Neat ‘n Tidy

Friday, July 22nd 2011

Spirits were high today after the huge success of the day prior. The fantastic Reef Dogs of South Broward High School joined the RJ Dunlap team today and after all the introductions, everyone on board put one fist on either side of their head sending out positive vibes in hopes of catching a great hammerhead.

Once out to our site in the lovely Florida Bay, we embraced the perfect sharking conditions and put out our first ten lines of the day. One hour later we pulled in ten sharkless hooks. Despite the slow start everyone on board remained optimistic. For our next set of lines, we (and by “we” I mean the Reef Dogs) did everything imaginable to ensure we catch some sharks. This group refused to go back empty handed; the baited hooks were kissed, then kissed again, and even licked!

Our first catch of the day was a small black tip. Everyone moved like a well oiled machine every step of the way. As quickly as we pulled the shark in, we collected our data and let it go. We pulled in one more shark on our second set: a large nurse shark, which we decided not to bring on the boat, so we took a size estimate and set it free. Nonetheless all the Reef Dogs did their part, and we continued to pull in the rest of our second set.

First catch of the day, a nice manageable blacktip. Click to enlarge.

By this time the rain clouds, which had been lingering by the horizon, started to make their way towards our boat. We ended our trip with one feisty nurse shark. This one was brought on the boat and everyone worked seamlessly to collect our data and get the shark back in the water. The last of our lines were pulled in just as the rain was starting to pick up.

All hands on deck! The team keeps a feisty nurse shark under control. Click to enlarge.

Although it was a pretty slow day, we had a fantastic team working with us. And, as Austin reminded us, even if we don’t catch many sharks we are still learning about shark population size and their movements. Even no data is data, and we are reminded why we are out here in the first place.

‘Till next time….

Stacy Assael, RJD Intern

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