Sardine Run July 2019
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20.7. 2019 Sardine Run Day 35
Unfortunately today was blown out. We could not launch. This is a great pity because the rule says, do not miss your last day !!! But this is mother nature.
This concludes our sardine run program for 2019
As our pictures show, it was a great sardine run this year. I think we lost 3 or 4 days of the 34 due to bad weather. This is not really a crisis because the days were spread over the entire time. Nobody lost more than one day. In all the previous years we always only lost one single day.
We had great days and we had relatively quiet days every now and then.
A quiet day consisted of a day wir uncountable amounts of dolphins, whales and other sea animals.
A good day had several bait balls, hundreds of sharks, dolphins, whales, gannets diving indiscriminately among all this action.
This is sardine run and if one is part of it, one has a chance to experience it.
It becomes one of those unforgettable memories in one’s life which will never be forgotten again.
We make sure, everything humanly possible is done.
Our equipment is great, our boats are clean, safe and comfortable, our crews are disciplined and motivated, our hotel is super comfortable, people nice, food really good.
We hava a spotter plane in the air several times a day so we don’t miss a thing.
The rest is entirely up to Mother Nature…
19.7. 2019 Sardine Run Day 34 Bait Ball
Again a bait ball was found by our guys and everybody enjoyed the action.
Lots of sharks and lots of dolphins.
We had a Southern Right Whale, Humpback whales and many, many birds.
By midday a strong SW’ly wind came up and forced the boats back to base.
Hopefully we can launch tomorrow for the last time on sardine run 2019
18.7. 2019 Sardine Run Day 33 Bait Balls
Today was again a really good day on the sardine run.
we found 3 bait balls, tons of sardines, thousands of dolphins , uncountable amounts of sharks and gannets going wild.
Definitiv a top day with excited guests.
I dived with my drysuit and managed to keep my wound dry although the suit leaked a little bit. At least i know, it will work.
Again we had epic numbers of raggies although it was clearly less than yesterday.
Still i estimate 300 – 400 animals.
Where in the world ?????
The sea is completely flat. We stayed out for a double tank and loved being on the boat in a perfect sea and great weather.
Today is our last day on Protea Banks for now.
A epic season is coming to an end and we are so, so ready for a proper break.
Our business will remain open for bookings, open for diving any day.
But our next bookings are not before mid August .
If we get enough divers we will launch any day but not for one or two.
This is when a pre booking counts.
Walk-Ins might have a tough time for the next number of weeks.
Therefore my tip :
Going on any diving holiday ?
Make your bookings bright and early !!!
17.7. 2019 Sardine Run Day 32
Lots and lots of sharks and whales today on the sardine run.
Although we did not see a lot of sardines, it was a really good day out on the ocean.
This sardine run is long not finished, guaranteed.
Today was a hot summers day which was super nice for the guests on the boats but not really what we wanted. We want a cold spell because if it is really fresh, the action is amazing.
3 days left to go…
Thus is complete madness !!!!!
There are more raggies on Protea Banks than ever seen before.
At first we estimated around 300 – 400 animals. But once i have seen the video footage of Martin Krammer, we came to the conclusion that there must have been close to a thousand individuals. maybe even more !!!
They kept coming from all sides. More and more sharks in large groups, midwater and bottom. Funny enough, the caves were almost empty…
It carried on and on until the divers had to go up.
Never seen before !!!
Tomorrow is our last working day on Protea banks for some time.
I have to see this myself. I will dive in my drysuit and hopefully keep my arm away from water. Also a good test for the red sea trip in August…
16.7. 2019 Sardine Run Day 31
Another amazing day on the sardine run in Coffee Bay. Our are has definitely had the best action this year. We never had so many boats in our area as this year. Most of them came all the way down from Port St. Johns.
This means, there was nothing much happening up that side and the operators and their guests chose to travel for 3-4 hours all the way down to us and all the way back home.
80km one way…..what a trip…..
