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DIVING THE SHOAL

SHARK DIVING

SARDINE RUN

Sardine Run Blue Ocean Dive Resort
 
Oceanworx & Blue Ocean Dive Resort offers all inclusive packages for the Sardine Run directly from Port St Johns in June & July. Past records from the Natal Sharks Board and our experience from our trips in 2011 through 2014 indicate that this is the optimal period in which to view the sardine shoals.We offer a boat based adventure for everyone, not just divers! Nature lovers, photographers, bird watchers, dolphin and whale enthusiasts, snorkelers and scuba divers alike will find this is an unforgettable experience, which is suitable for most members of the family, young & older 
The Sardine Run is prolific around Port St Johns in the Transkei which is the main reason we set up base in the area, it simply offers the best of the activity.

Each morning the boat heads out from the Port St Johns river to cruise the ocean in search of sardine activity – normally located from sightings of large flocks of sea birds or huge schools of common and bottlenose dolphins. We also communicate with the Sharks Board and other boat operators to locate any great action.

Once the Sardines are located and we have established the bait ball is not moving too fast, snorkellers and divers are invited to enter the water to view the activity first hand, while those that prefer to stay dry can witness this amazing phenomenon from the boat, which is just as spectacular. This is a wonderful opportunity of a life time to experience the Ocean Wildlife mano-e-whaleo/dolphino/sharko/ganneto. 2014 brought to us some wonderful sightings of Orca's in full on hunting mode, humpback whales breaching only meters from the boat and sailfish to mention only a few experiences.

Please Note: Because of the manner of the boat launching and beaching as well as possible uncomfortable sea conditions it is advisable that those of limited mobility, frailty or with back problems limited themselves to land based viewing. For those prone to sea sickness, bring along some ginger tablets available at any chemist without prescription or consult your health care professional.
 


The Sardine Run is prolific around Port St Johns in the Transkei which is the main reason we set up base in the area, it simply offers the best of the activity.

Each morning the boat heads out from the Port St Johns river to cruise the ocean in search of sardine activity – normally located from sightings of large flocks of sea birds or huge schools of common and bottlenose dolphins. We also communicate with the Sharks Board and other boat operators to locate any great action.

Once the Sardines are located and we have established the bait ball is not moving too fast, snorkellers and divers are invited to enter the water to view the activity first hand, while those that prefer to stay dry can witness this amazing phenomenon from the boat, which is just as spectacular.

Please Note: Because of the manner of the boat launching and beaching as well as possible uncomfortable sea conditions it is advisable that those of limited mobility, frailty or with back problems limited themselves to land based viewing.

Sardine Run South Africa


2019: 9-day / 8-night Sardine Run Ocean Safari

Day-1: Arrive King Shaka Durban -- Overnight at Blue Ocean Dive Resort

Day-2: 2 x Shark Dives Aliwal Shoal, Transfer to Port Saint John’s -- Overnight Cremorne Estate

Day-3: Sardine Run Ocean Safari – Overnight Cremorne Estate  

Day-4: Sardine Run Ocean Safari – Overnight Cremorne Estate 

Day-5: Sardine Run Ocean Safari – Overnight Cremorne Estate 

Day-6: Sardine Run Ocean Safari – Overnight Cremorne Estate

Day-7: Sardine Run Ocean Safari – Transfer Blue Ocean Dive Resort Overnight at Blue Ocean Dive Resort 

Day-8: 2 x Shark Dives Aliwal Shoal -- Overnight Blue Ocean Dive Resort

Day-9: Departure Day -

 

More info is available at www.sardinerunsouthafrica.com     

 

2019 Cost Breakdown

9-day / 8-night Sardine Run [Single Diver Package] @ ZAR38 750.00pp

9-day / 8-night Sardine Run [Diver Package/s sharing] @ ZAR34 950.00pp

9-day / 8-night Sardine Run [Non-Diving Partner] @ ZAR17 500.00pp

 

Please let us know if you would like to confirm this booking.

 

On Departure:

We accept Credit Card Payments (A 5% Credit Card Levy will be charged)

Cash in EUR, USD, GBP or ZAR

 

If you need any more info please contact us or visit www.sardinerunsouthafrica.com

 

Included:

·        8 Nights’ Accommodation

·        Daily Breakfast

·        4 Dives on Aliwal Shoal

·        5 Days Sardine Run Ocean Safari

·        Cylinder Hire

·        Weight Hire

·        MPA Permit

·        All Transfers

 

 

Sardine Run Day 1:

When you arrive at Durban International Airport [KSIA / DUR] [or other pick-up points as required], we will meet you and transfer you to Blue Ocean Dive Resort which is situated in the diving town of Umkomaas about 80km south of Durban International Airport and about 50kms south of Durban. Flights can arrive anytime between 12-noon and 18:30 [6:30PM].

When you arrive at Blue Ocean Dive Resort you will be checked into your room, then you can spend the day relaxing on the beach or around the pool and get to meet the team. In the late afternoon we will give you a briefing about the shark diving at the Aliwal Shoal. In the evening enjoy dinner at the lodge. Overnight Blue Ocean Dive Resort, Aliwal Shoal, South Africa.

Sardine Run Day 2:

The diving today will give you a chance to check your gear and get your weighting comfortable. Our shark dives during the Sardine Run take place on the reefs of the Aliwal Shoal in South Africa. During winter the reefs are home to hundreds of Ragged Tooth Sharks as well as a number of other shark species including Blacktip Sharks, Dusky Sharks, Copper Sharks [Bronze Whalers] and on occasion Tiger Sharks.

