June - Sardine Run

25.6. 2017 Day 1 Welcome to Sardine Run 2017
Our guests had a magic breakfast at the Ocean View Hotel and were transferred in our safari vehicles to the river mouth from where the boats are launching. It sounded like the boats went out smoothly and the aircraft is already scouting out the area for the best possible action of the moment.
The weather is perfect today. No wind, no clouds, calm seas and cool air. All sounds great.
I am sitting on hot coals here in Margate and await news on an ongoing basis. Later today i will report back.
I will write the most accurate report possible with the infos i am given by the staff down in Coffee Bay. I hope, that readers from near and far will be able to experience a bit of our Sardine Run on this blog.
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24.6. 2017
We are ready to start with the Sardine Run. Today, the crews of our three boats did a practise run and launched one of the boats out to sea. Also the pilot flew his aircraft to see how things are looking.
Later this afternoon the Brazilians will arrive, Muraari and Erin, my Saxon friends Ralf and Michael as well as the Israelis Tal and Afik. These are our first guests this year.
We wish them good luck and much fun and assure everybody that we will do everything in our power to make this event professional and pleasant.
This is the most important time of the year for us. We stress about the Sardine Run the minute the old one is over. The next 4 weeks are going to be our greatest adventure.
Our crews are a bunch of really nice guys :
Brian, Michi, Adriaan, Steven, Brian, Marco and Spike
I am sitting on the reserve bench ....probably because they don't want me to shine and take all the glory away from them....politics is everywhere....

22.6. 2017
Life in the rough line is always adventurous. We had trouble at the base with the cops again who inspected boat trailers and pulled lots of them off the road. A boat trailer , like any other road trailer has to have a break axle if the load is of a certain weight. As boat trailers always drive into salt water, these real mechanisms last seldom longer than a few weeks. So hardly anybody spends the money on the useless break axles.
I did. Because i can't afford to have trouble if i am dealing with mainly international divers who come a long way.
So i got a call on saturday, our colleagues were pulled off the road and they can't dive their clients now. Great for us. So we got some unexpected business.
The diving last week was brilliant. The Raggies are full up on the Northern Pinnacle of Protea Banks. Last week we estimated a hundred plus. Yesterday we thought it was somewhere between 200 and 300 animals. No place on earth has such incredible numbers of sharks. It is mind boggling...
Spike took our second boat down to Coffee Bay last Saturday. He took his wife and child along in the hope to give them a lovely day in lovely Coffee Bay. So they left at 2h00 am super early with the plan to get to the destination early in the morning. But Africa threw a spanner in the works. He broke down at 7am just outside of Umtata.
This part of South Africa is like a desert....
One of the wheel bearings collapsed completely. It took hours for someone to stop and help him. All the while, MRs and Kiddo are cooking in the car....
By 14h00 they were on the road again. And around 18h00 they arrived in Coffee Bay with only a small bit of a sense of humour left.
But Spike is not a Sissie and can handle anything. Amazing guy and a privilege to have him in our lives.
We urged him to stay another night extra so his family can also enjoy a little outing. Not often they get to see a different place.
So they cam back on Monday. Beulah and Brian left on Tuesday for the sardine Run.
They will stay until 18.7......
On Wednesday this week, Spike and the rest of the boat crews took the third boat down to Coffee Bay. They got there safely and without adventure.
Now they all busy setting up for the great Sardine Run event which will start for us on Sunday with our first day out at sea.
Our clients will arrive on Saturday and then it counts.
Sardine Run
Lots of stories are flying around. Apparently the Coffee Bay area is promising. It looks like we will have an amazing run this year. Lots of gannets are diving and hundreds of dolphins are visible from the hotel's terrace. Also our colleagues further north report good sightings. I think we will know exactly what is going on once we have our aircraft up. Dave, our pilot will be on his way tomorrow.
This afternoon Spike and the crew were practising launching through the river mouth. It is no easy thing to get a boat through a maze of rocks without damage.
Let's see what news transpires in the next few days.....
13.6. 2017
Rumours are running hot. Everybody sees sardines everywhere and nobody knows who said it...
Old Spike has taken a trailer down to Coffee Bay this morning. Packed with diving equipment, boating equipment and who knows what. In fact, they take so mich stuff that i dont even know if i still have furniture in my house !!!!!
So i gave him a call earlier on and heard that things are looking good down there. He has seen gannets diving in front of the hotel and lots of whales. Everything seems to be just fine for a good Sardine Run
In the meantime all of us here in Shelly Beach are getting more boxes ready. Steve and i are quickly glueing the boat together so we don't have any guests falling out...JJJ
10.6. 2017
I am resting my fingers these days because from 25.6. i will have to write my daily Sardine Run reports here. This will be our first day at sea in Coffee Bay.
We are working feverishly on the logistics of this event. One boat is already down in Coffee Bay. On Monday Spike will take our trailer fully loaded down. Then goes the second boat and afterwards the third boat. Almost our entire operation will be relocated to the Ocean View Hotel. What a mission !!!
The hotel will cost us half a million, the spotter plane 150k, i am still looking to buy a tractor, the staff is organised. This is not a joke !!!
Besides all this we carry tremendous responsibilities. Not only do we have to do everything possible to avoid anybody being injured, we also understand that this event is the dream of all our guests. They pay us good money for this which we cannot take lightly.
Our staff will give their best at all times. They will not get drunk or party while we are busy with the Run. Our machines, vehicles, vessels, aircraft are in top condition.
Our hotel is getting ready for us with excellent accommodation and even better food.
Everything and anything humanly possible will be provided to make this Sardine Run a Dream Come True for all our guests. Hopefully Mother Nature is looking at us favourably...

In the meantime we are lucky to have a break from diving Protea Banks. We definitely need every minute of every day to organise, buy, repair, pack and do lots of admin work in the office.
Also our beloved dogs need a bit of attention. Naughty Thembi bit our vet in the food when he did a routine check up on her last week.....eish....

I have started reading The Elephant Whisperer by Lawrence Anthony.
Ou man, once you touched this book you can't put it down again. What a story, what a man !!!
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