Today we had a number of Brydes Whales which are rather rare animals to see.
Outside the sardine run we never see them.
We had birds diving, sharks hunting and dolphins chasing the poor old sardines.
Why did nature not give them a weapon to defend themselves ??? Not fair.
Our last group of Chinese divers has just arrived from Margate in Coffee Bay.
Home run, baby !!! Our guys are exhausted to the bone. Hope they can give there best for another four days.
Sunday it is all over !!!
Protea Banks is always good these days. We have some lovely people from WiroDive with whom we will finish our season on Thursday.
Then it is winter break fir us and holiday time.
The rest of this year will be plain sailing…easy life. Pay back time.
My arm is still giving me some inconvenience. It hasn’t change much in the last week or so. But then it is difficult to judge for me. Never had such a massive hole in my body…
I am most glad that there is no pain at all. Big bonus because when you see the mess, you will not believe it is painless.
So i have to be patient and hope that despite my diabetes 2 it will heal in good time and life will be normal again.
For now, i am just thankful i did not loose my arm being stupid as i am and not going for help and medication when it was due…..
That is what happens when you want to be a big boy !!!
Before you know you are reduced to a small boy with a big problem…..
15.7. 2019 Sardine Run Day 30
The day started a bit on the slow side and picked up momentum as it went on.
Our crews and guests were happy to see sharks, and more sharks and more sharks .
Then they had the unspeakable privilege to be visited by a little humpback whale family with baby.
Later in the afternoon they came across so many gannets raining down from the skies that one could not even estimate their numbers.
sardines appeared everywhere. Sardines as far as one could see. No bait balls though.
but the temp was fresh today and the animals are coming together .
Tomorrow is promising to be a good day on the sardine run….
Our last group of Asians is finished on Protea Banks. We were very tense and put in everything and every guide we had to keep them safe.
Fact is, they were actually good divers. Problem was that we did not know that.
The first dive was a disaster as it always is with everybody. That put us on edge as we really don’t want anybody to get hurt.
In the end they all managed to dive the Northern Pinnacle of Protea Banks safely.
Well done to all, divers, guides and crews.
We are visibly relieved, it feels as if a ton of weight just fell off our back.
They even saw a Mola Mola today, which i still have not seen in all my diving life !!!
I am happy for them.
Tomorrow they are on their way to Coffee Bay for the last group of our sardine run 2019.
And it looks as if they are here at just the right time….
14.7. 2019 Sardine Run Day 29
Not a lot of sardines around today but therefore we had other interesting entertainment.
We shared some limited space with a bunch of humpback whales , we watched gannets diving and common dolphins hunting.
We even saw a humpback whale with a newborn calf and a brides whale with calf as well.
To see a newborn is quite a sensation. This is why the whales come into our warmer region all the way from the antarctica. They give birth, replenish their lost energy, feed the new calf and start life’s journey before they go back into the colder waters.
We wish the little guy all the best, a happy, long and safe life in our oceans and we hope we will see him one day on a dive at Protea Banks
Ol Tony who has dived with us for over 15 years had his best ever dive a year ago when we had hundreds of raggies on the Northern Pinnacle of Protea banks in perfect visibility. I even made a video of this dive which is somewhere here on this website.
Today, Tony had his second best dive.
He saw 2 whales on scuba,
hundreds of hammerheads
Didn’t i know it ?!!! Today was one of the best days so far. What infos i get out of Coffee Bay are amazing.
Spike reports several bait balls with a hell of a lot of birds on them.
This is the action we want to see !!!!
Our guests saw duskie sharks, black tips, copper and spinner sharks. We had yellowfin tuna and schools of bonitos hammering down onto the poor old sardines.
And of course the ever present whales !!!
Today every single guest and crew member were blown away.
Our photographer took so many pictures that he was not finished by the time Beulah ducked up to her bedroom.
My poor darling is exhausted and needs peace and quiet in her room.
So she has no pictures yet and if she has no pics, i have no pics.
