June Sardine Run
Diving on Protea Banks is really nice these days. We have now our typical winter weather with warm days and cool nights, no wind, blue skies and flat sea. Absolutely magic.
Below the surface we find about 23c water temperature in the first 15m going down to a chilly 19C on the bottom. Current is often reverse or very weak. These conditions are favoured by the Raggies who come in masses to the Northern Pinnacle of Protea Banks. At the moment we count approximately 50 Raggies on each dive, but had in excess of 200 barely a week ago. Numbers change constantly and make for excitement on every dive.
Sardine Run 2014
So far we have not heard about any significant activity but we prefer it this way. After all, the Sardine Run officially only starts at the end of June. From 19.June to 19. July we will move two thirds of our entire operation down to Coffee Bay. Beulah will reside the whole month in the Ocean View Hotel and manage the operation. I will be commuting between Protea Banks and Coffee Bay.
Old JP is coming for the month from Nelspruit, Kyle all the way from the Bahamas to help us. And our Super-Pilot Louis Sauer brings his Flying Machine all the way from Louis Trichard to guide our boats to the best possible action of the moment.
This year we have more guests than ever before. We are all holding thumbs and will do everything possible to have all our guests experience an exciting and happy time here as always.
Our hosts from the Ocean View Hotel are looking forward to our arrival. There is always a lot of goings on and excitement in the hotel when we come back from a days outing with lots of stories and pictures to share.
It is a fever, this Sardine Run thing….a real fever. And only those who ever experienced the Sardine Run will understand it……….
From 23.6. I will post daily reports right here on this page.
3.6. 2014 Paddle Out on World Ocean Day
This sunday is World Ocean Day. We are part of a nationwide and international went called Paddle Out. Three years ago 17 Tiger Sharks died in the shark nets off Scottburgh which caused a huge outcry in the diving and nature conservation communities. Since then on World Ocean Day many people around the world commemorate this event. We all paddle out and drive with our boats to the shark netz off St. Michaels, next to Shelly Beach. Here we will do a short speech, talk about the importance of sharks and the threat they are under by the finning industry. we then call for a minute os=f silence to pay our respect to the ocean and it’s inhabitants.
we would like to ask as many of you readers to participate in this as possible. please take a pecs of your diving equipment or anything ocean related and take a photo. Send the photo to “Paddle Out for Sharks Shelly Beach 2014”
This morning my mate mad Brad phoned me from Coffee Bay and said, the entire area is full of sardine action. This coincides with a Sharks Board report that bait balls have been spotted from the air west of Port Alfred. Things are therefore looking good so far for the impending Sardine Run. The fever is slowly building up….
Also the air temperature has dropped quite a bit. Today it is biting cold, barely 15C.
This is a very good sign for things to come.
So those who will join us soon for the Sardine Run please pack your suitcases with more warm clothes than light. Remember, we will spend the warmer day hours on the boat and will need something to cuddle into when we get back in the late afternoons. For the boat it is recommended to have a good windbreaker jacket and something to keep the head warm.
Let’s get excited…….
7.6. 2014. Attention all diving Soccer Fans
Everybody interested in soccer and a bit of fun is invited to join Schöner Tauchen’s score game on their website. It is fun and amazing prizes can be won. All you need to do is sign in and predict the scores. It is explained in detail. Check it out and be part of the soccer fever – even if you don’t understand it like myself !!! Your info is confidential.
Our Paddle Out for Sharks on World Ocean Day was a nice success. We had people from all walks of life joining us on our boats and afterwards. Divers, pleasure boaters, surfers, canoeists and even fishermen joined us at the shark nets. The biggest show was made by Jerry and his crew from the National Sea Rescue Institute, NSRI. THESE AMAZING PEOPLE GIVE THEIR LIVES TO THE OCEAN TO SAVE OTHERS. They kept us all nicely together and made sure everybody gets home safely.
