The beginning of each new month is always a busy and exciting time at Oceans, the beginning of May has been no exception.
We said goodbye to some interns, said hello to new interns and saw an increase in shark activity.
The last few weeks of April were a little slow, with big swells and poor visibility. During the middle of April a new shark (Flipper) was tagged and tracked for a total of 96 hours. When first tagged the shark spent much of its time in and around a pod of dolphins which is how it got its name.
‘Flipper’ made numerous trips from Grootbrak to the island but didn’t stay there for extended periods of time. This could be due to lack of seal movement around the island which has also been observed by recent seal surveys. Since the end of the tracking Flipper’s ultrasound response has not been heard, though it is still being tested for on chumming trips.
The beginning of May has brought good weather, calm conditions, and more shark action. Every day we go chumming is increasingly exciting, as we seem to be seeing more and more sharks with each trip. A baby seal decoy made from carpet has proved to be a success to help lure the shark to the bait – which was working great – until today when we weren’t quick enough and a stealthy shark snatched and ate the carpet seal in front of us!
We also did a dolphin survey last Wednesday from the lighthouse, only saw a few, but we were lucky enough to spot two large pods of over 100 bottlenose dolphins zooming past seal island whilst we were chumming last week. We managed to get pretty close; a few even breached allowing for photographs to be taken. While doing maintenance at the “Shark Lab” aquarium last week, some of interns saw an adult humpback whale and a calf breaching – we are now entering the migration season, so hopefully we will be seeing some more whale action soon!
During this last week, our aquarium manager Prince, and Oceans Education director Enrico, were received at the 2Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town for discussing possible collaborations with our Shark Lab for a specimens exchange program and our educational program.
Becky and Alex – Oceans Research interns