Hello 2011, Let the Fun Begin!

Friday, January 28th 2011

I think I can safely say that today’s trip was one of the “freshest” trips I have been on in a while. New interns, new school, new characteristics on the sharks we caught, and some pleasant Florida weather for a change all sparked my enthusiasm and the enthusiasm of everyone on board. I’m pretty sure even Captain Carol gave her safety speech with a little more gusto than usual!

Everyone on board was amped for the trip and ready to learn and absorb all the skills we were about to need. Robbie and Andrew…or should I say Steve and Larry (as Capt. Curt preferred) were along for their first trip as RJD interns, and although I would love to call them out on their newbie skills, I have to give them props for falling seamlessly into our chaotic routine.  There were a few students with us from Miami-Dade College, and they too caught on quickly to our running about and readily translated the shaking of our hands behind us to: “Would someone mind handing me the biopsy tool?” and “Pass me the bolt cutters!”

Miami Dade College students amped to be out with the RJD team. Awesome work guys! Click to enlarge.

All the fresh blood on board proved to be good luck for our fishing endeavor. We caught 12 sharks in total- 2 bulls, 1 black tip, and 9 lemons. We even put a satellite tag on one of the bulls – Dr. V (named after the environmental program director at Miami-Dade College North Campus)!  We pulled in a couple interesting lemon sharks too; one appeared to have cataracts in both its eyes, and another one’s eye had been punctured sometime earlier and was healing. With all the new faces on board, this really was a trip of the blind chasing the blind. The lemon shark with the punctured eye was also extremely dark, which we assumed to be from excessive exposure to the sun in shallow waters, and had a deformed left pectoral fin. If only sharks could talk, I am sure this one would have some stories to tell.

It was an amazing trip and a great start to this semester of trips, and I’m sure we all have plenty of shark trip stories of our own to tell.

Ashley Schenk (RJD intern)

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