Week two started with the same troubled weather of showers, storms and sunny periods all within the same few hours making our lives difficult and things almost impossible for our micro-light pilots. But after several days of no surveys we took a gamble and the intern team went out to the area where we had been successful at the end of the last week to look for sharks without aerial support.
Well the gamble paid off as we soon found several sharks surface feeding and in fact had 22 encounters with at least seven individual sharks….. who needs aircraft anyway? Among the sharks was a particularly large mail shark nick-named ‘Hooky’ due to the pronounce injury to his tail forming an almost perfect hook.
The very distinctive hook in 'Hooky's' tail, Photo Joe Daniels
The day also produced a number of oceanic mantas found near the whale sharks barrel rolling in the same patch of food…. So a very welcome addition to the afternoon’s activities.
Manta barrel rolling in the dense plankton, photo Ciara McCarten
Another big manta with a bunch of hitch-hiking remoras, Photo Sherrie Chambers
As the week drew to a close the weather finally broke as the rain and gusty winds moved North away from Seychelles allowing our pilots to make aerial surveys once again… Just as well as there were some reasonable numbers of sharks around Mahe for the team to work on! In fact pilot Johan recorded an impressive 42 individual sharks on the morning flight on Friday 10th of September, approaching the record for the Seychelles aerial survey programme of 38 sharks on the 13th of September 2002…
Perhaps this is going to be a season of new records??