Monday, September 1, 2008

The Fun Begins!

The training week is well underway and our interns are all shaping up remarkably well. All of the interns had done their ‘homework’ which was reading through a potted history of the whale shark and current areas of research that David had prepared for them as a little light bed-time reading before they came to Seychelles, and so they were at least somewhat aware of what they were about to get immersed in!

The team did well both with their introduction to the data handling with Katie Brooks and also the first of the in-water skill building tasks with Luke Riley. Luke had pressed in to service one of the aerial survey target whale sharks as an in-water photo ID target and the interns soon became adept at free-diving down to take its ID photograph at a depth of 5 m. Once everyone was up to speed on that they moved on to using the laser size ranging system to capture images with a half-metre reference to allow accurate sizing by photo analysis…. So far so good but how would they get on with a real shark?

If this wasn’t enough fun, microlight pilot David Daniel started to introduce them to the sights and sounds of aerial survey around Seychelles, as well as finding a few whale sharks in the process. And yes that meant that we just had to go and see some sharks, especially as some of the interns had never seen a whale shark before.

Assisted by Luke, pilot David located a single shark off the South of Mahe for the team to go out and put into practise all the skills they had learned during the last week, and yes it all worked!

Enter stage left a young male shark that was somewhat shy and preferred to stay some 10 metres or so below the surface….. However, Katie captured his photo ID and the team diligently ran the photos through I3S and discovered he was in fact a repeat visitor from last year, seen on September 23rd and October 1st off the North West of Mahe. At that time he had been measured with a tape measure and found to be 6.8 metres in length…..

Not a bad result for the interns’ first exposure to a real shark!

1 comment:

Johan said...

Hey! Great write up of the action. :-) Hope fully you will have all the glitches sorted before I get my turn! And by the way, while you guys are lapping up the sun, warm water and FLAT water, bear a thought for us as Monday the 1st we were bombarded by 10 meter swels. (Yes, thats ten meter swels!) Good thing I have a neck brace on else I might just have been tempted to haul out my big wave board!

Keep posting!