Today again we had unbelievable whale and dolphin action. Our 3 boats came past a spot where lots of gannets were diving for sardines. Unfortunately there was no bait ball.
Tomorrow 16 guests are departing. I really would have wished them to finish the adventure with great bait ball action, but mother nature did not feel like loosing her sardine babies today. Good for them, they are having a reprieve in their stressful existence. ( maybe we could also look at it from this angle )
For the last 3 days we will be down to one boat.
Wonder what is going to happen , i bet the Sardine Run will kick in again with full force...
Protea Banks was great today again. Claudia and Frank have come up from Coffee Bay and spend a week here with me on the banks.
We had 12 black tips on the baited shark dive plus 2 zams. It was crowned by a humpback whale who came by to watch the shark circus.
Our divers were ecstatic.
12.7. 2018 Sardine Run Day 23
Although we hear lots of reports of masses of sardines still along the Wild Coast, we don't see much of the little shits the last couple of days.
It is crazy what kind of importance these fish have achieved during this time of the year. Normally we don't give a damn about a sardine , but during the Great Sardine Run, the sardine is everything. And people want to see them at all costs. Nothing is good enough. It has got to be Sards...
We are having the most amazing whale encounters. It is indescribable.
And schools of dolphins as far as we can see. Thousands of animals...but no sardine...
Even old sea-dogs like Spike and Brian cannot believe the immensity of the schools of common dolphins they see out there. Simply mind blowing.
Our plane flies like hell to look for bait balls and our boats are cruising all over the ocean. My fuel bill is shooting through the roof, but...what can i do...
It is always our policy to give everything we have !!!
11.7. 2018 Sardine Run Day 22
It was a hot day today. Whales and dolphins everywhere. Of course we are looking for sardines, and we did find some but there were no predators on them and so they swam peacefully around enjoying the good life...
The schools of dolphins we are encountering are immense. How many animals are in one kilometre ? How many in 3, 4 , 5 ? It is brilliant what we see along this crazy Wild Coast.
Our boat which had a hole in its hull was successfully repaired and launched today.
I am most pleased that it did indeed not go down !!!
Maybe the boys deserve some credit ? We'll see...
I was quite ready to bring the 4th boat down to Coffee Bay yesterday if the damage would not have been fixed. I would have been quite happy to tow it over night so our guests will be able to go out to sea.
This is our commitment to our guests.
You get what you pay for !!!
Thankfully good, old Steve, Ole and Nasa did a sterling job.
Protea Banks rocks. It is pure magic here.
The sea is completely flat, mirror smooth, not a breath of wind.
At the moment we do doublethink dives. Normally i hate double tanking but because the sea is so, so lovely we enjoy a proper surface interval playing and observing whales wherever we look. I try to film them with the drone but don't manage. I am simply not experienced enough and always glad when the bird is back in its box , rather than on the bottom of the ocean...
Diving on the Northern Pinnacle we found 10 raggies, 2 zams and 8 black tips.
Second dive on the Southern Pinnacle of Protea Banks an unbelievable 300-400 hammerheads, zams and black tips.
The water had 22˚ and the vis was just on 20m.
We didn't want to go home today..
10.7. 2018 Sardine Run Day 21
Poor Beulah is stressing. For a couple of days now they had no more Bait Ball. In the past we were most happy if we would see one little Bait Ball in a week or so. But we got spoilt and especially so this year. We truly had the time of our lives on the Sardine Run for the first 2 weeks. Hectic !!!
But no Bait Ball and no Sardines does not mean it is all over !! Of course the doubt nibbles away on one's brain...
To make matters worse, we had an accident with one of the 3 boats. It's trailer broke, the axle came loose and the boat smashed into the trailer's v-bar and hit a proper hole into the hull.
100% drama !!
Of course the guests who were on this boat could not launch and were jumping up and down. We need to repair this damage as diligently as we can so we can launch the next three days without fear of sinking the damn boat with man and mouse...
Beulah had all hands full to make up for the lost day. She organised a tour for the group with Don as leader. Don has been a life saver !!!
