Wednesday, April 21, 2010

2010 - so far, fabulous!

The BAD team and Royalty - click on it!

Wow - what a start to the year!

Summer is traditionally Fiji's "slow"season - but I promise you, not for us!
Maybe because of the El NiƱo, the number of Bulls has been nothing short of spectacular, to the point where we've had to add a new category to our database, as in Too many to count: certainly more than 40 and very possibly, more than 50 Bull Sharks of all sizes on selected days! We now have more than 90 named individuals - and still counting!

Needless to say that Juerg is delighted!
He was here in February to essentially wrap up the first phase of the small scale movement research using acoustic monitoring and to start concentrating on our work in the rivers. Going forward, we will complement our DNA sampling for Mahmood with other research on the riverine life history of Bull Sharks, this involving acoustic transmitters and video. On Shark Reef, we continue sampling DNA but will only resume any tagging once we've addressed some technical matters.
But that's another story for another post - keep watching this space!

The traditional Fish count yielded another 30+ species.
This means that Shark Reef harbors more than 460 species - and believe it or not, this isn't the end of it! This time, we had the pleasure of hosting he of the squeaky voice (trust me, you DO want to open this link!), non other than the infamous Richard Pyle himself!

Richard is quite a guy - and he loves Sharks!

He is John's regular deep diving buddy and they and the Geek turned up with Poseidon Cis Lunar Mk6s, very nifty, small and user-friendly Nitrox rebreathers which are rated to 40m.
So far, I've been extremely wary of those gizmos but I must say that I'm impressed: despite of Richards best attempts at rigorous testing (and yes that would be a euphemism!) they did what they had to do and provided him with the correct gas mix throughout the dive. I hear that there will be a new model allowing for deeper dives and once that happens, I'll be the first one to buy one.
Very nice toys indeed!

Apart from the science, we hosted several film productions (with several more forthcoming), welcomed many diving journos and VIPs and initiated some truly ground breaking exciting conservation projects which we plan to roll out later this year. Some of them are BIG - and you're going to like them!

Other than that, we've been literally swamped - and yes, it's a great problem to have!
The immediate consequence has been that we now schedule afternoon coral dives on Shark diving days, this in order to accommodate a maximum of Shark aficionados on our two boats. It has also prompted us to hire more staff, purchase a second big compressor and add more rental gear.

Where we will not compromise, however, is on safety and quality.
We will continue to limit the number of divers on the Fiji Shark Dive to 20, this principally because of safety considerations but also, because we want our clients to have a first class experience as opposed to having to fight for space on a cattle dive. Likewise, we will not relax our procedures, especially not those concerning the separation of clients and animals - ambitious image hunters are once again reminded of the consequences this entails.

And finally, the BAD Boyz and Girls have turned six years old.
We were honored to celebrate in the company of Ron and Valerie who have been staunch supporters of the Fiji Shark Project since its inception.

And the adventure continues!


Lawrence Groth said...

Bula Mike and BAD crew
Everyone looks great! Andrew looks a little wet, was he swimming or sweating?
Manasa and Rusi are looking fit.
Good to hear all is well.
I miss all of you very much. I hope I can make it back out there soon.
Yours in sharks,

DaShark said...

Bula Lawrence!

I've shown your comment to the staff & they all say: Bula Vinaka!

We miss you, too!
Just grab Cat and hop over for some sharky R&R - for you, there will always be space!

As to Andrew, I sure hope that it's sweat, from running around and working extra hard - that's why he gets paid all those mega-bucks!