Friday, June 17th 2011
Summer sharking season has finally begun! With calm seas, a bright blue sky, and a good group, the RJD team was destined for a good time. It was the first excursion for two of our new interns, Stacey and Evan, as well as for the group of energetic home-schoolers and their parents from a Deering Estate educational program. The team left the dock from the Keys Marine Laboratory and headed out to Hawks Channel in hopes of catching and tagging a variety of sharks. One of the students aboard, coincidently fashioned with my great name (Andrew), was supplied with “lucky” goldfish crackers to lure sharks to the boat… we hoped his plan would succeed.
Despite the beautiful conditions, the bite was slow and we were only able to convince three nurse sharks to eat our fresh bait. Although everyone has their own opinions about nurse sharks, they are the ideal sharks to teach new interns the sampling process. The first nurse shark was only a total length of 120 cm and provided a great first shark for the team and students to work with. The next two nurse sharks were 244 cm and 229 cm and each had the honor of having a swim date with Captain Curt as he handled the sharks from within the water.
Although the sharking was slow, you can never complain about a day on the water—especially with a great group of people truly pumped up about shark conservation!