Thursday, September 11, 2008

Uh oh ...............

Back in Tonga and the Ocean in front of the house is swarming with Humpback Whales.

Not that I really care, they're just too un-toothy to really tickle my interest.
Of course, I once did do my due diligence, took a swim and came face-to-face with a big female - at which we both looked at each other and decided not to bother. No life-changing experience by any stretch of the imagination, just a boring encounter with a placid and equally boring behemoth.
But I did do it and now I know why I'm gonna continue sticking to Sharks.

The whales are the mainstay of Tonga's tourism and town is bustling with the usual assortment of wide-eyed Palangi, many of which waaaaaaaaaaay waaaaaaaaaaay out there in la-la land, sometimes frighteningly so. But some are sharp and have taken it onto themselves to make a contribution to research and to conservation, and need to be applauded for that. As Wetpixel's Tony Wu whose nice Blog is well worth reading and whose website is displaying an array of breathtaking pictures.

So, I hear you ask, why do I bother writing this post?

The reason is This.

"New Zealand's Great White Sharks migrate to tropical waters off Australia and islands in the Pacific to feed on baby humpback whales, scientists say.
After tracking tagged sharks using GPS, New Zealand fisheries scientists have concluded the giant ocean hunters appear to be regular winter visitors to tropical waters.
Tags have popped up in New Caledonia, Vanuatu, and halfway to Tonga and these trans-oceanic migrations to tropical waters have changed perceptions of the sharks as cold water, coastal creatures.
"We think they may be searching for newborn humpback whale calves, because all tags have surfaced in or near known humpback calving sites," National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research fisheries scientist Malcolm Francis said."

Halfway to Tonga? Humpback calving sites?

As in Vava'u, Tonga?

Well well, may we be in for a surprise after already having come across Reef Sharks, Tigers, Silkies, Oceanic Whitetips, Whale Sharks, Lemons, Zebras and Tonga's first ever recorded Bull Sharks?

Quite frankly, I just can't wait......


Anonymous said...

Maybe I will be lucky to see some GW then I come to Vava'u next year ! ;)

Tony's photos are incredible, both whales and small critters. He don't seem to do sharks at all , aren't he ?

DaShark said...

Yes he is an exceptional photographer indeed, and even more importantly, he seems to be a nice and humble guy on top of that.

Dunno about the Sharks, best you ask him directly - sure would be nice to have him try his skills on our friends on Shark Reef!

stuartinfiji said...

very VERY interesting Mike! Great whites in tropical... This would be something to go and try to find out about and see!

Anyway as promised here are some photos of our Mystery Shark off Kadavu. In 1000m of water on a semount, brought up after jigging for pakapaka..

be interested in hearing your thoughts on species...


DaShark said...

Hey Stuart

I've never seen a Bronze Whaler (C. brachyurus) myself but the drawing on Wikipedia looks pretty much the same. When you told me, the first thought was "Silky" but the 1st dorsal and pecs are just too long for that.

I'll pass this on to the scientists but you may indeed -and I may add: finally!- have come up with some conclusive proof for the many, so far unsubstantiated stories we hear about Bronzies in Fiji.

Well done and I will certainly come back on it!