False Ridge: CREATURES

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Whether you're a nature enthusiast, student or simply curious about sharks, our informative guide provides everything you need to know about these incredible creatures and the underwater world they inhabit. This is the South African winter hunting ground of the Great White Shark who feed mostly off the young seal pups.

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During a season we can observe up to predatory events making it the most intense Great White Shark hunting area known on earth, which makes for excellent viewing. In summer, baitfish attract migratory fish species such as Kabbeljou, Yellow Tail, Elf and Steenbras, which in turn attracts larger predators including a host of shark species. Royal blue on top and silvery white below, the Mako Shark is one of the most striking animals on earth. They are streamlined, with a conical snout, small second dorsal fins, and the aforementioned tail shape. Their dark eyes give them the bold, focused look of a predator.

Mako Sharks start off feeding on baitfish but as they grow are capable of hunting large Tuna, Swordfish and even dolphin and seals.

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Although capable of growing to over 4m 13ft , the Mako Sharks that we encounter are usually juveniles, averaging about 1. As the name suggests, these sharks are a beautiful shade of blue and have long pectoral fins for gliding in search of food. Blue Sharks adopt an up and down swim pattern searching water columns for food, as opposed to the traditional criss-crossing movement seen in other sharks.

Growing as long as 4m 13ft , the Blue Shark is the nomad of the open ocean. Blue sharks have an interesting adaptation in that they have papillose finger-like gill-rakers that stops very small food items such as krill from escaping out the gill slits. The Blue Shark is one of the most fecund giving birth to lots of young of all large sharks and was once recorded giving birth to 40cm young. Most Blue Sharks we see are between 1. Growing to at least 10 feet these massive sharks with their disproportionately large heads filled with heavily serrated hexacomb cutting teeth are the dinosaurs of the deep.

There are few places on earth where they occur in shallow water with reasonable visibility.

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Seal Island is one such venue and this is one of the great shark species we see from August to June at this famous Island that has been the subject of so many documentaries. They are highly interactive around the cage ensuring guests enjoy excellent viewing opportunities and longer cage time.

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Learn more about the range of other marine species that live along the South African coastline, here. Boulders Beach where the penguins are today was a whaling station until the early 20th century and the old tethering rings for harpooned whales can still be seen today. They can be seen in False Bay between August and November and occasionally as early as May, using the waters in the bay to mate and calve. It is believed this species may live up to 70 years of age. The double spouted blowhole is also indicative of the species.

During late August, September and October you may be thrilled by the exciting occurrence of a breaching Southern Right Whale in the bay. The Humpback Whale undertakes the longest migration of any mammal on earth, with some covering nearly 16 km in a round trip.

Humpback Whales are well known for creating a net of bubbles to trap the fish on which they lunge feed. Usually seen in family groups of 2 or more, we typically see these whales 5 to 10 times a year, to the east of Seal Island and regularly during our spring and early summer months off Cape Point. These 17m long giants are affectionately known as the ballerinas of the ocean as they twist and tumble in the open ocean. These whales are more likely to investigate a boat than the Brydes Whale and we have had a number of incredible interactions.

The Antarctic Minke grows to around 11m, while the Dwarf Minke grows to around 8m. Neither species have a visible blowhole and both only have a single ridge on the head. Although seen elsewhere, these 15m long whales are semi-resident to False Bay. They are named after Johan Bryde — a Norwegian whaler who initiated a whaling operation in South Africa.

Humpback Dolphin have only been seen a handful of times in False Bay and we have been lucky enough to see them twice — on both occasions they were seen close inshore. Sadly large levels of pollutants have been found in their tissue. They are between 2. We have seen two species of Bottlenose Dolphins in False Bay. Mostly seen closer to Muizenberg and Strandfontein beaches, these 2. On very rare occasions these dolphins will swim right next to Seal Island.

On several occasions, remains of Bottlenose Dolphin have been found inside the stomachs of Great White Sharks. Here's a quick rundown of how scientists have sorted real from fake.

All Creatures Big and Small

The Verdict : No Evidence That it's Real The kraken is a mythological standby, a sea monster of epic proportions believed to have lived off the coast of Norway. Nevertheless, the creature made a big splash in the news last month when Mark McMenamin, a researcher with Mt. After seeing the bones, he said he noticed something strange. Next, it slowly dawned on me: Oh my, something murdered these creatures, dragged them to this spot, and messed with the remains. This is the signature of a Triassic kraken. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, so the great sea monster remains a myth.

Wikimedia Commons. Giant Squid. The Verdict : Real One of the earliest reports of a giant squid came from Aristotle in the 4th century B. After that, reports by sailors and fisherman throughout the centuries turned this animal into a legend. This huge cephalopod was established to be real in the 19th century, when a bunch of them washed up on the shore in New Zealand. For a two-year expedition, researchers from the National Science Museum of Japan and the Ogasawara Whale Watching Association tracked sperm whales, which are known to feed on giant squid.

The researchers dropped a foot baited fishing line hooked up to a camera and flash into the ocean. When a giant squid attacked the line, the camera triggered and took more than pictures, the first of this creature in its natural habitat. The giant squid can grow up to 46 feet long, making it one of the largest animals on the planet.

De Loys claimed that the creature attacked him and his crew, so they killed it in self-defense. Illustrated London News published the picture in The creature is widely believed to be a hoax. There are few clear photographs of the oversized beast. No bones have ever been found. Countless pranksters have admitted to faking footprints. Yet a small but vociferous number of scientists remain undeterred. Risking ridicule from other academics, they propose that there's enough forensic evidence to warrant something that has never been done: a comprehensive, scientific study to determine if the legendary primate actually exists.

Sasquatch stories go back centuries.

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Tales of mythical giant apes lurk in the oral traditions of most Native American tribes, as well as in Europe and Asia. The Himalaya has its Abominable Snowman, or the Yeti.

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In Australia, Bigfoot is known as the Yowie Man. Bigfoot advocates hypothesize that the primate is the offspring of an ape from Asia that wandered to North America during the Ice Age. They believe there are at least 2, ape men walking upright in North America's woods today. An adult male is said to be at least 8 feet 2. The creatures are described as shy and nocturnal, and their diets consist mostly of berries and fruits.

Matt Moneymaker had been searching for Bigfoot for years. In the woods of eastern Ohio, he claims he finally came eye to eye with the elusive primate. He wanted to let me know I was in the wrong place.