by Nick Perni, RJD Intern
Saturday, April 20th, 2013
Saturday’s trip out of Islamorada was one to remember. Our guests were members of UM’s Marine science honor society Rho Rho Rho. Since their last trip yielded no sharks, the pressure was on to give our fellow classmates an up close encounter to the oceans top predator. On our way out to the reef Rho Rho Rho made sure to let us know just how disappointing it was to not catch a single shark on their previous trip.
When we arrived at the reef we set our drum lines and assured our guests that this would be a more successful trip than their last. After an hour of letting the drums soak we began to pick up our lines. In no time we were hauling up sharks. Our first was a scalloped hammerhead. The students clamored at the stern of the boat knowing too well that this could be their only chance of the day to see a shark. But the day was far from over.
Line after line came up with a shark and our guests were entirely engaged in the tagging and work-up process. By the end of the day we had caught eight sharks. Five were Hammerheads ranging from 9-13 ft (including 3 Scalloped and 2 Great Hammerheads), a new RJD record for Hammerheads caught on a single trip! The other three included two Sandbar sharks between 6 & 7 ft and one 7½ ft Bull shark. This was a spectacular trip for everyone aboard the
R/V Endsley, RJD was able to deploy two satellite tags and Rho Rho Rho finally got their lucky break. Upon our return to shore multiple interns agreed this was the best trip they had ever been on and I’m pretty sure our guests would agree.