Sardine run / South Africa

Dolphin hunt
Every year, from the end of May till the end of July near the south-eastern part of SAR there is a natural event that is called the Surdine Run.
Thousands of fish, mainly Sardinops sagax are spawning in the cool waters of Cape Agulhas, forming the schools that are 7km/4.3mi long, 1.5km/0.9mi wide and 30m/98ft deep. Due to this gigantic size this event can be observed from both air and coast.
The abundance of fish attracts marine predators. There are lots of seals, sharks (dark, blacktip, grey, bull, white and hammerhead) and whales. Gulls and cormorants attack the fish from the top.
Each predator species uses its own tactics judging from their peculiarities and opportunities. Dolphins form groups consisting of thousands of specimens and split the schools into a so called “Bait-Ball”, 10-20m/32-65ft in diameter. The chances of surviving against a large amount of predators are reduced to zero as the strength of the sardines lies in their number.
The sardines that survived the mass attack move further along the shore. As they get closer to the shore, the dolphins become not interested in them as well as cormorants and sharks that stop participating in the attacks that take place in deeper southern waters.
The feast quickly runs to its end and the boiling ocean returns to its slumbering state.

Location: The southern edge of Africa

What to see: Millions of sardines, seals, sharks (dark, blacktip, grey, bull, white and hammerhead), whales, gulls,

Depth: 20-60m/65-196ft

Currents: 1-2knots

Visibility: 20m/66ft or better

Season for diving: Every year from the end of May till the end of July. The average water temperature is about 20C/68F.


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