Do sardines make noises?

No, not what I heard of. That was my reply after 2 dives with them… Until today. Well, one sardine doesn’t make any noise, but when a school of them move in ultra speed in perfect synchrony, the sound is as mesmerizing as a turbo charged engine whirring. And the driver? A school of Jack fish. It went on and on during our 70 minutes under water.

Last week, during a impromptu drinking session, Nick asked if I want to join him for a short diving trip to get away from work. I quickly agreed, but pointed out that I wanted to check out the ‘poor man’s sardine run’. The actual sardine run in Africa is a dream for most divers, but the cost and travel can be quite a pain. Less than 4 hours from Singapore, we have Moalboal in Cebu, Philippines. It’s not exactly a sardine run like the ones in Africa, but it’s as close as you get to one around the region. There were no whales, no dolphins, no sharks nor seals. But if like me, sardines is all you care for now, this is perfect.

Millions of them, stretching approximately 100-200m and 50m wide stays permanently along the shores of Moalboal. They are literally 10m away from the shore. You don’t even need to dive to see them. The performance began the moment we dropped into the water. Millions of them moving in unison, somewhat orchestrated by our presence and bubbles we produce. Slow at times, but at some point, you feel tension, literally by watching them. Moving quickly in synchrony, as if something happened. Then we realized, predators were round the corner. Within seconds, a school of 30-40 Jacks came close. They were swimming right at us and started their attack on the sardines. The Symphony of sardines seem to kick into high gear and they moved in speeds so fast that we could hear the swishing sounds. They came in again and again. But unlike those scenes you see on National Geographic, they were not as efficient hunters as dolphins or sharks. It was still an electrifying performance.

Well, the bad part was, my mini dome port flooded again. So I had to leave my camera on the boat. Surprisingly, I didn’t even miss shooting it. It was just great to witness it. Now, let’s hope they will put up a good show again tomorrow.

Alright, off for my next dive now. Another adventure awaits.