Saturday, April 3, 2010

Course's work

The Sharklab celebrated Easter Friday by tracking juvenile lemon sharks in the day and joining the invading hordes of American holiday makers on the north island for night one of Junkanoo and excessive dancing in the streets and dock-side pubs.

We needed a mildly wild night out after hosting a university elasmobranch course for five days. Kicked out of the lab for its duration, we were moved to an apartment down the road. We somewhat grudgingly took this minor inconvenience and made the absolute most of it. The volunteers often went out to help with their seatrips in whatever capacity we were needed - boat drivers, bait cutters and throwers, photographers. I helped out with baiting in 18 blacktips, and escorting the students down a mangrove-lined channel so they could hand feed juv lemons.

The second last night, I scored a dinner invitation that the others are still bitter over. Walking back to the apartment, a golf car pulled up and offered me a ride home - offering and accepting rides from complete strangers is normal and expected in Bimini. When I saw the driver and her three passengers had pink drinks in fish covered glasses, I knew it would be a crazy ride back. Stopping next door to where we were staying, the middle aged women invited me in for a dinner of steak, lobster, fresh wahoo, veggies and rum punch. The lobster or rum punch wasn't their cause of envy. It was the steak. Collectively, we haven't had steak in decades. I paid dearly for my dinner engagement the next morning.

Getting up hungover at 6:50 am to be at the lab at 7:10 am to set a vertical longline in the Gulf Stream on four foot rolling seas was the opposite of fun. The morning after a full moon has its perks though. Still stumbling and reeking of rum punch, I enjoyed these vistas.

Hauled up by hand, the 1800 feet of the vertical long line netted us three! tiger sharks.

The largest was 3.28 meters! They tied him alongside the boat so we could get in and snorkel with him.

I'm home in less than three weeks. Eeekk. It's going to be difficult to leave, but I am also eagerly anticipating my impending uni graduation and northern B.C. summer.

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