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DIVING THE SHOAL

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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.

8-days / 7-nights / 5-days Sardine Run Diving / 1-day [2-dives] Aliwal Shoal 

 

Day 1 : Arrive Durban Airport -- Transfer to & Overnight at Blue Ocean Dive Resort. 
Day 2 : 1 x Reef Dive and 1 x Baited Shark Dive at Aliwal Shoal - Transfer to Port St. Johns  
Day 3 : Full-day unlimited Sardine Run Diving -- Overnight Port St. Johns, South Africa 
Day 4 : Full-day unlimited Sardine Run Diving -- Overnight Port St. Johns, South Africa 
Day 5 : Full-day unlimited Sardine Run Diving -- Overnight Port St. Johns, South Africa 
Day 6 : Full-day unlimited Sardine Run Diving -- Overnight Port St. Johns, South Africa 
Day 7 : Full-day unlimited Sardine Run Diving -- Overnight Port St. Johns, South Africa 
Day 8 : Airport Transfer to Durban International Airport [flights after 4pm!] 

Package Includes:

All Transfers

7 Nights Accommodation

Breakfast

5 Day Ocean Safari with Sardine Run Action

Light Lunch on the Boat with Refreshments

1 Baited Shark Dive (Aliwal Shoal)

1 Reef Dive (Aliwal Shoal)

Cylinders, Airfills & Weights

MPA Dive Permits

Not Included:

Flights & Taxes

Passports & Visas

Personal Insurance

Dive Gear (Can be Hired)

Lunches

Dinners

Drinks

Package Price per person sharing:        R 29,950.00

Single Supplement:                          R 31,975.00



  • 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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