Guess we have something to look forward to tomorrow…
Protea Banks as well was amazing today. On the Northern Pinnacle we had loads of raggies and on the southern pinnacle our guys saw a fat tigershark !!! Wow.
I stayed on land for a change but didn’t stop running.
Also went to the hospital for my last rabies shot and asked the doctor to look at my arm.
They were very positively surprised. Said, it is definitely healing.
It got cleaned properly and re dressed.
I am mightily relieved about this opinion.
12.7. 2019 Sardine Run Day 27
A quiet day on the sardine run.
We had pretty wild seas due to a moderate to strong wind.
Our boat managed to get out but nobody had much fun. Being bashed around in rough seas is not pleasant. After about 2 hours everybody opted to go back and call it a day.
By lunchtime we were back on dry land.
I bet, tomorrow is the day !!!
11.7. 2019 Sardine Run Day 26 Bait Balls
Unbelievable, today is already day 26 !!!
Today was a good day on the sardine run. We had small bait balls, but bait balls they were. And as everybody knows, a bait ball is the ultimate experience everybody wants to have.
Like yesterday, they moved and were only suitable for snorkelling.
Today the boat was full and our photographer had no space. Therefore he could fly with the aircraft. Surely he will enjoy this and take amazing shots.
Arnold has repaired the tractor and after breakfast we went on our way.
I hit a huge pothole and messed up a brand new tyre. I am really not a happy chappie about that…lots of money wasted again. damn
10.7. 2019 Sardine Run Day 25 Bait Balls
Arnold and i have arrived in Coffee Bay at 8am. The drive was free and easy.
Left home at 3am.
Driving in this province is always an adventure. A truck sterben in front of us when he took a horse out….potholes so big, you could park our car inside…drunk people at 6am…
But we made it. Arnold can start his job immediately.
When i opened the door to the restaurant, Beulah almost fell off her feet. It was a well kept secret.
And she was so so happy to see me after all this time. Lovely !!!
The boats are out and we hear it is getting better again.
As we drive to the river mouth where we keep the tractor and the boats, we see lots of birds diving.
Something is happening for sure.
One of the boats has 2 bait balls. They are fast moving action which means the dolphins round up a couple of hundred sardines which are moving away all the time as the dolphins attack. They disperse and regroup a distance further up.
When the day ends i finally get a chance to meet my guests.
I love the Ocean View Hotel.
Tomorrow after breakfast we have to drive back. I also have a group of divers here in Shelly Beach. One day i can make a plan but i should not be away much longer.
And…i need to get my renovations finished off now. Beulah is coming home in barely 10 days time….eish…
9.7. 2019 Sardine Run Day 24
The day of the whales.
Whales and more whales wherever one looks. And today it seems, they want to play with us.
The sardines are a bit quiet lately but as is often the case, the humpback whales are keeping guests and crews entertained and busy.
The ocean is a bit wobbly but good enough to spend all day out there.
As our tractor is broken down we had to order the part here at home. It is supposed to arrive today…The question is, how will we get it to Coffee Bay ?
The thought of shooting down to Coffee Bay quickly slowly materialises.
Actually, i would be quite keen on a quick visit to see Beulah and our guests…
Might as well take the mechanic with me and get it done one shot.
8.7. 2019 Sardine Run Day 23
Unfortunately today was not a very busy day out at sea. We launched two boats and spent most of the day at sea but did not see anything particularly exciting.
Or are we spoilt now ?
If you see the last photo Pier Mane’s drone took before he crashed it into the sea, it is definitely not too shabby.
Maybe just in Sardine terms our day was quiet today.
I looked back and saw that we had bait balls on every day in July so far.
In the meantime we are working to get all the spares for the guys to repair the Prado and the tractor.
That damn tractor was having a holiday in Coffee Bay. Time it gets fixed.
Tomorrow we should have the spares and latest by wednesday i want to shoot the stuff to Coffee Bay together with our mechanic.
