Cape Fur Seal uses the boat for safety as young Great White Shark cruises by!
The relationship between Great White Sharks and Cape Fur Seals isn't quite as straight forward as you might think. Mossel Bays Seal Island is home to roughly 4000 Cape Fur Seals. The juvenile and sub adult residential Great White Sharks in the bay move closer to the island as the inexperienced seal pups make their runs to and from the island. The seals tend to travel in tightly formed fast moving groups but the young sharks can still capitalise on the inevitable stragglers. The young sharks typically range anywhere from 1m all the way up to 4.5m but some of the big bull seals can reach 2.5m long and up to 350kg! The line between predator and prey becomes blurred. Cape Fur Seals eat smaller species of sharks and during the day the seals harass smaller Great White Sharks, chasing biting and scratching them if they come too close to the island. During the day the seals have the advantage, they are far more agile and faster over further distances so as long as the seals can see the sharks they come closer.
This video was taken at Seal Island in Mossel Bay a harbour town on the Garden Route in South Africa’s Western Cape Province. You can see other similar behaviour in some of the other clips on the channel.
In the video you see a juvenile Great White Shark cruising past the boat as an agile Cape Fur Seal hangs close to the boat keeping a close eye on the shark making sure it stays behind and out of site. The Cape Fur Seal then disappears under the boat.
It is not unusual to see larger Cape Fur Seals playing around the boat. Even if there are smaller sharks around, larger seals will come and harass the sharks by chasing, biting and scratching them. The atmosphere rapidly changes when the sun goes down... now the sharks have the advantage staying down deeper perfectly camouflaged biding their time until an unsuspecting seal makes a run to or from the island.