Afterwards back at the Shelly Beach base Karen did a talk about the importance of sharks to a whole lot of kids and parents. The message was : Don’t fear the sharks, respect them.
eHowzit, our online local news portal was there of course and brought it all together in two nice video clips. www.ehowzit.co.za/news/local/ocean-day-celebration/
For those who are interested in our local news about the South Coast, eHowzit is our online newspaper. Lencil and his team work tirelessly around the clock to keep us informed. Check it out.
14.6. 2014. Sardine Run
The weather here is absolutely perfect. Not a breath of wind, not a cloud in the sky. Amazing. Our sea is as flat as a pancake, no wave at all. Blue and clean.
I spoke to Coffee Bay and was told there are lots of whales and dolphins to be seen. Rafts of gannets are sitting on the calm water – everybody in the Ready Position.
Our temperatures are quite a bit lower than in previous years. We call it freezing but in real terms we are looking at just below 10C at night and just above 20C in the day. This is cold for us and could be the right conditions for a good Sardine Run.
Brad told me it all looks as if the ocean is about to wake up any time now.
Dean is currently in Maseppa Bay and reports a bit of Sardine Action from that side caused by small pilot shoals being hunted by dolphins and birds.
The scene is set..!!!!
16.6. 2014. Sardine Run
It is time. Tomorrow our first boat is going to Coffee Bay. Weeks and months of preparations are coming together. We have to think of absolutely everything because Coffee Bay is the end of the world. The end of the word is a beautiful place, but there is no infrastructure. What we don’t have we can’t get. Simple as that.
So for example we have Superglue, Contact glue, Silicone, Fibreglass Resin, Pratley’s Putty and Epoxy just in the glue department. I sincerely hope we don’t have to glue anything. But if we have to, we damn well can !!!
There are a million other things we carry with us…the logistics are immense.
JP has arrived today, many people still remember him from 2012/2013
I gave him a five hour briefing ( true thing ) about being professional and doing everything we can from our side to make the Sardine Run successful. We cannot influence nature, but we can make sure that our side of the Sardine Run is as perfect as possible. We have contingency plans in place and we know exactly what to do whatever happens. This is our most important responsibility towards our guests.
22.6. 2014. Sardine Run
We are ready – the game can begin. Beulah, JP, Kyle and Brian have been in Coffee Bay for the last three days getting everything ready for the action. Our first group from Schöner Tauchen has arrived a few minutes ago and so has Louis our pilot. First thng in the morning Louis will do a good reconnaissance flight to check out what is going on at the moment. From the beach our crew has spotted lots of whale activity, lots of dolphins and gannets dive bombing on the 5km line. This is promising but we will only know once we have info from our spotter plane.
This is going to get interesting now…..
Just spoke to Beulah. The Mandela family were at the Ocean View Hotel for an event. One of the grandsons came specially over to Beulah to thank her for all the business we bring into the area. They are from nearby Qunu and expressed their gratitude for supporting the locals here. What an honour !!!
Beulah then told him about her charity where she gets used clothing sent over to us from Europe which she distributes amongst the poor in Coffee Bay every year, Mr. Mandela was most impressed. So all our supporters of Beulah’s charity, namely the families Lange, Claudia and Frank Kalies, Wilkens and Popp – this thanks goes to you !!!
If anybody want to help, please send us your used clothes in 10kg parcels to
Beulah Mauz, P.O.Box 1563 Margate 4275 South Africa ( ordinary post please )
As you see, it does get appreciated.
We had a 40knot wind and the next day 5m waves at Shelly Beach. Even the bravest of hearts would not dare… So yesterday and today we could launch again and had nice conditions on Protea Banks. Our raggies at the northern pinnacle are gone for the time being due to the huge swells. This causes a washing machine effect inside the caves and the sharks usually go into deeper water for a few days. Hopefully we will have them back next week. Our baited dives showed excellent encounters with zambezis and a few black tips. Yesterday an unexpected school of hammerheads came past the bait. Amazing sight in 20m visibility and 23C water temp.
