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1000s of Cape Gannets dive-bombing in Qora, Deep Transkei

15 May 2024 Sardine Report 1000s of Cape Gannets in Qora

1000s of Cape Gannets dive-bombing in Qora, Deep Transkei

1000s of Cape Gannets dive-bombing in Qora, Deep Transkei: the iconic and beautifully choreographed gannet population descends on the sardine run first. Every time. These are our main indicators. That along with the cetaceans, sharks, fish and other marine mega-fauna, make up all the predators that are chasing after the sardines each year.

When all these guys come together, you are guaranteed a front-row seat at The Greatest Shoal on Earth.

CLICK HERE for the Sardine Run 2024 Sightings Map Page.

Enjoy the report and thank you Kevin in Qora, deep Transkei…

More about Gannets

Cape gannets (Morus capensis) possess several remarkable features that set them apart:

  1. Colonial Nesting: These seabirds breed in large colonies, often on remote islands or rocky cliffs. Their communal nesting behaviour is a spectacle to behold.
  2. Distinct Appearance: Cape gannets have striking plumage, with snowy white bodies, black wingtips, and a golden-yellow crown. Their eyes are surrounded by a distinctive blue ring.
  3. Precise Diving Skills: When hunting for sardines, they perform spectacular plunges from great heights, folding their wings and torpedoing into the water. Their streamlined bodies and keen eyesight aid in precise targeting.
  4. Monogamous Pairs: Cape gannets form monogamous pairs during the breeding season. They engage in elaborate courtship displays, reinforcing their bond through synchronized head movements and calls.
  5. Diet: Their diet consists of small fish, especially sardines and anchovies. They rely on the annual sardine run off the South African coast for abundant food.
  6. Conservation Concerns: Unfortunately, Cape gannets face threats such as overfishing, pollution, and habitat disturbance. Conservation efforts are crucial to protect these magnificent birds.

In summary, Cape gannets combine elegance, precision, and ecological significance, making them a celebrated and vital part of South Africa’s marine ecosystem.

Cape gannets are attentive parents, and their chick-rearing process involves several key steps:

  1. Nesting Sites: Cape gannets breed in large colonies on rocky cliffs or remote islands. They choose nesting sites carefully to avoid predators and ensure proximity to food-rich waters.
  2. Courtship and Pair Bonding: During the breeding season, male and female gannets engage in courtship displays. They perform synchronized head movements and calls to strengthen their pair bond.
  3. Egg Laying: After courtship, the female lays a single egg. Both parents take turns incubating the egg, which typically lasts around 44 days.
  4. Incubation Shifts: The parents alternate incubation duties. While one incubates, the other forages for food. Their precise shifts ensure constant warmth for the developing chick.
  5. Hatching and Chick Care: Once the egg hatches, the chick emerges. It is initially covered in soft down feathers. The parents feed the chick regurgitated fish, providing essential nutrients.
  6. Growth and Development: Over the next few weeks, the chick grows rapidly. It develops waterproof feathers and gains strength. The parents continue to feed it until it becomes independent.
  7. Fledging: Around 90 days after hatching, the chick is ready to fledge. It takes its first flight, leaving the nest. The parents continue to provide food during this transition.
  8. Post-Fledging Period: After fledging, young gannets spend several years at sea, honing their fishing skills. Eventually, they return to the colony to breed, continuing the cycle.

In summary, Cape gannets exhibit dedicated parenting, ensuring the survival and success of their chicks in the challenging marine environment. ?? : https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/birds/c/cape-gannet/ https://www.sardinerunpe.co.za/

Affiliated YouTube Channels

https://youtube.com/@waterwoes – complain here

https://youtube.com/@thesardinenews – neva miss out

https://youtube.com/@mydotackletalk – highly technical sport fishing

https://youtube.com/@Brucifire – entertaining surf reporting

https://youtube.com/@surflaunchingsouthernafrica – getting out there safely

Affiliated websites

https://umzimkulu.co.za – self-catering right on the Umzimkulu River
https://umzimkuluadrenalin.co.za – sardine run coming up
https://thesardine.co.za – never miss a single sardine
https://masterwatermen.co.za – news from deep down
https://brucifire.co.za – surf and conditions reporting
https://fishbazaruto.com – your dreams are out there

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Must see FILM ‘Becoming Visible’ by Janet Solomon

Watch the highly-acclaimed Janet Solomon movie - Becoming Visible - right here

Must see FILM ‘Becoming Visible’ by Janet Solomon

Must see FILM ‘Becoming Visible’ by Janet Solomon: heeding the call! Of the whales, dolphins and all other marine life subject to the horrors of massive sonar arrays used to speculate for oil and gas. Right here in our very own waters.

The Story

Highlights how politics and poli’tricks’ are the ocean and its inhabitants’ biggest threat. Threat to their survival. And the absolute threat of extinction. If we damage but a few generations of our slow-growing cetaceans, we can easily bring that population to its knees.

Follow the link below to learn a whole of the reality going on behind the scenes. At government level. That allows this kind of tragic loss of marine life to happen. Click the following link to watch the movie on their website.

