It’s important to fully understand the Sardine Run before embarking on this expedition.
A typical sardine bait ball in crystal clear conditions where dolphins, sharks, whales and sea birds are in a feeding frenzy is in fact a very rare sighting. Film crews have spent weeks out at sea over the span of a couple of years in search of the perfect bait ball action. After more than 15 years experiencing the Sardine Run, I would honestly say that you realistically have a 30-40% chance of experiencing this phenomenon.
The Sardine Run is in fact more about the migration of various predators moving along the South African coastline following sardines than the sardines themselves. It’s about snorkeling with humpback whales, swimming with dolphins, observing gannets plummet into the water, watching schools of sharks glide by, etc.
It’s also about the crew and fellow divers who share this experience with you.
Spending hours at sea together and interacting with marine animals of this magnitude is a rare and special experience…snorkeling alongside a school of a thousand dolphins or staring into the eye of a humpback whale will be a life changing experience you’ll never forget.
If you embrace the experience, you won’t be disappointed!
Important Stuff to Know…
Have The Right Kit
The Sardine Run takes place during the South African winter and the mornings and evenings can be extremely cold. The boat is a “wet” environment, so be prepared to stay in your wetsuit all day and be exposed to the elements, be it sunshine, a cold wind, etc.
A 5-7mm wetsuit or dry suit is recommended in addition to a warm, waterproof jacket.
Free Diving & Snorkeling
It is easier to get on and off the boat quickly with snorkeling gear as the skipper needs to keep moving to stay with the action. It would be beneficial to have some free diving skills.
Photography Is A Must
There are wonderful photographic opportunities and due to limited space on the boat it is recommended that you carry a small, light and compact system (unless you are a professional, of course). GoPro cameras are an excellent choice and some of our divers last year got excellent results with this small video camera.
Many hours are spent out at sea searching for action and this is the time to get to know your fellow diving buddies, chat to the crew, engage in the experience and have some fun.
It is often after many long hours at sea and becoming discouraged that suddenly some action happens.
Always Be Ready
One can come across sardine run action quite unexpectedly and it is important to always be ready to respond. The crew will do their best to maneuver the boat and anticipate the marine animal activity and it is therefore essential to be ready to jump into the water at a moment’s notice. If luck is on your side and you get to experience the run at its peak, it will undoubtedly be one of the best experiences of your life!