This story really begins 2 weeks ago with a crazy Italian man, a spear gun, 3 tags and one promiscuous shark.....tracking had begun! This was the first time in history that a shark had been tagged with three tags; our names, we were promised, would be “echoed in science forever”. The first tag was a depth and positional tag inserted using the tracking pole, unfortunately after being tagged, Threexe or 3Xe (our aptly named shark!), decided she had had enough of people for the day and didn’t appear again until the next day. Thursday arrived bright and full of promise, and for good reason, the last two tags were in position raring to go by 8.00 am. The second tag, a stomach tag to monitor the temperature of the shark’s stomach was put into a piece of tuna and fed to the shark and the third tag, for measuring the white muscle temperature of the shark, was inserted using a spear gun. Trixxxi was then followed round the clock, with interns undertaking 12 hour shifts onboard Cheetah (under the much needed supervision of our learned directors).
A gruelling regime, but one made worth it when the interns would catch sight of Trixxxi cruising along the surface, or when she was tracked to the cage diving boats where we might anticipate an exciting display! Tracking was not without its share of problems, big waves, howling winds, grumpy interns, damp computers and faulty engines but we persevered for 10 days with the odd break in the middle totalling 112 hours of tracking. This activity was broken up by the arrival of the new interns on Tuesday, most of whom were out tracking on the Wednesday! The new interns quickly got into the swing of life here at Oceans and have adjusted to the ‘work hard, play harder’ mentality. Chumming trips have since recommenced with many of the new arrivals getting to grips with the messy (and smelly!) art of chumming, using the bait line and taking killer photographs of the many circling sharks. All in a couple of weeks work here at Oceans Research!
Lizzy Fitzsimmons - White shark research intern