Sardine Run 2022

The Year of the Dolphin

Sardine Run 2022 kicked off for African Watersports in June this year, with 72 international guests lined up to experience the Greatest Shoal on Earth. The dolphins soon showed us they were going to be the Stars of this year’s show. Common dolphins, Bottlenose dolphins, and even Indo-Pacific dolphins were there. A lack of Sharks was evident from the beginning, the reasons are still unknown. But many juvenile and sub-adult Cape Gannets were in the mix, Brydes Whales and even Cormorants. With massive groups of Humpback Whale migrating North at the same time.

Millions of Sardines were on the move, North, towards Mozambique, forming “bait balls” as they travel in numbers for protection, the dolphins showed us just how intelligent they are, rounding up the different species of Sardine, performing Areal Attacks that were incredible to witness, both on the surface and from below. The speed and accuracy of their attacks were unbelievable to experience. We found ourselves often stunned and in awe watching these majestic moments with the dolphins.

Many guests experienced these Areal Attacks from inside the water, watching closely as the Bait Balls got smaller with each attack. However, from the boat, everyone could clearly see their intent. Acrobatic jumps, flips, and purposeful splashes allow the dolphins the ability to mimic the attack of the birds. Pushing the bait balls a few meters underwater where they feast on these little silver fish. The synchronisation that these pods displayed was a real masterpiece, co ordinating their movements like Olympic Synchronised Swimmers. On many occasions it was this behaviour that showed us where the bait balls were, leading us to drop in on the Action.

Watching their skin colour change as blood is forced around their bodies is spectacular to see, with their necks turning a pinkish hue as they slap the surface of the water. White and Black are their usual colours, but for some reason, on the Run, when performing Areal Attacks their underside turns this pink colour.  See this live is a real winner. We hope you join us for the next Sardine Run, 2023, in Port St Johns.

African Watersports