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Underwater painting of Gannets diving on baitball

82cm x 61cm
Oil on board

This is an underwater painting of gannets diving on a bait ball. The sardine run is a natural spectacle occuring in the winter months in South Africa when millions of small fishes feed on the nutrients carried by the cold water currents flowing along the African coast.
The shoals of sardines can spread over several kilometers and this enormous food bank attracts many predators. Aerobatic gannets divebomb the shoals when they are close to the surface and the ball of sardines is also preyed upon by dolphins, seals, sharks, tuna and even whales.

The gannet has remarkable eyesight and can dive in freefall from as high as 30 -40 meters, entering the water at 80km/hour and reaching depths of up to 15 meters.The gannet then returns immediately back to the surface.This underwater painting of gannets shows them at the maximum depth of their dive in a feeding frenzy on the bait ball.

Gannets are colonial breeders on islands and coasts, normally laying one chalky-blue egg. They lack brood patches and use their webbed feet to warm the eggs. They reach maturity around 5 years of age. First-year birds are completely black, and subsequent subadult plumages show increasing amounts of white.