So, when I started working with the RJ Dunlap Program, back when we were still the South Florida Student Shark Program, are team was essentially all girls, except for Dr. H and Capt. Curt… sorry guys! Now, we’ve brought in quite a couple of our male counterparts, and yes, it has proved a great advantage and they have added IMMENSELY to our program BUT can I just say how awesome it was for us to dominate not only a usual 46ft scuba boat but a brand-spankin’ new 61ft beaut our wonderful Capt. Curt has provided us with? The lovely ladies of Our Lady of Lourdes High School, an all girls private school, and Miss Sara Brenes, local Shark Saver (doing some incredible things in the world of shark advocacy) were here to join us today, allowing us to truly strut our girl power.
Everyone was incredible. Everyone helped pull up lines, everyone worked fast, efficiently and correctly on every endeavor of the day. It was truly AWESOME. I’ve had the pleasure of working with these girls last year when we did an overnight trip to Broad Key, but I was honestly surprised at how much they remembered, not only of their duties to be performed that day, but the array of knowledge of our current research they had collected since last time. So today, yes, everyone was on top of they’re game. Some girls even got on top of their shark… Needless to say, we did get some bites.
Our first, a great hammerhead, 200 cm in total length, an absolute beauty. Next we caught 2 nurse sharks, which is great as we can explain the difference between these type of sharks and others, allowing for hand on demonstrations of their different types of scales, etc. Lastly, we caught a cute little blacknose, 140 cm. I always love catching those guys. Sampling was done with the ease of a well-oiled machine and it’s no wonder we were all smiles even after a long hard-working day!
Virginia Ansaldi, RJD lab manager