As we move from the end of autumn towards the beginning of winter in South Africa, we are also drawing ever nearer to “breach season”.
Below is a graph representing the average number of white sharks sighted per unit effort (SPUE), in this case per hour, for each season.This graphical representation of the data highlights a distinct peak in abundance during the winter months.
Insight into the life-history of this seal species shows that the winter months coincide with the time seal pups leave the island to forage offshore for the first time. The lack of experience in predator-prey games make these seal pups an easy target for white sharks. Thus it’s easy to see why, during winter, the mean number of sharks seen per hour is 1.57 in comparison to the average of 1.3 sharks per hour across the four seasons.
As we move into winter and the environmental conditions favor the ambush-strategies of white sharks stalking Cape fur seals, it is certainly a very exciting time to be out at sea!!