Luckily i only have Beulah’s lovely BMW to do that. She will have a heart attack when we pull in….
Topless, of course !!!
7.7. 2019 Sardine Run Day 22
Today was blown out unfortunately. At breakfast we were still a bit hopeful but came 7am, the wind started to hack.
White horses all over the ocean.
When this happens it means the waves are already breaking. In the beginning there are relatively small waves but the further out we go and the longer we stay, the larger the waves get.
In no time it goes from uncomfortable too dangerous…
The crews go down to the launch site to make a final assessment.
We are trying our best to put our guests into the water, but we are trying even harder to keep them safe.
Tomorrow is another day….
6.7. 2019 Sardine Run Day 21 Bait Balls
The news i get from Coffee Bay are great. Beulah reckons, today was the best day so far.
Unfortunately our aircraft is broken at the moment.
It doesn’t start….or it doesn’t land ??? Can’t remember. But our pilot is on his way to get a replacement machine. This is the advantage of using a professional !!!
Well done, Dave.
Luckily today was such a busy , active day that we could cope without the eye in the sky.
According to our super-photographer, today was a National Geographic Day.
Everything you see on TV came true today. And all this in 25m vis !!!
Whales went crazy today , jumping time and again.
Bait Balls one after the next. The one drifted past and another one was formed already behind us.
No end to excitement
Here on Protea we had lovely dives too. 25m Visibility and lots of Hammerheads in the South, lots of Raggies in the North.
Our old friends Oli and Nina are back with us. Always a special pleasure to see them.
A few more dives on Protea and they are on their way to Coffee Bay.
We see each other every single year at the German show in Düsseldorf as well.
Also Heinz is back from the Sardine Run. Looking forward to seeing him tomorrow and hearing his stories from the run.
I had a pretty tough day today especially as i did not sleep a wink last night.
Now it is 21h30 and i am still in front of this damn computer. Once this sentence is finished i will go and catch up with much needed sleep.
Tomorrow looks windy again. Hope we will make at least the first dive….
5.7. 2019 Sardine Run Day 20 Bait Balls
Today was a short and rough day.
We managed to launch the boats into the open ocean this morning despite pretty unsettled seas.
Our aircraft has found 2 bait balls for us where we found the entire food chain busy.
They were rather small in size and constantly moved forward which prevented us from going in on scuba.
This unfortunately is mostly the case. But the sardine run is all about seeing the action , and not so much about diving on scuba. Some people always get this wrong…
The vis was under 10m, pity, could have been better.
Just before midday the wind picked up and made everything really uncomfortable. Guests and crews were glad when it was decided to go back to dry land.
From 7h00 on we had a proper SW wind hacking our coast and the harbour remained closed today.
We all met in the shop in the hope maybe to get at least one dive in, but safety comes first and we all went our separate ways.
For some reason i just can’t catch up with my work. A lot of course has to do with my battered arm.
So i ended up at my desk until midnight.
When i finally called it a day and wanted to go to bed for a couple of hours, my bandage slipped off .
I had no choice but to look.
My arm looks like shit !!!! A true dog’s breakfast indeed !!!
I have a huge hole next to my elbow . The surgeon left it open so all the juices caused by the massive infection can drain out.
A mess, man !!!
The funny thing is that it is not even sore.
But just the look of the wound spooked me to such a degree that i could not sleep all night.
So i sat up watching CNN until the alarm went off…
4.7. 2019 Sardine Run Day 19 Bait Balls
And the Sardine Run 2019 is gaining momentum. It is getting better and better .
I hear the stories from Beulah and i can tell by the photos.
The visibility has greatly improved since yesterday .
Bait Balls were formed everywhere and all through the day. Our guests are most happy with the latest events, the mood is jolly and good.
They saw brides whales shuffling sardines like a front end loader, common dolphins making bait balls and feeding mercilessly on the defenceless sardines.
One has to feel sorry for these poor creatures.
