Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Boys Are Back In Town!

While many of you won’t know the lyrics of this immortal Thin Lizzy track, heralding back to 1976 (or even who Thin Lizzy was) for those of us old enough to remember it’s a very pertinent song! And no we weren’t referring to the arrival of the Chris Clarke and Dan Beecham from our main sponsor, the Save Our Seas Foundation, although that would probably be fitting as well, we were actually referring to the return to Seychelles of several whale sharks we have seen in previous years!

UT06-088 has been seen every year since 2005, and so is a regular to whatever version of Dino's bar & grill Seychelles has to offer! Photo Katie Brooks

Thanks to the wonders of I3S (or IRIS to us old-timers), this spot-matching computer programme that has revolutionised whale shark identification has helped us and our team of whale shark monitoring interns to be far more productive in assessing the sharks seen around Seychelles. Pretty much every shark we get in the water with has its photo taken and within 24 hours the interns have its I3S identity produced for comparison to every other shark we have photographed here in Seychelles, and then later on it is compared to every whale shark ID’d from Mozambique and Ningaloo, Western Australia…. The marvel of computer ‘Free-ware’ programmes!!

So far this year we have had a total of 16 sharks re-sighted from previous years and by September 22nd of 14 sharks identified, 7 had been photographed in previous years. As most of our sharks are young juvenile males “The Boys Are Back In Town” seems even more apt, although they don’t hang out at Dino’s bar and grill, unless Dino serves plankton by the bucket load!

Of these seven resightings, one shark had previously been seen in 2005, 2006 and 2007; four sharks had been seen in both 2006 and 2007; one in 2005 and 2006, and the last shark had been previously identified in 2003…..

Was this 'the broad who slapped Johhny's face' ? S302 is one of our few females, first seen in 2003 and resighted this September; photo Richard Berry

So it seems that although the season is being somewhat slow compared to previous years, we are getting a lot of site-faithful sharks coming back… lets hope we can find a few compliant ones for Chris and Dan and keep them away from Dino’s!

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