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Sardine Run KwaZulu-Natal 2024: An Early and Exciting Start

The Sardine Run in KwaZulu-Natal for 2024 has kicked off earlier than usual, but experts believe these are just the pilot shoals, with more expected throughout the winter. June 9th was a beautiful start to the day – a perfect winter morning. I woke up early to take some photos of the waves, a usual sunrise activity for me.

When I arrived at the beach, the scene was breathtaking. An offshore breeze, sizable waves, and a crystal-clear blue ocean greeted me. Despite knowing it was sardine season and a bit risky, I couldn't resist the ocean's beauty and decided to jump in. After a struggle against the strong currents, I made it out past the waves. It was glorious, warmer, and even clearer than I had imagined.

I captured some amazing shots of the waves. The wind blowing out to sea created beautiful streaks on the curling wave and the light was penetrating the water causing a spectacular scene and I am happy I was able to capture a few of these images.

I then spotted a shoal of sardines being chased by a predator.

That was my cue to get out. Back on the beach, I noticed a massive shoal fast approaching, with fishermen already starting to net them. It was the perfect opportunity to document this bustling event.

The Sardine Run is a significant event for the local community, rooted in tradition. However, while it's part of local culture and economy, it's essential to highlight the importance of ethical fishing. Sustainable practices protect marine ecosystems and ensure the long-term availability of sardine populations. My documentation of the event does not imply agreement with all the practices observed; I am merely capturing the moment. I strongly advocate for the protection of wildlife and our oceans, promoting responsible and sustainable fishing to preserve the natural beauty and biodiversity of our marine environments.

Below are some of the photos I managed to capture amidst the chaos,

and here's a highlight video for you to watch.

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