Saturday, February 26th 2011
It was Saturday morning, the sun was shining and the weather was warm. No school was assigned to go out with RJD today so it was a good time for us interns to collect data, discuss the track of the research up to date, and do a little bonding.
The destination for the day’s trip was Hawk’s Channel. We deployed the first set of drumlines in record timing, for the interns putting out the lines is second nature. Being that we thus all had a little time to spare, we decided to go for a relaxing swim in the clear turquoise Florida water. It was a fun and relaxing time in the water despite the Portuguese Man o’ Wars, but even they could not stop us from enjoying a nice swim.
After we all had a chance to get in the water and have a little fun, we were off to pick up the first set of drumlines. The first shark to be caught was a nurse shark and subsequently thereafter we caught a great hammerhead shark. It was an amazing catch for the interns and the program. We secured the 8 foot shark along the back of the boat where we attached a satellite tag, gathered measurements, and collected a fin clip.
After retrieving the remainder of drumlines, we rebaited and reset a second set. During the wait and regardless of the Man o’ Wars, we could not resist the beautiful weather conditions, so we went for another swim, something we don’t usually get to do given our time constraints and the liability involved when we have students onboard. It was nice to be able to get in the water and especially lucky to be able to do it twice.
When we picked up the second set of drumlines we found that we had caught three more nurse sharks. We released the nurses without bringing them aboard, as we regularly try to due some because they have proven somewhat troublesome to deal with. After we collected the second set of drumlines we put out a third round, but came out empty handed. In total for the day we had caught 4 nurse sharks and 1 great hammerhead. In the interns’ opinions, including my own, the day was a great success. Relaxing, exciting, and also a great bonding experience.
James Komisarjevsky, RJD Intern