After the diving you return to our Dive Lodge for lunch before transferring south to Port St. Johns [about 4-hours]. In the late afternoon we check in to our accommodation, situated on the bank of the Umzimvubu River in Port St. Johns. The upmarket lodge overlooks the river and has en-suite facilities. The restaurant and bar are awesome, enjoy a meal, some drinks & to chat to the dive team about diving the Sardine Run. Overnight Cremorne Estate, Port St. Johns, South Africa.

Sardine Run Day 3 – 7:

We will wake up early to a scrumptious breakfast as hosted by Cremorne Estate. Cremorne have asked that Breakfast strictly be eaten in the dining hall and there be no take outs.

Each morning we receive updates about the Sardine Run movements. We launch the boats and spend the day out at sea diving the Sardine Run. Get up close & personal with many species of marine animal including birds, dolphin, game fish, whales & sharks and millions of sardines.

The Sardine Run offers activity from the boat as well as in the water. We enter the water as many times as possible during the day, sometimes just on snorkel and other times on scuba, depending on how fast the action is moving and how comfortable the animals are as sometimes the bubbles from scuba diving chases the action away.

The Sardine Run is amazing, you are often surrounded by hundreds of dolphin, sharks, diving birds, whales, game fish, seals and millions of sardines. During the Sardine Run, the annual Humpback Whale migration passes Port St Johns, offering some amazing up-close sightings of the Humpback Whales in the water, close to the boats and when the whales are breaching!

In the late afternoon (Day 3 – Day 6) we return to shore where you can enjoy a local excursion or relax at the bar. There are fantastic views and walks. In the evening enjoy a meal at the restaurant. Overnight Cremorne Estate, Port St Johns, South Africa.

On Day 7, after lunch, we transfer back to Blue Ocean Dive Resort. In the evening enjoy a meal at the restaurant. Overnight Blue Ocean Dive Resort, South Africa.

 Sardine Run Day 8:

Our shark dives during the Sardine Run take place on the reefs of the Aliwal Shoal in South Africa. During winter the reefs are home to hundreds of Ragged Tooth Sharks as well as a number of other shark species including Blacktip Sharks, Dusky Sharks, Copper Sharks [Bronze Whalers] and on occasion Tiger Sharks.

After the diving you return to our Dive Lodge for lunch to relax at the restaurant and bar, enjoy a meal and some drinks. Overnight Blue Ocean Dive Resort, South Africa.

 

Sardine Run Day 9:

 If you have not chosen a diving package extension or a Big 5 Safari Extension you will be transferred to the airport according to your flight times.

If you have chosen a Big 5 Safari extension you have the option of relaxing before departure or taking part in 2 more dives before departing around 12h00

 


  • Sun protection including hat, sunglasses, sunscreen
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Change of clothes & towel
  • Water resistant holdall for the boat
  • Binoculars
  • Camera and video equipment

 

  • Swimming pool
  • Private jetty
  • Bar area
  • Pool table & games room
  • DSTV
  • Curio shop

 

  • Fans in room
  • Safe in rooms
  • Tea & coffee facilities in room
  • Safe allocated off-street parking
  • Towels provided
  • Braai area

The Sardine Run occurs between late May, June and July along the East coast of South Africa when millions of sardines migrate up the East coast of South Africa from the Cape. Their sheer numbers create a feeding frenzy along the coastline in what is one of the largest marine events in the world. This has been dubbed "The Greatest Shoal On Earth" by the Kwazulu-Natal Tourist Board.

Initially the sardines spawn in the cool waters of the Agulhas Bank through spring and early summer. Most of the fish stay in the cooler waters of the Atlantic Ocean and end up along the West coast of Africa.

It is thought that the run on the East coast, containing millions of individual sardines, occurs when a current of cold water heads north from the Agulhas Bank up to Mozambique where it then leaves the coast line and goes further East out into the Indian Ocean.

In terms of biomass, researchers estimate the sardine run could rival East Africa's great wildebeest migration. However, little is known of the phenomenon. It is believed that the water temperature has to drop below 21°C in order for the migration to take place.

The shoals are often more than 7 km long, 1.5 km wide and 30 meters deep and are clearly visible from spotter planes or from the surface.

Sardines group together when they are threatened. This instinctual behaviour is a defense mechanism as individuals are more likely to be eaten than large groups. These bait balls can be 10-20 metres in diameter and extend to a depth of 10 meters. The bait balls are short lived and seldom last longer than 10 minutes.

It is thought that dolphins (estimated as being up to 18,000 in number, mostly the common dolphin but also the bottlenose dolphin) are largely responsible for rounding up the sardines into bait balls. Once the sardines are rounded up, sharks (primarily the bronze whaler, but also dusky shark, blacktip shark, spinner shark and zambezi shark), game fish (like shad or elf, king mackerel, various kingfish species, garrick, geelbek and eastern little tuna) and birds (like the Cape gannet, cormorants, terns and gulls) take advantage of the opportunity.

The Cape Fur Seal follows the shoals up the Eastern Cape coastline as far as Port St Johns.

As the sardines move North, their behaviour based on the water temperature is less predictable but can sometimes reach as far as Durban before heading out to sea to continue their annual migration.

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