Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Reel big cudda

 Sarah and Aaron had both landed multiple baracuddas before I brought a monster to the boat.  More than a meter long and barely containted in the bait box, mild chaos followed as former Lab Manager Sean failed to gaff, but sucessfully unhooked it in the trough in front of the engine. 

Sarah with her first.  Ever

Sean dehooking

What catching nothing for more than two hours looks like

My turn

Sean: Can someone drive this thing?
Me: Uh, yeah, no porblem
Sean (guestering away from shore): Just point it that way

Off that dock is money

We had an official measure and weigh off.  Mine was 106 cm and 13 pounds.  Sarah's was 102 cm and 13 pounds.  Hopefully these cuddas will net us future hammerheads. 

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Octoposses, painting and sunsets

Ocoposses are deployed nearly daily.  The exterior of the house is new colours.  Tower observations have taken on a new element of challenging.  SUR collection is great fun under water spouts.  Shark fishing continues with mixed results. 

 Octopus 1

 Day off on North

 Off Back Beach

 On the way to Shell Beach for sunset

 Hey, yacht with a 3 million dollar helipcopter, you're in the way!

 Jean, TJ and Mai-Britt on one of the towers

 Ravi with hairy SURs

Water spout over Bimini Bay

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Nurse shark wrangling, suprise turtle, rainday everything

 The weather continues to be shite with today's winds nearly fitting into category 1 hurricane parameters.  Anticipating incoming volunteers on the 15th, the cool northern winds blew us inside and we cleaned, bleached and aired out the lab, house for their arrival. 

We've been catching nurse sharks for Laruan's project, tracking in the North Sound, sitting on towers observing for Jean's project and gillnetting.  The day-to-day pace has relaxed as weather appropriate tasks are prepared.  

Lab Manager Jim with one of eight nurse sharks we "wrangled" 

 Turtle found under a ledge

Boat shot

 The boys with our catch 

 "This is a record day for me," Jim exclaimed

 Depth stick = tin can telephone

 Raining again

Jean's exploration pen
Setting, or hauling a gillnet int the Duck Pond

Across the road from the lab
Watch out!
Shell Beach at sunset

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Weathered out

"Remember, they're smart, have lots of arms and a powerful beak," lab manager Emily said as she dispatched five of us for Shitty Weather Activity Volume XXI: Octopus Catching. Long term volunteer TJ quickly offered that one of the last octopi scurried across the lab wall to evade capture. 

When the weather, namely the wind, dictates the Sharklab limit water-based excursions, an interesting arsenal of tasks emerge. Fix gillnets; find, wrangle and catch nurse sharks; perfect pens; train stingrays; catch bull sharks from the marinas on North Bimini; and most recently, catch octopus. 

"This is the first time it's been a task at the lab," Emily told us as we laughed in disbelief. 

Arriving at the potential - and in all likelyhood actual - octopus habitat off Shell Beach, we were greeted by the same rolly, wave-slamming seas that we were avoiding due to a small craft advisory. 

Striking out locating nevermind containing an octopus, we tried our luck at Big Game on the North Island for bull sharks.  Seasonal residents of Bimini's waters, they're quite common off the docks in the afternoon and especially during and after fish are cleaned.  Two were baited in off an amberjack carcass and recent spearfishing kills.  A 2.5 meter recap female was landed after everyone - myself included - on the workup boat was "Gruberized" by Doc.   

Alex looking under ledges

Tessa wondering where all the octopus are 

 Sarah and Ravi chilling between gillnet checks

 Working up the juveniles caught in the gillnets

Jim grabbed this juvenile nurse at the Sappona

There's a bull down there 
Bull alongside the boat 

View from the bow


 Released - not what you want to see when you're walking on the flats