The Sardine Run: 2021

The Sardine Run: 2021
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Whilst 2020 sucked for travel, we’re hard at work planning our 2021 adventures… and here’s the first group travel trip we can share with you… but it’s only for the brave!

At the top of my bucket list is to dive the Sardine Run in South Africa.

Every year in June and July, billions of Sardines make their way up the eastern coast of South Africa to feed in the warm, rich waters close to the Cape. Unfortunately for them, Sardines are not the top of their food chain. Sharks, Dolphins, Seabirds, Sailfish all come to attack this moveable feast and we’re going to put you right into the heart of the action.

We have teamed up with ProDive in Port St John to make an accommodation, meals and diving package for advanced level divers to experience the greatest marine spectacle on earth. ProDive use specialized semi rigid inflatable boats perfectly suited for their speed and maneuverability to keep up with these schools of fish. How will we find huge schools of sardines in an even bigger ocean, you might ask? Spotter planes covering the coastal waters have direct radio contact with our boats to put us in the best possible spots.

We will be staying at the scenic N’taba lodge and spa, right on the river. Every morning, we will awaken to a glorious pre-dawn for breakfast, board the boats on their private dock and head down river and out to sea as the sun rises over the eastern cape. We will stay at sea for several hours each day and make multiple dives and snorkel sessions. How many, where and for how long depends entirely on the action.

This trip is not for the feint of heart, and to be honest, it’s not for every diver! ProDive asks that all divers are at least Advanced certified, with 50 logged dives and have dived within three months of the trip dates. You’ll be diving from semi-rigid fast boats in choppy seas and have to be ready to enter the water quickly and safely to keep up with the action! You also need to be comfortable diving temperate waters (59-70F/15-22C) and be experienced with drift diving. This is expedition diving. There are no ‘dive sites’ or morning lines, or down lines. There is no dive master to check your air or hold your hand. You will be back rolling into blue water. You need to be comfortable diving to 100ft. The underwater feeding action is chaotic. But, if you’re a confident diver with a passion for wildlife and adventure, I can’t think of a better diving experience.

And as if that wasn’t enough, we’ve also got a range of optional adventures you can tag onto the Sardine Run Adventure, like a safari in Kruger national park to see the Big 5… because when’s the next time you’ll be in South Africa?

If you want to join on us on this epic, once in a lifetime adventure, click the link to the brochure in the description of this video below. At the end of the brochure is the reservation form. Spaces are extremely limited, and booking closes at the end of 2020, so I wouldn’t wait! Also flights to South Africa are as cheap as I’ve ever seen them right now! We can’t wait to share this adventure with you all and in the meantime, D.S.D.O!
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The Sardine Run: 2021

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Meet James Blackman

With a career in diving spanning twenty years, James has seen a thing or two in the dive industry. James grew up on the Southwest coast of Britain and learned to dive in the frigid waters of the English Channel. If your first dives were like being placed in a cocktail shaker full of cabbage soup and you come away with a love for the sport, then you know it’s going to be a life-long pursuit.

James spent his twenties in the British merchant marine which afforded him the opportunity to travel to and dive in far flung locales… 177 countries and counting. Between stints onboard a variety of vessels, James used his shore leaves to level up his scuba training… Rescue diver in Tanzania, DM in Indonesia, Instructor in Honduras, Tec Instructor in the French West Indies.

His last ship before moving to a shore-based life style was an expedition ship where he notched up some of his most impressive dives, including briefly holding the world record for most northerly scuba dive… 82 degrees north in the Russian arctic; diving the Amazon river; the Antarctic; and virgin reef systems in Papua New Guinea and Melanesia.

Moving ashore in his early thirties, James took on the role of General Manager for a luxury dive operator in St Martin and never had a dull moment! Hollywood visited the island and called upon James’ underwater skills for on-set safety. When Cat-3 hurricane Gonzalo devastated the area, James switched hats to salvage and public safety diver to help with the recovery.

Scuba Diving has given so much to James in his life… and first on that list is his brilliant wife Karina whom he met whilst teaching her AOW class! Yes, that old cliché! James and Karina are also business partners and co-owners of two power-house scuba brands. Miami Technical Diving has become the premiere scuba training facility in South Florida. Tired of seeing other dive shops compete in a ‘race to the bottom,’ James decided his model for teaching scuba would focus on keeping the quality as high as possible; using the best gear possible; teaching beyond the minimum standards on a 1-to-1 student-to-instructor ratio. The fullness of the MTD training calendar shows that people – student divers – prefer to receive premium, quality tuition, as opposed to cheap and fast.

James is the personality and knowledge broker behind ‘Divers Ready!’ a super influential Scuba Diving YouTube channelwebsite and brand. In just a year, Divers Ready! has become the fastest growing You Tube channel in the Scuba Diving niche, with 1000s of new divers joining every month. Their weekly videos range from Mouthpiece Mondays – where James shares his insider knowledge and opinions about controversial topics in the dive industry – to practical ‘hints & tutorial’ style videos, all with one simple goal in mind – to make you a better diver!

James and Karina started small group luxury dive trips for the Divers Ready! audience.

James and Karina live in Miami, FL with their rambunctious dogs; Ziggy The Husky and Bonham the Mutt, and their Maine Coon cat Foxy, who remains unimpressed.