Pics: Amazing images as whales and dolphins attack giant ball of fish

(All pics: Barcroft Media)
(All pics: Barcroft Media)

Snapper Silke Schimpf, 47, captured the chaotic scenes during a marine tour of South Africa's Eastern Cape.

This amazing display was caused by the annual sardine run, where billions of small fish move north along the coast of the country.

Along with her husband Rainer, Silke captures a huge variety of hungry animals from land, sea and air feeding on the huge bait ball.

A bait ball is a swarm of fish which has joined together to protect themselves from predators.

Silke revealed that she found the torrent of feeding after following a pod of famished dolphins.

She said: "We watched a pod of common dolphins for about two hours along with hundreds of gannets.

"The fish were being chased by dolphins, whales and penguins from deep down to the surface of the water – meaning all all the predators could easily feed on them.

"The fish are pushed to the surface, as that is their only means of escape."

The pair witnessed birds, whales, sharks, dolphins and seals feeding from the bait ball, and within two-and-a-half hours there was no fish left.

Wildlife enthusiast Silke spoke about the experience of seeing a group of huge whales breaching the surface.

She said: "A special scene was when the Bryde’s whales went through the fish ball with their open mouths.

"It’s a very special and rare moment to see a 20 tonne marine mammal feeding close up, as whales are usually very shy.

"It’s always an unbeatable experience to be eye to eye with the most beautiful marine life."