The first day of the season (Monday 30th August) got off to a good start with a total of 10 in-water encounters with potentially 8 sharks in the Conception Channel off NW Mahe. This was also the first day we were able to get our microlight aircraft into the air, so all was good....
Eager team members waiting for the next encounter
Interestingly, the sharks all seemed to be quite big, but that may just be because the team had got use to the smaller Djibouti sharks, but the laser measurements will give us the actual sizes.
Photo-identification was a bit challenging as the visibility wasn't great making the distinction of whale shark spots difficult from floating plankton particles, but the team were soon on it and are currently working the sharks through I3S. So far of the 10 sharks six have been run through the system giving us 3 resighted sharks and 3 new sharks.
Of the resighted sharks one was a male 2001 shark (Sey.2001.008) originally nick-named Acoustic 4 as he had an Acoustic tag attached previously. This is the fifth year he has been seen since 2001 and makes him currently the shark who has remained in the aggregation the longest period (10 years).
Sey.2001.008 (Acoustic 4) is now our longest resident shark in the Seychelles aggregation
The second shark matched was another male shark first recorded on the 6th of June 2008 (Sey.2008.002) in adjacent Bay Ternay Marine National Park and only seen once in that year, so seems to be an early season visitor.
The third shark resighted was Sey.2008.017, also a male shark, who was first recorded on the 19th of September 2008, South of Therese Island (about 3 km from where he was seen this time); this shark was similarly only seen once during the 2008 season...
Sey.2008.017 was the second single visit shark recorded on day one
So the season is definitley off to a good start and the interns are getting right into the swing of things...