There’s nothing special about a single or even a few sardines but the magic happens when sardines gather in mind-boggling numbers. Imagine a massive ball of sardines floating underwater. It’s a phenomenal sight that many people dream of witnessing. This incredible biomass takes place every year from mid-October to the end of November along the coast of Baja California. Baja Shark Experience invites adventure seekers, wildlife photographs, and nature enthusiasts with previous snorkeling or freediving experience to witness this thrilling event.
Massive bait ball
The annual sardine run is like a party invitation that attracts predators looking for a good meal. Pelagic species like the mighty marlins, dolphins, sharks, and seals are among the first to RSVP to this highly anticipated event. Whales and orcas may also join the marine banquet.
The fish knows that there is safety in numbers. A single fish swimming in the water becomes an easy target but swimming in a huge group increases the chances of survival. As a defense mechanism, the fish huddle tighter and form a massive bait ball to minimize the odds of being picked out by predators.
Dancing shimmery mass
The fish are very sensitive to the slightest change in water pressure. When one fish moves, the shoal reacts as if on cue. Watching the glistening fish move in harmony is truly mesmerizing. The fish seem to function as one fluid shimmery mass that reacts to any stimulus in their environment. The bait ball pulsates and gyrates underwater like a dancing blob. It’s almost like watching an underwater ballet. Describing it as incredible is quite an understatement.
Predators making their move
Predators that come to take advantage of the sea smorgasbord circle around the shoal. When the first attack is launched, the frenzy begins. Some predators may go after small pockets of fish that become isolated from the shoal because of the commotion. As more predators come, the bait ball is targeted from below and above. The action-packed feeding frenzy is a bucket list-worthy experience.
It’s amazing how the predators ignore each other. After all, they didn’t come all the way to the scene to pick a fight among other predators. The reason for their journey is to indulge in a feast.
Witness this event first hand
Reading about this marine life gathering on an unfathomable scale is not enough to satisfy the adventurous spirit. If you want to witness the actual event unfold, you can join Baja Shark Experience’s Marlins Expeditions (The Mexican Sardine Run).
Our trip is designed to give snorkelers the opportunity to see this annual marine phenomenon that takes place a couple of miles off Bahía Magdalena. We will take you where the action is to enjoy the astonishing sardine run and see the big star of the feast – the marlins. These strikingly beautiful fish stand out with its elongated body and rounded spear that stretches from the snout. Watch them in action as they attack the giant bait ball with precision and grace. The sound of the attack ripples in the water and it gets calm for a few minutes until the next predator decides to make a go for it. Then the frenzy starts all over again.