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Sardine Run

Umkomaas - South Coast, KwaZulu Natal  © Lakshmi Sawitri, Copyright

Sardine Run

The annual sardine run brings the Kwazulu Natal South Coast into a frenzy of excitement each year as the tiny silvery fish migrate northwards. This phenomenon has been named "the Greatest Shoal On Earth" due to the sheer volumes of the small fish, which can be seen from space. The sardine run occurs every year between the months of May and July. Shoals as big as 15 km long, 3 km wide, and up to 30 m in depth can be seen covering an approximate distance of a 1000 km.

This awesome marine spectacle brings with it a huge variety of predatory fish and birds which pursue them with hopes of an easy meal. It has been previously estimated that about 20,000 common dolphins follow the sardines up the coast each year, accompanied by a variety of sharks, whales and seabirds. Sharks and dolphins often work in synchronised harmony forcing the sardines in to tight groups or "bait balls" so they can easily be caught.

This annual spectacular event attracts scuba divers from all across the globe to view the phenomenon, and also makes for excellent photographic opportunities. The beaches of KwaZulu Natal fill up in almost the same way as they do over the festive season, with fishermen collecting the sardines for bait, children scooping them out with whatever they can find, and folks who just stop by to catch a glimpse of it all.

For the latest information on the Sardine Run check Earth-Touch.com for their Tweets at http://twitter.com/whalesharkdiver.

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