When Nature is Uncooperative…

[Aug 19, 2010]

I wish I could say that today went without too many kinks, but to say so would be dishonest.  However, the troubles the team faced today were not due to their sloppiness or negligence, but to mother nature wanting to do things her way!

The day was another scorcher, if Virginia though it was hot yesterday, she should have been there today.  No breeze and faint cloud cover offered anyone relief.  Just a little reminder of the power of the sun… The team dropped 10 drumlines in the water and greatly anticipated the swim break after lunch.

The group takes a time out during lunch to beat the heat. (click to enlarge)

After a short swim and some delicious lunch, the team climbed aboard and anxiously awaited to check the lines.  As the boat was cruising towards the anticipated drumline locations, several of the drumlins had been moved far off their mark.

The first drum line was hauled in with the help of several South Broward students.  Dr. Hammerschlag pulled in the first line, which seemed to be something rather large.  After fighting the line for about 15 minutes the catch was hauled aboard- it was an old rope that had become entangled on the hook.  Though it seemed like a disappointment, several students had fun examining the rope for marine creatures like crabs and shrimp.

A small crab found while examining the old rope brought up on one of the drumlines (click to enlarge)

Because the current was getting strong and the drumlines moving apart, each drumline was brought in and stowed.   After yanking in each float line and fighting strong current, line after line was coming up empty, a slight disappointment, especially after all the hard work that went into setting them out.  But on the fifth line brought in, there was a reminder of the power of nature.  A large male bullshark appeared and the team worked quickly to secure him.  The male shark was large enough to secure a satellite tag on his dorsal.   The team named the shark John, after the gracious satellite tag donator.  See Jon’s movements under the tracking section of our website (https://www.sharkresearch.rsmas.miami.edu/learning-tools/follow-sharks/track-jon.html)!

The interns secure Jon the Bull Shark while the satellite tag is attached to his dorsal (click to enlarge)

After tagged, the shark swam away proudly and the team’s buzzed with excitement.  After equipment was retrieved, the team headed back in.  Though no other sharks were caught, the team was reminded by the power of nature both by element and beast.

Until next time shark friends,

Laura Rock

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