Sardine Run Day 5: Into the Millpond

Today started out with really flat surf, which was an easy if not surprising surf launch. It got even flatter, mid morning, and the ocean itself was like a millpond – which was utterly surreal, almost like being on a boating lake. No bird action, nothing. You could hear the surf crashing against the shore, miles away.

It turned out to be very quiet in general, No action, pretty much all day. At one point we were static in the boat, waiting, and all of a sudden the flat surface broke, and small fish started jumping out of the water. Our guides shouted to get in, but it was just a small school of mackerel, or sardines perhaps, but nothing was chasing them. They disappeared and we put our snorkels away.

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Nick and Kara spotting

After a while, we saw some dolphins coming towards us. We got in, but it turns out they didn’t want to play and just went under us. Did nothing want to come and give us a show today?

Sailfish and humpbacks

Wilfred on the boat shouted “tuna”, as he saw a fin poke the surface. As it came closer, the cry turned to “sailfish! Get in the water, now!”. Sailfish – beautiful, rare, marlin-like fish, with massive fins along their back, and known for being incredibly fast. We jumped in, but it disappeared as quickly as it had arrived.

Getting back in…

As we reluctantly turned around to head back, we came across some humpbacks, a common occurrence for us now. One in particular wanted to give us and the other boats in the area a show, with breaches, tail slaps and general jumping for joy. We hung around watching his joyful showing off, then as the wind picked up and the calm became white caps, and we decided to head back.

The Lighthouse

Later on in the day, we jumped in the van and drove to the lighthouse, which afforded great views of the river mouth, and the coast. We watched a pod of dolphins playing in the water below us. Maybe they were working, or maybe just having fun. It amazes me that they’re are other mammals, especially marine ones, who do things just for the sheer hell of it.

View from the lighthouse

In the evening we came back and watched some tennis (Murray in the quarters at Wimbledon) and then sat around the log fire and smoked (hopefully) lucky shisha. We had a springbok shot (amarula and peppermint) -I was told we were drinking the ocean flat. Well, it was flat enough today and we saw very little. I think I’d like a bit less flat, actually….

Lucky shisha

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