No-one has immersed themselves in this year’s sardine run on the South Coast quite like four-time South African freediving champion, Beth Neale.
This year’s sardine run has been the greatest in recent memory and Neale was literally in the middle of the phenomenon on Monday, swimming with millions of the silver fish and tons of sharks near Scottburgh.
Neale shared breath-taking footage of her dive in the heart of a stunning shoal on social media.
The African continental ‘no fins’ record holder (164 feet/50 metres) was a picture of cool on camera but admitted afterwards, “It’s intimidating freediving down into the shoal. Once you penetrate through the top layer, they reform above and block out the sun so everything goes dark.
“And then there’s also hundreds of sharks swimming through the shoal feeding, so they will nearly bump into you as they fly though! Luckily, they only have one thing on their mind – sardine snacks.
“The sardines are an important part of the ocean food chain, and the human one. While I was marvelling at the indescribable abundance of sardines underwater, thousands of South Africans were gathered on the beaches filling their shirts, bags, pockets and hands with sardines overfilling the nets!”
She ended the video with a truly fitting final comment, which perhaps best encapsulated her unbelievable experience, saying with complete awe, “Millions of sardines…the Greatest Shoal on Earth. NOW I understand why it’s called that.”