For the past 10 years, the Sardine Run had ranked high on my wish-list. I learnt in 2017 that Danish company Kingfish Dive & Travel, with which I had travelled successfully before, had added the run to its programme for 2018.
Because I live in Copenhagen, I visited its offices to learn more about the trip. As you can imagine, it didn’t take long to be convinced to book a spot for the 2018 Sardine Run.
As I said, we never know what mood Nature will be in, so you can’t rely on seeing baitballs every day. However, given all the other things we saw during the week, it didn’t matter that much.
The Sardine Run’s main attraction might be baitballs under attack, but we experienced more than enough alternative action while sailing around to pack a whole ocean safari.
Orcas swim beside the RIB.
We saw more humpback whales and dolphins than I could count and, last but not least, a small pack of orcas. Though there were fewer orcas, just seeing these magnificent animals come close to the RIB was enough for me, so it really didn’t matter how many there were.
Further, when we first spotted the orcas they were on the move, so it would have made no sense to jump in and try to follow them in the water. So we stayed in the RIB and followed them for as long as possible, an experience I will never forget.
In addition to searching for baitballs, we spent some time trying to get into the water with humpback whales.
The whales can be curious and playful, but we often saw them breach and then dive too far away from us to join them.
Still, we had some very close encounters, thanks to Captain Louis’s sharp eye for wildlife. When he spotted a pack of humpbacks, he could tell whether or not they were about to dive and if there would be a chance to swim with then.
When he said “give it a go” we slid into the water as quietly as possible, in the hope that the whales would swim past or just below us.
Everyone from both RIBs had some unforgettable encounters with humpbacks coming up just beside them, or diving right beneath them at a very slow pace, showing their full beauty and grace. It was a momentous experience to witness these giants in their own element.
One of our first days was very quiet, with almost no wind.
In his thick South African accent, Captain Louis explained that “we want the sea to be alive” when hoping to see baitballs. He suggested that we sail closer to shore to see how things looked there.
Often the current and visibility close to shore make it impossible to scuba-dive, but because it was such a quiet day, Louis thought it was worth checking out.
We saw nothing that looked remotely like the boiling water from a baitball, and the few dolphins we did see seemed lazy and not at all in hunting mood.