South Africa: Barren Seas - Once-Teeming Waters Off KwaZulu-Natal Show Few Signs of Ocean Life

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The limited shark presence on a recent 'crazy, wild' Indian ocean adventure is a great worry.

On the day I joined world-record holder Sarah Ferguson for day four of a seven-day ocean swim along KwaZulu-Natal's North Coast, the Durban Weather Bureau issued a warning: gale-force winds and rough seas. The trees bent with the strain. The sea frothed, white horses galloped in all directions. Blythedale beach was deserted, not a single fisherman in sight.

Stray cats foraged in the litter in the carpark. A group of Philocaly Trail walkers, setting off on another leg of a 140km coastal walk from Durban to Mtunzini, picked up the rubbish.

Philocaly is ancient Greek for "love of beauty". The word is tattooed upon the upper torso of Nikki Williamson -- a 41-year-old finance recruiter who organised the event.

Gannets, which can hit the water at more than 100km/h in a dive, are seriously affected by plastic pollution when feeding. The record for the most amount of plastic found in a 90-day-old gannet chick is 276 pieces. (Photo: Linda Ness / View more: @linda.ness.pix)

In addition to raising funds for ocean conservation, the trail creates awareness about the decisions we make, "particularly for people...

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