Intern Tori Kentner, a graduate of York college of Pennsylvania, takes up the posting today with her take on a very interesting afternoon....
Yesterday was 'nautical'!
It started at 8am in the office, working up the data, and reliving the thrills from the previous day. After writing up sheets and using I3S to photo ID the sharks we realized we had 9 encounters with 6 different sharks. As exciting as that was it was time to gear up and get on the boat for another day of whale sharking.
For the last few weeks we have been taking out one boat but on this lucky day a group of Norwegian navy men chartered a second boat for themselves. For us interns this was great news because it meant that we would all be on the boat and very busy.
With our pilot Johan circling over head we made our way to find whale sharks. I was on the boat with the navy men and we were particularly lucky because we had a few large male whale sharks nearby. On a few occasions the sharks came up to the boat right on the surface, impressing us with their size and giving everyone aboard a great view.
Near the end of the trip Luke was leading a group with one shark and a second swam by the boat so I quickly suited up and jumped in the water taking the rest of the snorkelers with me. I was both excited and nervous. It was my first time being totally responsible for getting all the science done and also taking care of the clients. I quickly took an ID shot of the right side, sexed the shark and counted the remoras and pilot fish.
Before I could get around to the left to take an ID photo my shark and Luke’s shark met up in a whale shark sandwich. Luke’s larger shark swam over top of my shark wrapping its pectoral fins around it giving it what could be described as a hug. Everyone watching seemed to be in total awe of what was happening. Both sharks soon dove and swam out of sight and the amount of excited chatter back on the boat was intense.
Thinking the day couldn’t get any better we soon got news from Johan that there were two adult humpback whales and a calf swimming in the area.
As we watched the whales a peacefulness came over the boat interrupted only by “oohs and aahs” as the whales slowly porpoise. Both boats watched the whales swim and porpoise for about a half hour before we had to call an end to a great day.
..........ToriP.S. Hi Mom!