Even in the wild they like to pack in together! Amazing photos show divers interacting with shoal of sardine

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A huge shoal of sardines surrounded unsuspecting diver in seas off the Philippines allowing them to capture amazing picture of a breathtaking natural phenomenon.

The shoal was captured on camera by Nadya Kulagina on the last dive of her trip off the coast of the small Pescador Island which is close to Cebu in centre of the South East Asian country.

The magnificent spectacle, known as a sardine run, sees the silver fish swimming in tight formation to create a shimmering wall of fish during their annual migration to warmer waters.

Breathtaking: The huge schoal of sardines surrounds a diver as the fish swirl through the water in their thousands near Pescador Island in the PhilippinesBreathtaking: The huge schoal of sardines surrounds a diver as the fish swirl through the water in their thousands near Pescador Island in the Philippines

The run happens in the region from May through to July when billions of sardines spawn in the cool waters of southern Africa and move north along the east coast and into the Indian Ocean.

Ms Kulagina, who is from Kazakhstan, said: ‘We were exploring the abundance of marine life – frog fish, moray eels, octopi, sea snakes when suddenly the sky grew dark as if overcast with unexpected clouds.

‘I looked up and there were thousands, no millions of sardines moving as one organism. Their moving mass was blocking the sun turning day into night. It was so mesmerising that everyone froze to watch the monster in action.’

Overhead: The migrating fish gather over the head of a diver in the Philippines coming together in thick clouds that are dense enough to block out the sunOverhead: The migrating fish gather over the head of a diver in the Philippines coming together in thick clouds that are dense enough to block out the sun

Phenomenon: The sardines swirl through the sea in their thousands every year as the migrate from the seas off South Africa to the Indian OceanPhenomenon: The sardines swirl through the sea in their thousands every year as the migrate from the seas off South Africa to the Indian Ocean

In unison: The sardines swim in their thousands around a diver creating a wave like shape in the sea near the small Pescador Island in the PhilippinesIn unison: The sardines swim in their thousands around a diver creating a wave like shape in the sea near the small Pescador Island in the Philippines

One of Nadya’s photographs looks like the sardines have taken on the form of a whale, while others depict the sardines in a whirlwind like formation.

She said: ‘We would swim into the shoal and lose track of reality not being able to tell which way was the sky or the seabed. The shoal was so powerful it kept pulling us down and further off course.

‘I was trying hard not to lose sense of direction. It also kept changing shapes, one minute it would open wide and the next shrink into a tight ball.’

The sardine run is happens when the fish migrate to a better breeding ground with more food such as plankton. They travel together for protection, but their size of the run mean predators often enjoy a feeding frenzy.

Sight: Two divers admiring nature at work as the shoal of sardines rear up together into thick cyclone shaped clouds as they swim packed in tightly togetherSight: Two divers admiring nature at work as the shoal of sardines rear up together into thick cyclone shaped clouds as they swim packed in tightly together

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