The Movie — Becoming Visible

Janet Solomon

Having never met this wonderfully talented and inspired person, I can only shower my praises upon her. And the masterful work she has put together.

This stuff takes years. Not hours. And the extreme levels of pure journalism that Janet went to, to record all the relevant in-depth information shines through.

Share

This work needs to be shared far and wide. And only we can do this. Please share this movie with whatever button you can find…on your phone or computer.

And let’s not allow this to happen to the marine life depending on us to stop the government right now…

Affiliated YouTube Channels

https://youtube/@thesardinenews
https://youtube/@waterwoes
https://youtube/@Brucifire

Websites

https://brucifire.co.za
https://thesardine.co.za
https://masterwatermen.co.za
https://umzimkuluadrenalin.co.za

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Ocean Safari with Chelsea Dog and the B2 Humpback Whales

On Ocean Safari with Umzimkulu Adrenalin and Chelsea Dog

Ocean Safari with Chelsea Dog and the B2 Humpback Whales

Ocean Safari with Chelsea Dog and the B2 Humpback Whales: Dr. Oz Goffman (Head dolphin project of Haifa University -IMMRAC – The Recanati Institute for Maritime Studies/School of Marine Sciences) spends his life stalking and saving cetaceans of all kinds and in all places. But specifically these guys. The B2 population. And the C1 guys. These are the ever-entertaining humpback whale communities that visit us, and Mozambique, this time each year. (see graphic by Dr. Oz and colleagues below…secret intel for undercover whale spotters like the Umimkulu Adrenalin operation).

Ocean Safari intel: The Indian Ocean gets bombarded every winter here, by a healthy population of humpback whales. These marine mammals may seem plentiful at times but are still not back to the numbers they should be. Image courtesy of Dr. Oz Goffman and colleagues.
Ocean Safari intel: The Indian Ocean gets bombarded every winter here, by a healthy population of humpback whales. These marine mammals may seem plentiful at times but are still not back to the numbers they should be. Image courtesy of Dr. Oz Goffman (Head dolphin project of Haifa University -IMMRAC – The Recanati Institute for Maritime Studies/School of Marine Sciences) and colleagues.
Dr. Oz Goffman

When I worked with Dr. Oz in the deep blue waters out off Bazaruto Island in Mozambique for a few years, we were covertly recording mother to calf humpback whale conversations. We spent literally months and months stalking these guys. So when I say Dr. Oz knows these guys by name, I do not mean literally (see the album slide in the video).

He knows them by name.

The B2 Bombers

Down here on the lower south coast of Kwazulu Natal in South Africa, we are perfectly poised to encounter the B2 bombers, travelling south to Cape Town, at this time of the year. This is their highway to Slaapstad, on their way to stopping off a while at Hermanus for a traditional jol.

And so it was really cool that we got another Ocean Safari booking this week. And this time we were far more camera-ready. Although we missed the ever-eventful launch (and this time was no different, it was wild!), the rest of the camera work went down a treat and the featured video almost made it out there yesterday!

Yep! Dr. Oz knows these guys by name. He has dedicated his life to looking after these enthralling ocean-going mammals, and other cetaceans of all kinds, all over the world.
Yep! Dr. Oz knows these guys by name. He has dedicated his life to looking after these enthralling ocean-going mammals, and other cetaceans of all kinds, all over the world.

On this trip, we actually only saw this one whale. But man did he perform. Launching right out clear into the air at times. We managed to get a few clips but our guests got the gold.

Umzimkulu Adrenalin

The Umzimkulu Adrenalin operation has fired up on the south bank of the Umzimkulu River. At the picturesque and bustling Spiller’s Wharf riverside shopping and business complex in Port Shepstone. This place is really quaint and historical with lots to absorb and learn about the history of the Umzimkulu River all over the place. It’s a very interesting building. There is even a 100-year-old boat parked in the driveway!

‘To all our previous clients, who have sent us their whale videos last week, we are busy compiling all the bits and pieces and will have yours out soon I promise!’

Sean

Ocean safaris, deep-sea fishing, river cruises, thrill rides, day fishing are all on offer at Umzimkulu Adrenalin. Come and see us, we are right at the back of the centre (Mr. Spiller’s old house).

Or…

Call Sean on +27 79 326 9671 or email umzimkulu@gmail.com.

More on https://thesardine.co.za and https://masterwatermen.co.za.

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So why do the sardine shoals not come at all some years?

A bumper sardine run 2020 leaves some unanswered but relevant questions about our annual sardine migration and who gets to harvest and who are in lockdown

So why do the sardine shoals not come at all some years?

So why do the sardine shoals not come at all some years?: Well I got a call from Mr Adam Kamdar of Township Hyper yesterday evening. Great dude and really in the know in the fishing scene.  I had guests and dogs and things going and I could hardly hear, but his question went along the lines of…

“Sean, do you think this Covid thing was the cause of the bumper sardine run?”

Well ok that pushed just about all my buttons, so here is the full answer Adam…

AIS

AIS is the theme to this quasi-sardine report compiled as a result of the big question Adam has posed.