To top it, Beulah organised a free microlight flight for all members of the group who could not be on the boat today. That did the trick. All smiling again.
And when the other 2 boats reported no Bait Ball action, the smiles grew even bigger...
9.9. 2018 Sardine Run Day 20
Today was a really quiet day. We have encountered some whales and quite a few dolphins but all in all it was a pretty low day on the Sardine Run 2018.
In my personal opinion, we are still in the middle of the run. I am convinced, we will still encounter a couple of cracker days before we go home in just over a week's time.
On a positive note, there were tons of sardines on the South Coast for a change.
I bought 150kg of the lovely slithers, perfect shark bait for the rest of the year.
8.7. 2018 Sardine Run Day 19
Today we had excellent whale encounters. Humpback whales were playing within throwing distance from the boats, rolling and tail flapping.
Later the boats came across lots of common and bottlenose dolphins.
Sardines were around plenty, but no bait balls were seen.
7.7. 2018 Sardine Run Day 18
Today was one of the few days without a bait ball. We saw lots of loose sardines but no predators on them. I think, they deserve a break...
Today's hi light was a Southern Right Whale playing with the divers.
There is not a day when we don't see anything at all. Thanks to our spotter plane which flies tirelessly , our boats are kept up to date with the activity in our reach.
6.7. 2018 Sardine Run Day 17 Bait Balls
Good days in Coffee Bay. We see bait balls we have huge shark action and magic whale activity.
Things are going very well. The crews are working like clocks. They are exhausted by now but they know, we all have to push on. Constantly guests are arriving and leaving. Our system works. We allow our guests to choose their own dates. It certainly adds some movement into the day to day operations.
Our tractor proves invaluable. This monster machine makes our sardine run possible.
The photos i receive from Coffee Bay are getting better every day.
I am doing my share here in Margate. Besides doing all the diving on Protea Banks, i have to entertain agents from Japan and China, two emerging markets .
I am just as exhausted , seldom get to bed before 23h00 and up by 4h30
My phone rings 25-30 times a day. I will definitely throw it into the ocean one day...
But for now we need the damn things to manage what we do. Beulah, Spike and their crews on the sardine run, me and my crews on Protea Banks.
We have another 10 days to go. Will look forward with great interest to everyday's reports from crazy Coffee Bay
5.7. 2018 Sardine Run Day 16 Bait Balls
Slowly the situation in Coffee Bay returns back to normal. We have electric power, with it we have hot water, light and internet connection.
What a relief. It sure was an adventure after this crazy storm, but thankfully the adventure came to an end. Jeez.
Now the Sardine Run continues. We had bait balls which were pretty quickly pulled apart by predators. We also had exceptional shark activity today.
On Protea Banks we had a brilliant day. On the baited shark dive we had 11 Black Tips, 2 Zams and 1 Dusky. Visibility was 25m !!!
Current a nice 2kn which got us a distance of almost 4km in one dive.
The second dive we did on the Northern Pinnacle of Protea Banks. I counted 13 Raggies, 4 Zams and 2 Black Tips. Excellent vis and warm water did the job.
The weather has been absolutely perfect lately. Not a breath of wind, not a cloud, not a drop of rain. The sea is completely flat. It is a lovely time of the year.
4.7. 2018 Sardine Run Day 15 Bait Balls
So, after twoandahalf days of almost no comms we have a few messages of hope.
In the morning all was still looking more than bleak. This afternoon the mood in Coffee Bay has changed. There is a bot of electricity for now ( not sure what it means, a bit ? ) but for me this bit means hope and return to normality soon...
I hear, yesterday and today we had bait balls and the usual whale and dolphin activity.
particularly today was a good day. We had bait balls , we had a he amount of sharks, we had brides and humpback whales and we had lots and lots of bottlenose as well as common dolphins.
It sounds very much like a cracker day on the sardine run 2018 once again.
