Well week two has come and gone and very successfully I have to say! The team had the Deli all to themselves along with Didier, a volunteer from Megaptera, and Hussain Al Qallaf, a veteran of two previous Djibouti whale shark expeditions. It’s always good to have Hussain aboard as he is definitely ‘Mr. Gadget’ and has all sorts of things you thought about packing but forgot to! He also has enviable skills with a camera and a formidable camera system, so we were able to get some excellent images this week to illustrate this blog.
Darren getting laser measurements from a feeding shark, photo Hussain
The sharks again did not disappoint although the swimming crab infestation seemed to hit astronomic proportions… it also seems as though the early shark catches the crab eggs as we found several gorging themselves on a thick red crab-egg soup one morning.
Early morning plankton fest.... photo Hussain
We also had several old friends in the shark department returning to visit; this included three sharks we had previously had satellite tags attached to, one from each of 2009, 2011 and 2012. All of the sharks carried tag tether remnants advertising their importance to whale shark science! All three of these animals had been tracked as far away as the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean, so it’s good to see them coming back again.
One of our 2009 satellite tagged sharks with his tether remnant.
During the week we had several tourist boats pay the area a visit but they were largely well behaved; however, on Friday morning there were a total of 15 boats with whale shark tourists aboard in the aggregation area, each with from 8 to 16 people aboard… I don’t know how the sharks felt about it, but it was pretty scary from a human point of view, in terms of safety from speeding boats, all intent on getting to the next available shark.
Didier videos a feeding youngster, photo Hussain
Week three looks as though it will be similar to week one with one skiff on whale sharks and one with divers so fingers crossed for a good final week!