Developed by Desert Star, it's the small cousin of the tag currently deployed by e.g Neil and Co, and its functions are accordingly substantially reduced - the good news being that so is the price of up to less than 500 bucks!
But even in this basic configuration, this is really a very cool gizmo with theoretically unlimited life due to the fact that instead of a battery, it is fitted out with solar cells and a capacitor, meaning that its useful life is only limited by its data storage which is currently equivalent to approx 750 days. We've programmed the tags to release in one year's time which will hopefully help solve the April riddle.
That is, if the tags stay on!
Much of our early telemetry research has been marred by a rather spectacular failure rate, and one of the aims of this sequence has been to explore alternatives. Thus, we've used a stronger speargun with a stopper in order to finally reliably pierce the Sharks' extremely tough skin; and after some soul searching and one major correction compared to back then, all four tags deployed so far have been rigged slightly differently from each other in order to determine the best configuration.
Preliminary results are rather encouraging, the more as the Sharks appear completely unfazed - in fact, after dashing away upon impact, they have immediately returned and kept on feeding!
This is Shark #1.
The tag has been rigged more conventionally using wire leader and crimps, and as you can discern (click for detail), the leader has been cutting away at the skin. Unsurprisingly, that tag has already released and after several astonishing loops within Beqa Lagoon, it is presently happily drifting away somewhere between Sigatoka and Momi Bay = there's a finders fee of FJD 100 for anybody retrieving it.
The other tags have been rigged using para cord (thanks Yannis!), and the attachment looks way better - pic courtesy of Martin.
We've also chosen to paint those tags black.
This is to avoid disrupting the Sharks' camouflage but also in order to prevent shenanigans by the ever-feisty Giant Trevally. Of interest, the paint is already being worn away by the Sharks' skin = together with the fact that the tags are made of a material akin to that of water bottles (which appear to never foul), biofouling is likely to be negligible to nil.
And yet, Shark #2 has surprisingly lost its tag, too!
The tag has pinged only once shortly before the Shark then turned up on our dive, and hasn't been heard of since. To me, the implications are alas pretty much obvious - but I will certainly leave it at that until we ferret out some solid evidence!
Be it as it may, here's the Competition!
We've tagged these four Sharks - ##1 through 4 - click for detail.
The first person who posts all four correct names wins one week of diving.
All I will tell you is that one is a hand feeder, two are bin feeders and one will feed, assertively, at any given occasion and location. And that all those Sharks are listed here and here. And that all are large to massive, very well known, easily recognizable and frequent visitors, this in order to allow for ground truthing.
Easy - no? :)
- Unlimited attempts allowed - one post per person per 24h.
- Posting is only valid on this blog, not on FB or Twitter where they will be deleted.
- PA volunteers and staff, customers and friends who have been here during May and may thus have an obvious advantage may not participate.
- Please don't post if you cannot accept the prize and/or dive FOC anyway. Especially you El Diego - and no whispering to friends either, special or otherwise!
Wishing you the best of success! :)