The Sardine Run

Every year between Could and July, numerous tens of millions of sardines start their annual migration, dubbed the “sardine run.” The sardines, additionally known as pilchards, spawn within the cool waters off of South Africa after which migrate northward alongside South Africa’s east coast. The run is sparked by a chilly present that travels from the Agulhas Financial institution northward to Mozambique, the place it veers away from the coast and east to the Indian Ocean. Seen even by satellite tv for pc, researchers estimate that the sheer biomass of the sardine run simply rivals the East African wildebeest migration. This seething mass of sardines may be as much as 15 km in size, three ½ km huge, in addition to practically 40 m deep and it sparks a feeding frenzy all alongside the coast.As if the spectacle of the sardine run is not sufficient, predators arrive en masse to dine on the sardines and the result’s an extravaganza that rivals any of Africa’s nice migrations. The sardines shoal collectively tightly to attenuate their danger of being eaten by predators. Birds by the tens of 1000’s plunge from above to feed on the fish whereas bigger recreation fish in addition to quite a few shark species feed on them from under. The sheer numbers and number of sharks is wonderful. Zambezies, coppers, hammerheads, and nice whites are all seen in nice numbers. Because the sharks and different fish feed under, gannets and different sea birds arrive by the 1000’s to plummet from the sky and get their share of the sardine run’s bounty.Bottlenose in addition to frequent dolphins additionally make their look to participate within the actions. One wonderful sight is watching them make use of a singular searching technique the place they corral the shoals into what is named a “baitball.” Cooperating very similar to sheepdogs, the dolphins circle the sardines and herd them into a good group. The “baitball” is then pushed upward towards the floor and the dolphins gorge themselves on these tiny fish.Vacationers come by the 1000’s to see faculties that quantity as excessive as 500 dolphins frolic and play whereas they dine on the migrating sardines. This occasion is one thing that everybody can get pleasure from, whether or not birdwatchers, skilled divers and snorkelers, or just marine life lovers. One of many premier locations to view the birds and sea life is the primary seashore headland of Southbroom.The sardine run is wonderful whether or not skilled from beneath the waves r above and is really some of the wonderful marine spectacles on the planet.