Monday, November 14, 2011

Great Whites on Sea Mounts!

Click for detail!

A Great White on a coral reef?

Yes that would be a sea mount in New Caledonia!
The pic was taken in September, 2007 by one Luc Bourdil who if I understand it correctly (Note: I did not, see Luc's explanation in the comments section) was leading a group of divers. Everybody made it up safely, then three very much intrepid (and I would add, very much Gallic) plongeurs went back down to further admire the spectacle, very much proving that GWs are not at all what they are made out to be. And, that Gallic plongeurs are certainly very intrepid and possibly also quite stupid.
More pictures here.

I just got sent the pic by Clinton Duffy.
Clinton is the man who tagged Grim the Fiji tourist and he was also kind enough to send me these tracks of Grim's gallivanting about in Bligh Waters. The yellow ellipses denote the scope of possible position errors and no, he definitely did not traipse around on Vanua Levu like Dakuwaqa!


And there's more that Grim did not do.
It appears pretty clear that he did not visit Plantation Island after all, which must be a great relief to the tourism industry there. And having been given the chance to ask some questions, many of which undoubtedly stupid, Clinton informs me that in his opinion, the NZ GWs who migrate north in winter do not seem to be following the Humpback Whales like I assumed. There is of course temporal overlap but the spatial overlap seems to be, if at all, more or less entirely fortuitous.

In Clinton's words.

While whites definitely visit the same areas the humpbacks do the fit between the movements of these species is not particularly tight.
Some whites are definitely on the grounds at the same time the whales are but some arrive after the whales should have gone and stay on. So while I think there is some link there I don't think the whites are dependent on the humpbacks but I have no doubt they would check them out when they're in the neighbourhood.

I'm also pretty sure that whites from NZ visit Fiji every winter-early summer (July-January), I think its just an artefact of small sample size that only one of the sharks we've tagged so far has been tracked there.

Places you're most likely to encounter them would be on seamounts and in the entrances to deep passes. They've been seen by divers in both habitats in Tonga (2 yrs in a row on the same seamount - Happy Ha'apai Divers) and New Caledonia respectively.

Wow wow wow!
As far as I know, no diver has seen a GW in Fiji yet - or am I mistaken?
Anyway, just imagine if one would pop up on the Shark dive amid the gaggle of Bulls - would that be awesome, or what! :)

Vinaka Clinton - all very very interesting!
Much appreciated indeed!

6 comments:

The Saipan Blogger said...

That's pretty cool.

DaShark said...

Hi my man!

I did like today's post on TSB, actually very touching - deep (!) down, you actually appear to be a very nice chap! :)

All my best wishes to both of you!

OfficetoOcean said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
OfficetoOcean said...

That is ACE!

Next time I'm with you in Fiji, a GW will turn up with a Tiger in tow...You heard it here first ;)

Luc Bourdil said...

Hi,

Please excuse my english.
My name is Luc Bourdil. I'm the dive master who took theses pictures.
It was a fantastic dive. The GW went only to see us, curiously, without sign of danger.

If we went back into water, it's because one of my divers was affraid and went to the surface while I was trying to slow him.
So, the GW was'nt here and we had to go down for security reasons, to not have a pressure problem !!
So it wasn't for stupid reasons...

After a while, 6 minutes, we saw the GW far away, along the reef, so I stoped the dive and went to the surface slowly this time ;)

My shorter but my wonderfulest dive!!!

See you.

DaShark said...

Merci Luc

I can imagine that it has been AWESOME - hopefully, one day we'll experience the same here in Fiji!

A+