Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Shark Chronicles 087 - Testimonials
...I arrived full of excitement at the prospect of working with Great White Sharks
...The largest single impression I got upon arriving and throughout my time here, is the seriousness which is given to proper execution of duties and collection of data. The idea of it being a summer science camp is swiftly proven false. The work schedule is full and the breadth of duties is wide enough that one doesn’t get bored with any one activity too soon. I think the demanding schedule builds an esprit du corps and imparts a level of commitment throughout the entourage from ‘staff’ to interns.
...Being that close to a Great White Shark and capturing its movements through camera was more exhilarating than I could have imagined and exceeded all expectations.
...A highlight for me was getting the opportunity to take a genetic sample of a Great White and standing at the stern of the boat with my sample pole thinking what an amazing situation I found myself in.
...I like the fact that the aquarium is an integral part of the initiative as the aquarium reality does not include flashy photos of breaching white sharks, but contains basic hands on research of less spectacular, or sexy, species of marine life. I chose this picture because it shows the engagement of the interns in what is happening.
...It is not only the work that we do here in Mossel Bay that makes the internship so exciting. There is also the opportunity to take part in activities at the weekend, such as the world’s highest bungy jump, caving, ostrich riding, zip lines, game drives and of course a trip to Cape Town to do a cage dive and see Table Mountain.
...I’ve had many experiences that I will never forget. One of these was researching the Body tonic of sharks, while flipped upside-down. Surprisingly sharks relax while they are upside-down, but the reason why still is unexplained. So it is very exciting to research in an area where many is still unknown.
...I took a trip to Addo Elephant National Park, the key tourism destination in the Eastern Cape. It is the only park in the world where the BIG 7 occur together in a reserve: over 500 elephants, Cape buffalo, leopard, black rhino, lions, the great white shark and seasonal Southern right whale as well as a variety of different birds, hyena, eland, kudu, zebra, smaller mammals, and reptiles. I booked the "Sundowner" game drive and a game drive for the following morning. Both were organised by Addo with guides to show us the best parts of the park.
...This is my second time in Mossel Bay after tracking a great white for over days in 2005 and meeting Ryan and Enrico for the first time back then. I love being involved in all the work around the sharks and all the ongoing shark- and marine mammal projects.
...I have always wanted to get into scientific journalism. Oceans Research has a magazine called Beyond Blue and in our time here we were given the opportunity to do research for the magazine and even write articles.
...Oceans Research really has opened me to experiences that I would never have been exposed to and I am very grateful for the once in a lifetime opportunity. In my time at Mossel Bay and with Oceans I have learnt so much about practical fieldwork and research and have enjoyed making new connections with people and learning about a new culture.
...Overall I count myself very lucky to have had this experience and would definitely love to return one day. The enthusiasm of the Field Specialists and Researchers who have guided us this month have definitely made my experience more enjoyable and I would like to thank them also for teaching and influencing me. I am now certain that a career in the Marine Sciences is what I wish to pursue and I am looking forward to the future with the knowledge I have gained from this month in hand.
...I have received hands on training in more areas than I could have imagined. I now have a much clearer understanding for shark conservation and marine research. I feel I’m making a difference here and am gaining so much from every single day.
Stepphen, Jordan, Janette, Lucinda, Max, Greg, and Timo: January 2011 Mossel Bay Marine Lab interns