3.7. 2018 Sardine Run Day 14
We don't hear a word from Coffee Bay. Apparently the mega storm on Monday has brought the village on its knees. No power, no telephones, no cell signals, no computers. A world cut off from the outside.
Sounds like a real holiday.
Of course it comes at a price. No hot water, no lights or electricity in the rooms and so on. The hotel has a generator for emergencies . But this one is just strong enough to keep the kitchen and restaurant going.
This is Africa. And this is The Wild Coast !!! Now it is real wild.
I am pretty sure my crews and 24 guests are having a good time sitting by a huge bon-fire under millions of crystal clear stars....
Thomas, Charlie and i went out to Protea Banks today and dived in a 5m sea. It was rough, but it was fun too.
Our launch was like launching a rocket. The new boat Spitzbüble is damn fast. A lovely boat.
We had the usual winter visibility of 15m, gentle current and 22˚ water temp. The air war really fresh today, it was actually a pain to change from warm winter clothes into a wetsuit.
We saw 3 Black Tips, 3 Hammerheads, 2 Bullsharks and 1 Sandshark. Sweet dive.
Thomas has taken the photographs here on a recent dive
2.7. 2018 Sardine Run Day 13
We are hopelessly blown out by a huge South Westerly wind. Beulah reckons, she has never experienced such a strong wind. Some of the buildings were damaged.
It was forecast as a 42 knot wind, it was probably stronger than that even.
Our guests, 24 pax were offered excursions for the day , free of charge.
Some went on a guided hike, others went to see the Hole in the Wall. Yet others chose to visit a sangoma = traditional healer.
Although we have lost a valuable sardine run day, nobody is particularly unhappy. A proper cold front will work wonders amongst the ocean inhabitants. We think, this will kick ass among the sardines. Not that we could ask for more...but the show must go on for another two weeks so absolutely every one of our guests will experience the sardine run properly.
Hope the waves are not going to be too wild tomorrow...
Even here on Protea Banks we got blown out. Early this morning i took the boat to the harbour. It was quiet and still pitch dark. The harbour master did not want to open the base today as he received hectic storm warnings from the weather office.
We were hoping to get a window for the first dive.
Just as we went back to the shop to meet our divers the wind started with a bang.
It was sad having to apologise and sending disappointed divers back again. This is dealing with nature...safety comes first.
1.7. 2018 Sardine Run Day 12 Bait Balls
And the show is going on. Crazy how it works. We can almost detect a pattern.
2 days crazy, 2 days calm, 2 days crazy.
Many are asking, is the sardine run finished after the amazing action we already had ?
Not a chance, man !!! The sardine run has only just began !!!!!
Today was marked mainly by sharks. Apparently ridiculous numbers of sharks everywhere. Graeme talks of hundreds ? It sounds like today was the day of the sharks. The boat stopped and the water was boiling. They realised it is the toothy guys having their turn at the sardines. So the divers went in of course !!! We don't play games here, we are here to see sharks and the entire food chain.
Large Duskies, Black Tips and Bronzewhalers were giving the sardines a bad time !!
At the same time there were Bottlenose Dolphins spanning almost an w=area of one square kilometre.
Sensational, truly sensational stuff today.
Even here in Shelly Beach we had our small share of the sardine run. When we launched we got into a pocket of sardines probably 50m x 50m big. We dropped the divers into the shoal and gave them a taste of the Sardine Run.
Then we watched humpback whales everywhere. Jumpini, hopping, rolling, sailing and motoring . Whales were all over the place. Under water we heard them whingeing.
Our visibility on Protea Banks was excellent at 25m and the water was pleasant at a temp of 23˚. Simply magic.
On the Northern Pinnacle of Protea Banks we had about 20 odd Raggies and on the way up we saw Black Tip Sharks.
On the Playground where we did our second dive we were accompanied by two massive Bull Sharks. Once we went into midwater 4 Black Tips took over the shift and brought us back safely to our boat.
Tomorrow looks pretty bad with a huge wind looming.
This might be a real good thing for the Sardine Run in Coffee Bay.
Watch this space....