Saturday, October 23, 2010
Today was another beautiful day out on the water, and I was glad to be out. It was my first day back in a few months thanks to paper writing. We had St. Thomas Aquinas with us today, fifteen students and two very dedicated teachers. We also had a guest researcher with us, Christine Paige-Ward.
Despite the potential for poor weather later in the day (which never deters the shark team), we started off on-time and with fair skies. Our first site had a few more ripples than normal, but nothing too difficult to handle. Unfortunately the tide was slack. That meant that even with ten baits in the water, the scent was not going to go far. Within that first set, we caught one blacktip shark that was about 1.2 meters in length. The small shark was actually missing a small part of its caudal (tail) fin! We have caught much larger hammerhead sharks in the same area which are known to feed on blacktips. It may be that this shark just missed being someone else’s meal!
After a quick lunch and a ride to a new location, we put in two full sets much closer back to base. While we were putting the first set in, some clouds rolled in on us and poured a little bit of rain. Thankfully, the shark team is always prepared – we pulled out our rain gear and worked right through it. Actually, it was a nice little reprieve from the heat of the day. Unfortunately, the low pressure that had brought the rain seemed to have also spooked almost all the sharks away. At least we did catch another blacktip, a little bit bigger at just shy of 1.6 meters. We also saw a few popped hook timers, but nothing was attached at the other end of the line.
Despite a slow day and a little bit of rain, it was very fun. As always, it is awesome getting a chance to see the sharks – even “just two.” Thanks to St. Thomas Aquinas for coming out and helping us bring the vibe, I hope you guys had a blast.