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Hi all,


Since one of the things I do is organizing trips for underwater photographers to really good diving destinations, especially with some big animals and not so common underwater action, I found Drew's article very informative.


Right now I'm planning my big trip for 2013 and Sardine Run comes to my mind.

But after reading the article, some concerns came to my mind, because I must think about my clients security. So, generally, I would like to ask, what do you think about Sardine Run as a trip destination.


I've read other articles saying that it's very difficult to get a decent shot, that the sea is too rough, dark and murky waters and, worst of all, lots of boats and snorkelers around. Is this truth?

How about the dive operators there, especially the ones that you have used. Are you happy with them? Can you give their names/contact?


Also, some mentioned the inexperienced operators and their dangerous practices. Who are the ones that I should avoid?


Is South Africa a secure country to travel to? I mean, after all, we will be caring very expensive photo gear with us...

Any other info/help that you can give me will be welcome an much appreciated.


Thank you very much for the info.


All the best,

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I think it is a great trip! Just make sure that people realise that they could see no sardines at all. However, more or less guaranteed are hundreds of dolphins, plenty of whales and sharks and the amazing gannets. In order to see a baitball things just have to come together. I never experienced any issues with regards to safety.

I have done the trip now three years in a row and it varied from realy good to seeing no sardines. I think you just have to have a bit of stamina :-)


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Have been on the Sardine Run for the last four years on the row... and will be going again next year! Yes it is difficult to get a great baitball shot because of all the variables that have to come together, but there is so much opportunity around in other areas. If you look at it as a Sardine Run only then you may be disappointed if the sardines do not arrive. If you look at it as an Ocean Safari then you will never be disappointed since there is no limit to the subjects available.


Yes there are lots of boats and snorkellers around but that's life. There is an etiquette system in place and a lot of the time it works. It relies and the clients behaving as well as the skippers/operators and this does not always happen. Also when the water is murky it is best not to dive for safety reasons and clients can have a hard time understanding this. I have had two close encounters I would not wish to repeat, both times after diving in low visibility when I knew better but went anyway. For me the lesson is clear!


I use Steve Benjamin from www.animalocean.co.za and have done for the last 3 years. I could not recommend anyone more highly. Steve is a qualified Zoologist, great skipper and the most enthusiastic guy you will ever meet. There are many good operators and some not so good, do your research and be sure to get referrals from past clients. The dangerous practices mostly amount to putting clients in the water when the visibility is not good. As a client you need to exercise restraint, even if the operator doesn't.


South Africa is no different to any other country in terms of safety and security. There are good areas and bad areas and you need to appreciate that you have to look after your kit and not leave it lying around as temptation. At Port St Johns there is no real problem and security at most of the resorts is fine.


The only real worry is that you have a great time... then you'll be like the rest of the addicts going back year after year!




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