over a year in advance
with guests from all across South Africa and different
countries around the world requires an organised office
team. We thank them for their special eye for detail
- and for the sometimes last-minute rearrangements
and frustration if the weather delays the trip to
another day! Our biggest thank-you is to our Cape
Town Pelagics guides who take time out of their work,
often involving seabirds and conservation, and time
away from their families, to provide our guests with
a world-class birding experience. Cape Town Pelagics
donates all it profits to seabirds, and so all the
participants who join the trip make a contribution
towards bird research and conservation - a big thank
you from all of us.
Trip Report by Cape Town Pelagics
guide Vincent Ward.
To book, simply email
or phone us, or submit a
booking enquiry online.