Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Tension builds for the interns...

Another self introduction from one of our interns, James Tutty

Hi I’m James, I’m 30 years old and from London. I arrived on the MCSS monitoring program just over a week a go. I don’t have much of a marine science background but have always been interested in the sea and am quite a keen scuba diver.

This is my second time in the Seychelles this year as I also came in April and completed a ten week marine life conservation project with Global Vision International which is an NGO which carries out research on fish and coral species diversity and population in the area.

I heard about MCSS on that previous trip and it seemed like an exciting opportunity to learn about these majestic creatures. The prospect of spending more time here doing diving and flying in a microlight was also appealing.

During the first week we have been practicing a mix of water and office based skills which we will be using once the whale shark season begins properly. For the office based skills we have been learning how to record the data we need and where to input it, as well as using the IRIS software which ID’s whale sharks from the placement of their spot which act as a kind of fingerprint for them. We have also learnt about downloading the GPS data from the aerial monitoring flights and inputting the observations of the pilot.

We have also gone into the water most days and practiced our free-diving and swimming at the speed we can expect whale sharks to travel. On Friday and Saturday the microlight was able to survey around the island and our pilot David Daniel spotted a whale shark for us which we were able to locate and photograph confirming it as one that was seen last year.

All in all it’s been an exciting week. Yesterday I got an opportunity to go up in the microlight with the pilot to survey for whale sharks. We managed to see six hammerhead sharks, numerous turtles and shoals of fish. I am looking forward to the coming weeks!

Photo: Pilot David Daniel preps the micro-light ready for the aerial survey around the island.

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