By Megan Piechowski, RJD Intern
My excitement for this trip grew all weekend through my 3 back to back trips Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I knew this Sunday trip would sadly be my last for the semester, and planned to make the best of it. It was a RJD packed weekend, including attending a fellow RJD teammate, Austin Gallagher’s exciting event: Beneath the Waves Film Fest the night before our trip. Through 2 previous days of fishing in the same general location near Stiltsville off Key Biscayne, I anticipated it to be a great day. By the end of the day I was sure it was one of the top three trips I’ve ever been on. Due to some time constraints on Sunday we had planned to deploy only half of the amount of lines. Austin brought 2 accelerometers that day, which are used to collect data of how the shark is fighting the line after being hooked. Fortunately, the second line we pulled in that day was a great use of this technology as it had the biggest bull shark I’ve ever seen on the other end. After securing this beautifully massive fish a satellite tag was attached to its dorsal fin, and it was safely released back into the waters of South Florida.
Following this enormous shark were 5 more sharks, one of which was another large bull that was also satellite tagged and safely released. The other 4 sharks consisted of two large nurses, a large blacktip, and a blacknose!
The team of RJD members on this trip worked like a dream together as everything ran perfectly smoothly. When all 15 lines had been collected, we returned to the Seaquarium dock. While reflecting on our sudden wave of exhaustion we realized we had accomplished a huge feat of fishing, and it was only 11:45 in the morning! While I will miss my friends and family of RJD this was definitely an amazing trip to end an incredible semester of Shark Research on!