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pats0n

sardine run 2012

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This year's Sardine Run was incredibly slow - sardines failed to show up, and not many bait ball opportunities were available. Action was limited to small pockets of red eye and anchovies on the surface being torn apart in matter of minutes by big packs of hungry sharks. This presented some interesting photo opportunities, though.

 

In addition to that we had some incredible time with humpback whales and several mola mola encounters were reported by different groups.

 

This year required a lot of swimming around in attempt to locate fast moving balls, and I did almost all photos without strobes attached - I used no strobes setup first time in 4 seasons !

 

Below are some of the fresh images from Wild Coast taken in first half of July. All taken with Nikon D300 + Nikon 10.5mm lens. All images are not cropped and editing is limited to slight contrast/tone enhancements.

 

I will post more as I process them, meanwhile I hope more people will post their accounts and pictures from this incredible annual event !

 

 

 

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Edited by pats0n

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Sad to hear about the sardines...I hope they come back, because I'm very keen to do this trip in a few years. Here's hoping it's a temporary disappearance rather than a permanent one.

 

I love your first two shark shots. The closest shark in the second image looks like he's thinking of upgrading from fish, and if the first image was taken with a wide lens I'd say you're lucky to still have your fingers. Congrats!

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Thank you for your comment, errbrr - every year is different, next one can be good one - sardines failed to show up several times in last decade. This year reason for low numbers of bait fish was water temperature which stayed above 20 degrees - normally it should be below, some people say that ideal is below 18 even. Still as you can see from images - it was interesting trip, since behavior patterns of predators are very different. For example, during good year it's not easy to observe many sharks on bait ball when many people in the water are simultaneously - this year was quite opposite, every small ball had dozens of them, often ignoring presence of people at all - they were very, very hungry and desperate. I actually was bumped by sharks few times while trying to get closer to whales - they were checking every source of noise on surface this year.

 

Shot with dusky grabbing sardines is 10.5mm - I stuck my camera into it's face basically - distance was about 20cm and it bumped me moment later happy.png

 

Here is one more shot from Sardine Run 2012 - showing typical size of bait ball and also fact that most action was right on the surface. I will publish more images as I go through them in coming days. Meanwhile if you like adventure diving at it's best and can deal with frustration on many days which is integral part of experience - I strongly recommend you to try next year or later ! happy.png

 

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Edited by pats0n

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image of mola mola from my friend Vlad Levantovsky - on that day I jumped on different boat, and missed opportunity. However sightings of mola mola on the Wild Coast were relatively frequent this season.

 

Please visit Vlad's stream to see more of his images - http://www.flickr.com/photos/seewhatvladsee/

 

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Actually, there were S. Sagax around... just mixed up with the E. Teres and Whiteheadi.

 

As for M&Ms, I see them every year, even the warm years. They are around with the mantas and even Jens got in the water to get a shot!

 

One has to remember that snorkeling impedes on the predation of gannets and dolphins, especially when there's a boat load of 8-10 snorkelers in the water. Then there's the safety considerations since the sharks were especially feisty this year, yet people were still jumping into visibility that was poor! I'm afraid too many operators got a little desperate or silly and put their customers in higher risk situations than needed.

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Drew, you right - sharks were totally nuts. I was bumped by them while swimming to whales several times - did not happen before !

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And if you count any shark encounter as a stat, the chances of getting bit go up by quite a bit!!! :)

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Actually, there were S. Sagax around... just mixed up with the E. Teres and Whiteheadi.

 

As for M&Ms, I see them every year, even the warm years. They are around with the mantas and even Jens got in the water to get a shot!

 

One has to remember that snorkeling impedes on the predation of gannets and dolphins, especially when there's a boat load of 8-10 snorkelers in the water. Then there's the safety considerations since the sharks were especially feisty this year, yet people were still jumping into visibility that was poor! I'm afraid too many operators got a little desperate or silly and put their customers in higher risk situations than needed.

Absolutely he has them in shot!

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Absolutely he has them in shot!

\

 

I think mine are with redeye actually. But maybe I miss something, LOL ^_^

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hey Drew, maybe you can submit some of your stunning topside shots from this season ? ^_^

 

I'm chasing couple of GoPro videos now from Scuba Addicts trip members !

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Here is the GoPro video taken by Geo Kearley during our 50 minutes long humpback whale encounter on the last day in Port St. Johns - it was amazing experience, bit challenging for photography and video due to overcast skies and limited viz - but still one of the very memorable experiences during season of 2012 ! ^_^

 

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Geo Kearley released one more GoPro video which he took during our trip - showing this time typical bait ball action for the season of 2012 - short lasting and staying on the surface. Netherless this video communicates well excitement of being so close to hunting dolphins, birds and sharks -

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qvyYSeeAtxU

Edited by pats0n

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