Shit life if you find yourself at the bottom of the food chain, brother !!!!
Everything wend like clockwork on Protea Banks. Karen and her team of Ole, Melville and Brendon did an outstanding job here at home while i enjoyed my warm and comfortable hospital bed…..
The viz on Protea was 25m and the 3 launches went out to three amazing dives with lots of hammerheads, black tips, bulls and guitar sharks .
Thankfully i am back home and ready to drive the boat again tomorrow, weather permitting.
I got admitted to the ward yesterday and received a flooding of antibiotics.
This morning at 10 i was knocked out by my mate Alex the anethesist.
My favourite surgeon who took my gall bladder out early in the year performed his magic on the miserable arm and by later this afternoon i was allowed to to straight from the hospital to Buccaneers….
I asked and they said one was alright. Everyone know that nobody can stand on one leg and a final binder is tradition….
3.7. 2019 Sardine Run Day 18 Bait Balls
Today it all came together. The Sardine Run 2019 is happening.
Our guys had 6 bait balls in all sizes and shapes.
Definitely the best day so far on this year’s run.
Happy days, happy customers
The whole day was filled with proper action.
Lots of raggies on the northern pinnacle of Protea Banks and lots of black tips and schooling hammerheads in the south.
Current on the banks is back and straight away we had good vis again.
The sea was so beautiful. Long and gentle waves, no banging with the boat, lovely warm day.
I am indeed in hospital….
This morning my heavily infected arm was swollen even more and after i finished my work i went to the hospital for today’s check up.
I was sent for x rays and sonar tests which came back really bad.
The damn doctor was even more negativ than yesterday and had a relatively easy game breaking me…
In for 3 days but i want to see if i can’t get out earlier.
Karen and Ole have the diving under control. Friday seems to be a bad weather day and tomorrow will be a picture book day again like today.
So everything should run smoothly
2.7. 2019 Sardine Run Day 17 Bait Balls
The sea was huge today. Launching very difficult but we got all 3 boats out.
We did find 2 bait balls but the visibility today was really low.
Nevertheless , the guys were happy to see bait balls and of course all the usual sardine run players like sharks, dolphins, whales etc.
Our tractor is broken at the moment and so is the safari vehicle form the hotel. This makes life for our crews rather difficult. Everybody is working at the problems, but Coffee Bay has no time.
It is finished when it works again.
Tomorrow is only half time.
Wonder what else is going to happen….
Also here at Protea Banks we struggled with very low visibility. On the Southern Pinnacle of Protea Banks we had 5m or less and nothing to see.
Ole went to the Northern Pinnacle of Protea Banks for the second dive and things were a whole lot better there.
After descending through the thick layer of algae and plankton they hit a thermocline where the water was pretty cold but very clean. At least 20m vis if not more.
Once the eyes were used to the missing daylight, everything was great and the divers had a really good dive with about 25 raggies
My infected arm got much worse and is now twice the size of the healthy arm.
I have water oozing out of the puncture woulds, absolutely horrible.
Went back to the hospital and was told i have to stay for 3 days in the ward.
No ways, i said.
I did my share in hospital last year and besides this i have absolutely no time.
Although the thought of chilling in a warm hospitable doesn’t sound too bad right now !!!
Anyway, i told the doctor not to be so negativ and give me more meds.
All the staff came to look at my arm and everybody was horrified….eish….
So the deal is that if the old arm doesn’t get better soon, i will check myself in.
For now i have 3 different antibiotics. Huge pills.
When i take all my medication i am no longer hungry…
One way to loose weight ?
Let’s see what happens
1.7. 2019 Sardine Run Day 16
Today Mother Nature had to re-arrange itself and a strong South Westerly wind prevented us from launching.
It would have been unsafe and highly unpleasant.
So our guests chilled at the hotel and some went on an excursion in the area.
There is always something to do in this magic place.
Tomorrow we should be back on track and hopefully this coastal low will bring us the ultimate sardine run action….