You can download an AIS App to your phone. There are many and they are free for the most. They show you, where the big and ugly fishing trawlers are. Right on your phone!

AIS.

Automatic Identification System. A great effort, and if everyone played along, saves lives (collision avoidance), and sealife (real-time tracking data to catch poachers fishing illegally).

BUT.

And this is a big BUT.

If you are a poacher, you can turn your AIS transponder, right the hell OFF! With a switch!

So this is how they do it then. When pair-trawling (the most destructive of all the illegal fishing methods), one of the collaborators, turns off. Easy as that. If the fleet ventures, in a group (read commercial fishing high-tech armada), then as they get near protected waters, one or two of them turns off, and enters the forbidden zone.

This happens ALL the time. The Sardine News tried to start a trawler watch to log sightings of suspect activity – but there is so much of it, that we got bogged right down right as we started. This was in Mozambique where these ugly boats are literally EVERYWHERE now.

Sardine Run 2020

Whilst we were imprisoned in lockdown thanks to our sheep governments interpretation of convid19, the Chinese/Japanese/Whoever fleets were plying the waters the whole time! Where? Slap bang on the sardine migration path. The AIS charts looked like a rugby scrum.

No photo description available.

And if you have been in St. Francis this time of year, any year, you can smell the sardines from the harbor for miles around. Go sniffing around there for yourselves. Huge loads of sardines. Wonder where they go? And whose were they in the first place?

Whoever they are and wherever they are from, they are ALL rigged with the latest in navigation and depth-sounding equipment. Utilising sonar pulses pumped out by a high-powered transducer, they can detect and chase a shoal of sardines 12 or more miles away! And with their huge capacity and tethers to a mother ship lurking around the area somewhere, that is also a factory ship – that drops CANNED sardines off at the wharf – what chance does the public ever have of getting their share, in the usually slow years of sardine running?

So…

Did Convid19 affect the sardine run this merry 2020?

Nope. It’s a bumper sardine run like we always dream of. It’s beyond perfect. The gamefish have arrived. Sharks are getting their teeth pulled. The weather is fantastic and ecological patterns are in place. Those pundits that complain year after year are completely silent.

Only. They just don’t get it.

AIS.

Shows that there were fleets of fishing boats fishing, directly in the path that the hapless sardines take right now during this sardine run 2020. Whilst we were in lockdown, there were commercial fishermen out there loading up! Enjoying a totally illegal, totally unnecessary lockdown, and infringement of our basic human right to freedom to fish as well!

My answer then is this. These boats remove the exact amount of tonnes and tonnes of sardines missing on our beaches – with this migration – each year. Only this time, there were just so many they couldn’t catch them all.

“Our” sardines?

Another interesting question.

BUT, one thing is for sure, if not for the bumper numbers that this year has given, the sardines hardly ever make it past Port Elizabeth, before they are all netted and frozen.

So, that leaves us back at square one. We have NO voice. It’s time to get political. If not that, then at least investigative in that we need to know why these ships are allowed to be plundering our sardines.

Whilst we are in lockdown!

Almost sounds like a conspiracy in theory.

Adam, my good mate, over to you…

Stay up-to-date with The Sardine News covering the goings-on, during this bumper sardine run in year 2020!

We are on Facebook right here, we run an action-packed YouTube video channel right here. Please like and subscribe to our channel on YouTube if you would like to encourage us to pump out more and more video. We have done really well recently with some great video produced in conjunction with the Fishing Pro Shops Johan Wessels – chasing sardines down in the Port Shepstone area. We got out to sea twice and caught a bunch of gamefish in the surf zone, and in the Umzimkulu River Estuary. Click on over to our YouTube video channel right here. And please consider a Like and Subscribe. Thank you

By The Sardine News

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Diversity scuba experience in Tofo

Diversity scuba experience in Tofo

For sheer diversity scuba action, there is not much like the waters of Tofo and it’s surrounding reefs.

Manta Rays consistently lure divers to visit the area. Their underwater antics match their flying ability as they leap through the air in a barrel roll, jumping for sheer joy, or to shake the odd parasite.

Whale Sharks – gentle giants that they are, have been putting up with scores of enthusiastic bubble blowers since the days of independence here. Although down in numbers, encounters do still happen weekly.

Dolphins are far more reliable. There is a resident shoal of hungry hump back dolphins off Tofinho, adding to the diversity scuba or snorkeling portfolio. Common dolphins abound as they patrol far bigger zones than their humped back cousins.

Hump back whales however only pitch in winter time, nursing their calves and avoiding over enthusiastic males.

Orcas, or killer whales also come in winter. Their sole purpose us to feed on the Humpback Whale calves?! Greedy buggers.

Dugongs, as rare as they are, can be encountered all round Tofo. In fact, local spearfisherman Dave Charley swam into a mother and calf off Tofinho Point, just south of Tofo, a few years back.

Game fish are plentiful here, with resident schools of huge kingfish owning the reefs. Marlin are often encountered, and tuna abound.

To experience any of the above, check out diversityscuba.com or contact Sean on umzimkulu@gmail.com for advice and direction.