by Emily Rose Nelson, RJD student
After collecting gear from RSMAS I met up with the rest of the team at the dock of divers paradise. We had a great crew on board and everyone was excited to get out there. Our guests for the day, students from the Aventura City of Excellence School, made their way on board and immediately I could feel their excitement. There definitely was something in the air telling me it was going to be a great day on the water.
We were fishing at a sight our team has nicknamed “Sandbar Palace.” It is a deep reef, known for being very productive; the first trip ever at this site landed 10 sandbar sharks. The crew was hoping today would continue to prove this site worth the extra effort pulling up deep lines.
Before the drumlines even completed their first one-hour soak time Captain Eric called the team up. He had seen one of our buoys moving around, which is likely a sign of a shark being on the line. We quickly motored over to drumline number 6 and started to pull the line in. Sure enough, we had a big nurse shark! The team safely brought the shark onboard and performed a quick work up procedure. The students from Aventura were great helpers and all had a chance to see the shark up close.
It wasn’t long before we had another shark on! This time, we pulled up a beautiful sandbar shark (the species this site is named after). Sandbars are one of my favorite species because of their beautiful coloring and big eyes. Our team restrained the shark so we could collect measurements, tissue and blood samples, and tag the animal.
As the day went on we managed to catch 5 more nurse sharks and another sandbar shark- a total of 9 sharks for the day. Blistered hands and shark burned legs are a sign of a great day, Sandbar Palace definitely did not disappoint!