Besides this the whales are back and the numbers are swelling. Everywhere we see them jumping. Lovely time of the year…
Bait Ball. Bait Ball. Bait Ball
We are barely out for two hours and hit a bait ball head on. The weather is perfect, the sea as flat as a lake. Louis our genius pilot directs the boat straight onto a bait ball. First day out at sea. What a fantastic luck !!! The sardine fever has hit me broadside. This is going to be great.
24.6. 2014 Sardine Run 2014
I am in Shelly Beach/ Margate and as such pretty far from the Sardine Run action. I rely on info from thge crew out at Coffee Bay. This morning i received a call from Kyle that they were directed to a Mants Ray by Louis, our pilot. Most people got the see the animal but they were too late to dive with it. There were a couple of fast moving, small bait balls as well. At 14h30 they were back at base. All happy.
25.6. 2014 Sardine Run
Today was a quiet day. By midday the wind came up and made the boat ride unpleasant. Our plane couldn’t fly in the wind which made life for our crew extremely difficult.
Just after 12h00 the majority of the divers voted to go back to the hotel. After lunch everybody went for an excursion to the famous Hole in the Wall and afterwards had a peaceful afternoon. Tomorrow looks windy again but we will only know when we stand on the beach.
26.6. 2014 Sardine Run
The weather was weird today. At first totally calm and suddenly out of nowhere there were heavy gusts of wind. So bad that the micro light was overturned while on the ground. One of its wings got damaged so badly that Louis had to drive all the way to Johannesburg to fetch a new wing. Such is adventure. If everything always runs smooth there is no adventure. We are greatful that nobody got hurt.
The boat was out by this time and decided to see what the wind is going to do. After barely an hour it disapperaqed as quick as it came. Most of the day’s activity was taken up by whales. Apparently our photographer got excellent shots of whales but me sitting far away in Margate will be the last to receive them …if ever….
I have the second group of Schoener Tauchen with me here and as always the first diving day is pretty chaotic. We did a dive to the caves and found around 40 raggies. Vis was poor at 8m despite a strong, almost 2kn current. Watertemp 20C
Second dive was a Baited Dive where we saw 8 black tips. All in all a good day was had by all, here in Shelly Beach as well as in Coffee Bay
27.6. 2014. Sardine Run
Long day today with lots of action. Although the guys did not see a bait ball, they had just about everything else. Gannets dive bombing everywhere, dolphins, sharks, whales ….no end to the action. That’s what we are here for.
In the meantime our pilot Louis is riddled with bad luck. First a gust turns his plane upside down and damages a wing. He immediately drives the thousand plus kilometers to Johannesburg to replace the wing. On the way he blows his gearbox on the car ( he does have a shitty car though !!! ). At the hotel on the way he gets his car broken in and everything stolen….and when finally back on the road he has an accident. Unbelievable. but Louis is an unusual man. He never gives up, laughs it all off and gets on with life. And on monday Louis will be back in the air over Coffee Bay looking for Sardines. Beautiful man !!!
We had a bit of a rough day on Protea Banks. It didn’t look too bad from the beach but once we got out to the reef we had to deal with quite a rough sea. Nevertheless we dived on the Northern Pinnacle of Protea Banks and encountered 35 plus Raggies. Current was quite strong at about 2 knots, vis better in the beginning 12-15m and murky towards the end of the dive. It was pretty fresh down there at 20C.
Cancelled the second dive due to harbour being closed.
Again our boat stayed all day out at sea chasing ocean action at its best. They were particularly lucky with humpback whales today. Lovely visibility allowed for these amazing photos below.
29.6. 2014 Sardine Run
Quiet day today. That happens … Lucky we had change over day and only 2 people on the boat. There were a few lazy dolphins and birds floating on the surface. Whales around but not playful. The guests enjoyed a perfect day out at sea
30.6. 2014 Sardine Run
What a whale of a day today !!! Our boat was surrounded by 12 humpback whales which gave our guests an experience of a lifetime. Each of those giants weighs around 30 tons !!! They are huge and they were everywhere. We have 21 happy guests today who experienced mone of the Sardine Run’s greatest experiences.