Friday, April 10, 2009

First whale sharks of 2009 on April Fools day!

Regular visitor to Seychelles Frank Eichler thought that he was having his leg pulled when on a dive trip to Marianne and Felicite islands the crew shouted whale shark…. It was April 1st and the season for ‘Poisson D’Avril’ after all!

However, on getting closer there was not just one whale shark but four! The sharks were circling and feeding occasionally on the patchy plankton in the area.

Frank and fellow divers were soon in the water and frank knew which areas he needed to photograph to get an ID shot, having been out with MCSS in previous seasons.

On his return to Mahe he visited Dive Seychelles with his camera to download his images for Katie and the MCSS team to analyse and straightaway Katie recognised one of the sharks as being a ‘regular’.

The I3S analysis confirmed that one was indeed an old regular UT06-063 ( a 7 m male) who has been sighted every year since 2006; one of the other sharks was definitely new while the other two we are working on the videos for a suitable frame for identification.

April 1st is very early for whale sharks to be seen around Seychelles and so the team are wondering if the sharks are going to be coming in early this year?

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