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Nicole the Great White

Nicole, the Great White Shark caused quite a stir after being tagged on South African shores, and then, to everyone’s amazement, being tracked swimming to Western Australia. The trip of more than 11 000 kilometres took only 99 days for this 3.8-metre shark. Remarkably, six month’s later she was observed back in South Africa. Nicole, who was named after Australian actress Nicole Kidman following her Aussie adventure, made the fastest recorded return-trip across an ocean of any marine animal.

The Story

Nicole’s a Great White, she has quite a physique
She’s strong, she’s fast, she’s stylish, she's sleek
Teeth she has lots of, an endless supply
She’ll never run out like you or I
She’s incredibly proud, as she rules the sea
She’s been top of the food chain for eternity…

Like all sharks, Nicole is rather partial to fish, which is how she lands up in a bit of a pickle with some trek fishermen in this story. In South Africa, trek-net fishing has been practiced for centuries and is a skill passed down the generations. The False Bay trek fishermen post a spotter on the hill overlooking the bay, who uses flags and a horn to direct the fishermen in their bright little rowing boats towards shoals of fish. Read this book to find out about Nicole’s big day out fishing…

The story is written in rhyme and aimed at 3 to 7 year olds.


Many thanks to:
* Alison Kock, a great white shark scientist, who has devoted her life to the study of these magnificent creatures, for her input and incredible support throughout this project
* Save our Seas Foundation for funding this book
* Two Oceans Aquarium for permission to use pictures taken at the aquarium
* Shark Spotters for their input and for being featured in this book
* Greg Bertish for his input and for being a founder of Shark Spotters
* Dan Beecham, Andy Casagrande IV, Tom Campbell, Morne Hardenberg and Alison Kock for photos of Great Whites

The tracking of Nicole was a study conducted by the Wildlife Conservation Society, Marine and Coastal Management Branch, Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, White Shark Trust, University of Cape Town and University of Pretoria.

Just for the record

Nicole was not really caught in a trek net - but she really did swim all the way to Australia :)

Eric the Baboon

Eric the baboon is the alpha male of the Slangkop troop on the Cape Peninsula. He is a living legend in Kommetjie. You've gotta love him! He is the grandfather in the troop and can often be seen in the mountains babysitting all the little ones, protecting them from the young males. He plays a very important role, he is old, he is wise and he is gentle.

News of Eric can be seen here

The Story

This tale's about Eric, he's baboon number one
He's the alpha male and he's lots of fun
He's bigger than you and stronger than me
He lives in the mountains next to the sea…

Eric has lived here for 18 years. He frequently raids homes and shops. His favorite food is carrot cake, which he nicks on a fairly regular basis from the local coffee shop. One day he is injured, rescued and taken to the local vet. His wounds are healing but he was pining and refusing to eat. Everyone thought this was the end of the road for Eric. Find out what happened...


Many thanks to:
* Vernon Bell for permission to tell his story
* Marlei Martins for her input and support throughout this project
* Ruth Kransky for facts and figures about the Chacma Baboon taken from her publication 'Baboons on the Cape Peninsula'
* Baboon Matters for facts and figures about the Chacma Baboon

Just for the record

Eric was not actually wounded by a fire, he was attacked by dogs. I felt learning about fires and the damage they do was a more important lesson, as fires plague us every summer.

The story is written in rhyme and aimed at 3 to 7 year olds.

Peter, Pamela and Percy

Were the three penguins that were rescued during the Treasure oil spill and kitted with tracking devices. They were shipped by truck to Port Elizabeth and their swim home to Cape Town was tracked.

The Story

The thunder was rolling and the lightning was crackling
As the storm rumbled in the sailors were battling
The waves were enormous, well so I'm told
And the poor Treasure, how she rocked and she rolled…

This book is based on the true story of the ship the 'Treasure', which sank in June 2000 just north of Cape Town, and caused a huge oil slick (1300 tonnes of oil) that harmed thousands of sea birds. People came from far and near to help rescue the penguins in an enormous clean-up operation driven by the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, the Avian Demography Unit at UCT, SANCCOB and WWF amongst others. About 43 000 penguins were rescued in total, of those about 20 000 were oiled. The clean penguins were shipped from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth by truck to swim back to Cape Town (with some luck, because no one knew for sure what they would do, but they were counting on their strong homing instinct) in order to buy time to clean the beaches and the sea. The whole of South Africa plotted the progress of the 3 rescued penguins, Peter, Pamela and Percy, who were equipped with tracking devices (provided by SAP Southern Africa), as they swam home to Cape Town.

The story can be seen on this web page amongst others.

The story is written in rhyme and aimed at 3 to 7 year olds.


* It was Professor Underhill's idea to track the penguins, head of the Animal demography unit at UCT, so effectively this is his story - thank you Professor for giving me the nod to retell it in this way.

* A very big 'Thank you' to Lisa Templeton(my dear friend and editor) who gets out her red pen with relish! Thank you Lisa.

Just for the record

It was the ship 'Sealand Express' that ran aground in a storm (but didnt actually sink) in the end they managed to float her again.

The ship 'Treasure' had a huge gash in its hull, probably caused by hitting a container. While being towed she sank ... there was no storm, no running aground etc.... it just made for a more exciting story ;).

About the books

These books have been put together by two Kommetjie mums, Linda Fellowes(aka Lulu) and Theresa Acker(aka Tee). We have aimed to make them fun and educational with a touch of magic.

All the photographs used in the books were taken by Lulu, in and around Cape Town, including the Aquarium, Boulders Beach, Robben Island, Kirstenbosch and Cape Point.

We have tried to make the pictures as real as possible, incorporating the fauna and flora of the Cape Peninsula. Children really enjoy seeing places, creatures and things that they know/recognise.

Tee is an illustrator and graphic designer with many years of experience in the printing and advertising industry. She has designed a number of books including South Africa’s top selling artist, Pieter van der Westhuizen’s two coffee table books, and she illustrates and designs many of South Africa’s leading greeting card ranges. She also has great fun with her decorative range of art using etched metal which she supplies to décor shops and galleries to see more of Tee's work click here .

Lulu is a systems analyst/programmer, who has a passion for the sea, travel and photography. She was a volunteer at the shelter where the penguins were cleaned, fed and tagged. She handed out oilskins and wellies, cleaned hundreds of fish (to be fed to the penguins) and scrubbed guano-filled portapools with very many good-natured penguin-loving souls.

What have we done to our oceans?

Lulu has a huge passion for the whales too, the gentle giants of the sea, she is an avid whale-spotter - please help stop whaling now by clicking on the IFAW banner.

Lulu and Tee