Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sharklab photos lately

Tired to gills from recent day-long downpours and matching gruelling days, here's a selection of uncaterogorized photos from the last half week. 

 The only catch from a half day of fishing around Bimini

 The Galant Lady off the west coast of North Bimini

 Friends of the lab, he jumped over the nurse shark and stingray wrangling boat in our channel

 Yup, I live here

A game of spoons gone delightfully awry on the dock

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Tiger Monday

Hosting a film crew means a break from the day-to-day, participating in whatever activities they dream up and staying out of Doc's way.  The highlight from the most recent crew was catching five! tiger sharks on two vertical long lines set in the Gulf Stream off the west coast of Bimini.  All five individuals were between 3.2 and 3.45 meters long. 

 Underwater filmers getting sorted
 Working up one of five tigers
 hmmm, tiger
 Tiger alongside the boat

 Shark dive
 Shark dive again
 Itsa bull

Day off lunch look out

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Back Bimini side

I live in a house that uses conch shells as door stops; a self-sufficient and conservation-minded house where our living quarters resemble a generous boat; a house whose back beach, a quick 50 meter stroll from the oft cluttered washing line adjacent to the house, serves as a liquor cabinet, ghost crab catching grounds and a launching pad to several shark-filled pens; a house with a dock where cleaning my teeth in the morning it's not unusual for a turtle to pop up for air. 

After a two year hiatus, I have returned to volunteer at the Bimini Biological Field Station aka Sharklab on Bimini, Bahamas. 

Even with the first half week filled with classes ranging from knot tying to marine radio to boat driving to shark handeling, we managed a half day snorkeling at the Sapona and a shark dive and feed off Triangle Rocks.  More than a dozen reef and black nose sharks popped over for an easy snack as fellow volunteers squeeled with delight through their snorkels. 

 North Bimini
 Morning prize for jetlag
Ahh, Bimini sunrise

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Incoming Hope

"HOPE IS COMING!" screeched a tiny Thai woman.  More than 50 volunteers, day visitors and staff legged it to the safety of an elevated platform despite the optimistic bellow.  Hope, a cheeky teenage male rescued shortly after birth, is an elephant.  

One of the 36 elephants currently at the Elephant Nature Park rescued by patchyderm superhero Sangduen (Lek) Chailert, Hope has never been tortured, abused or forced to work in the logging or tourist industries.  

Other rescuees aren't so fortunate.  As 2700 kilo females plod past on dislocated hips, broken ankles and abscessed feet, it's truly heart breaking to visualize the events that led to their conditions.  "Broken" in a "crush," pummeled by sharp hooks, nails and slingshotted stones so they'd submit to human direction and later injected with methamphetamines so they'd work longer the Park is a rare sanctuary for retired and rescued elephants. 

A vacation volunteer program has participants helping for a minimum of one week either at the Park or in a remote location in SE Asia.  While our labour was not as valuable as the funds and time we gave, the real value for the Park is the onward education and enthusiasm for elephant conservation the volunteers come away with. 

 Mae Perm and Jokia

River bath time

Ele suncreme

Hope was trained to do this through positive reinforecemet 

Vet student G cleaning wounds 

The B Team with our Volunteer Coordinators.  The one with his arm around me threw four of us into the mudpit.

Post bathing

Feeding time