Friday, January 7, 2011

Happy New Year & Djibouti 2011… week 1!

First of all a HAPPY NEW YEAR to all our readers!

We hope that 2011 brings you peace and success in your endeavours!

Our apologies for the break in posts over the last few months, overseas travel and a personal bereavement rather overtook things but we should be back up to speed from now.

Its’ January and the first week of our Djibouti field season has just been successfully completed, so there is a lot to tell you about . The first week has been pretty hectic with lots of whale sharks, thousands of swimming crabs and some of the most unusual whale-shark monitoring apparel to date, not to mention a film crew from French TV…

Abi’s view just before launch….will these socks set new trends in whale shark attire?

As such, I’m happy to introduce the first post of 2011 from Ciara McCarten, one of our team leaders in the Gulf of Tadjourah monitoring one of the most intriguing aggregations of whale sharks discovered so far!


The first week of 2011 Djibouti expedition got started with a roaring success. On the 31st December at 12 noon we were all set ready to go and desperate to get on to Deli our boat for a week spent chasing whale sharks around Djibouti waters. W

A young Djibouti whale shark with attendant yellow pilot fish, photo David Robinson

We had a great group this week and everyone was extremely eager to participate as much as possible so all we had to do was find some sharks which as always in Djibouti was not difficult, and as soon as we anchored up just outside of Arta bay we were off on our first afternoon session. It took only a few minutes of searching before we saw the dorsal fins popping out of the water and then the mayhem began with everyone desperate to get in the water and the team leaders desperately trying to remind people to take separator shots so that the evenings work would not become a photo sorting disaster.

So after a few hours spent chasing sharks and a great deal of excitement it was time to head back to the boat and settle in for a few new year celebratory drinks and a great big chocolate cake much to mine and Abi’s pleasure. Although we did manage to stay awake to ring in the new year with a toast and a few photos if was off to bed soon after as we all wanted to be fit and ready for the next day.

SO the week went on in traditional Djibouti manner with lots of shark chasing, ID pictures, biopsy samples, masses of swimming crabs and a film crew which possibly slowed down the science on mine and Gareth’s boat but was an experience all the same.

Size matters in the competition for food, or was it to get in the photo? Image David Robinson

Dr David even performed for the cameras while putting out a satellite tag on a small 4.5m male swimming in Arta bay area so we will be interested to see where this sharks heads off to after we leave Djibouti, as he has been spotted for the last couple of days swimming quite happily with the tag still well attached.

Late afternoon directional sunlight was great to backlight the sharks, photo Simone Caprodossi
SO now back in Djibouti city there are just a few things to get ready before we set off again for another week with a new group and hopefully lots and lots of sharks and not so many swimming crabs….!

Abi and friend… a quick self portrait!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you're having an awesome time! Can't wait to hear about week two, wish we were there... put more photos up!Kate x