Unexpected experience

It’s interesting how one thing leads to the next. After replacing our alternator in Rock Sound, Eleuthera, we thought we were finally on our way to the Exumas. A powerful cold front coming in fast changed our course. We reluctantly paid to stay at a marina in Cape Eleuthera where a wahoo fishing tournament happened to be taking place. When the boats with the fish came in to be photographed and weighed, it attracted all sorts. Locals, curious transient sailors like us, marine biologists and sharks. That’s right, when the cleaning of fish begins, the predators circle. First a guy doing research on plastics in the ocean asks where the fish were caught and if he could keep the stomachs. He’s a friendly fellow from Chicago working on a study of the affects of ingested plastics in fish and how it affects them and their food quality for humans. Then from the Island School (islandschool.org), a whole team of folks were asking to take the fish remains. They were measuring, dissecting and labeling lots of ziploc bags to place various fish parts for further research and study. Then with what was left of the fish, a research team began “fishing” for bull sharks. They invited us to join them on their boat to capture one to measure, tag, take blood and tissue samples and implant a transmitter under its skin. I got caught up in the hunt and pointed out when I saw the Bulls come up from the depths as the nurse sharks (about a dozen) mostly swarmed near the surface as they threw in fish carcasses. What an experience! The team was super friendly and eager to talk to us about what they were doing. Some facts I learned about the Bull Sharks include: They have the most testosterone of any animal on earth, are very territorial, can swim in both salt and fresh water, are responsible for most human bites (note to mom: mostly because of mistaken identity in murky water, or people doing stupid things. The water in the Bahamas is the clearest I’ve ever seen and I’ll promise not to be stupid). Part of this project is to see where these sharks all travel. The shark they tagged while we were on board was a 270 cm female. The first one this year! Everyone cheered as the shark swam away after its procedures and surgery. It didn’t really hit me until later what we had just experienced or how special it was.
The cold front that rerouted us here hit us with a dramatic and instantaneous 10 degree drop in temperature as we were in the research boat and it began to pour. They were very apologetic that we were getting wet although they couldn’t really control that could they?
I wonder what tomorrow will bring? Our plans are to leave for the Exumas in the morning. We’ll see if that actually happens as I ponder who’s really in control.

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3 thoughts on “Unexpected experience

  1. Hi Trav, Steph, Shad and Rachel,

    I just read your blog post aloud at the supper table. Curt, Conrad, Yuki, Sara and Marilyn all say “Hi”?
    It was about -33 degrees outside today 🙂 We miss you, but are still managing to eke out an existence 🙂 Turuni just walked in. She says, “Hi Ungers!” We had a christmas tree burning party last month across the street with smores and hotdogs! This month is the block party – Feb 21. We have more field trips/parties planned before you get home. Glad you’re safe and enjoying the unexpected.

    love the gang at 480

    P.S. Daisy getting fat.

    Like

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