Success at sharking, and a super special snurtle!
We are happy to say we had a very successful shark survey this week; after many weeks with no success, it was a huge achievement catching two Sickle-fin Lemon Shark pups in one evening. The second shark caught had been tagged previously, giving us the opportunity to measure growth and recapture rates. We were pleased to find out the shark had grown several centimeters and was in good health. We also spotted a larger juvenile earlier that morning from the view point. This is great news for the conservation team as we can now be sure there is ongoing Lemon Shark activity. We hope to spot/catch more next week!
So that was “work”, what about fun?! Well the new volunteers had their first boat snorkel on Wednesday. They were brought to one of the best beaches in the world, Anse Lazio. The visibility was very good and within seconds of jumping in they saw their first Spotted Eagle Ray. Our turtle expert, Cheryl, spotted a green turtle resurface a couple of times from the boat but sadly it didn’t come close enough for the volunteers to see it in the water. The very next day us old volunteers went back to Anse Lazio and had more luck seeing sea turtles. The snorkel started out with a White-tip Reef Shark showing itself. Brody, Maya and Science Officer James were lucky enough to swim with the shark for a little while until it pulled an expert disappearing act. Carolyn then spotted a huge Stingray. While staff members James and Becky were switching over, a Hawksbill Turtle was spotted munching on some sponges on the bottom. Everyone finned to the turtle and hovered over it watching. The juvenile Hawksbill did not appear to mind and was very relaxed, so we were able to dive down and get up-close. We spent a fair amount of time with the little guy until it had enough of us and glided into deeper waters. As soon as he was gone, another was spotted. This one seemed to be just as relaxed and swam right up to Carolyn to say hi. Both hawksbills were showing off and being very photogenic. Meanwhile, Becky spotted several Green turtles from the boat. With 10 minutes to go until we had to head back to base, we gently swam over to where the turtles were grazing on the sea grass and were lucky enough to see two of the five. The visibility wasn’t as good this time as the Greens were in deeper water but we had been listening during the sea turtle presentation and were able to identify the Green turtles by their larger shell, with non-overlapping scutes (scales), and two pre-frontal scales on their heads (the Hawksbills have overlapping scutes and two pairs of pre-frontal scales, plus a very pointy hawk-like nose). These Green turtles were the first us volunteers have seen in our time here so it was an especially special turtle snorkel (snurtle!) for us!
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