Coast KZN

07 Jul 2018

Whale in distress survives sharks in Umdloti

Arthi Gopi (Independent on Saturday) Picture: Survivor: A whale breaks free of nets at the Umdloti main beach.

Umdloti resident and professional photographer Jonathan Greenway made a quick dash to the main beach on Friday when he saw a whale in distress.

The whale was entangled in shark nets, and sharks had circled, trying to attack it.

“I made my way to the beach with my drone and started taking video footage and still images of what was happening. Many people noticed the activity and were watching it too,” said Greenway.

The incident happened at about midday on Friday, and lasted about an hour.

“My battery was running low while recording, and in the time it took me to change it and send the drone back out, I managed to catch the whale breaking free of the nets. It was an amazing sight,” said Greenway.

KZN Sharks Board operations manager Greg Thompson said: “We were informed of the incident and sent our staff out in boats to inspect. By the time the staff arrived at the nets, the whale had already broken free. The nets were subsequently lifted, as we also heard some indication of sardine activity in the area but that cannot be confirmed.”

Thompson said the sardine run this year had been one of the most exciting in years.

“The latest sightings of sardines has been near Pennington and Sezela. People said there were sharks and dolphins and game fish in tow as well. It’s been incredible.

“We don’t know why the sardines have not made it past Amanzimtoti as yet. They were seen there last Saturday. Hopefully if the water isn’t too rough they will come towards Durban,” he said.

The annual run was a good attraction and spectacle for visitors, especially those down for the Durban July weekend.

“If I would bet, I’d say the sardines would make an appearance in the Scottburgh area this weekend,” he joked.

Shark safety gear, including nets and drum lines, have been lifted between Anstey’s Beach and Port Edward, so swimming is not allowed.