The White Shark Trust Field Research Assistantship is proud to introduce you to our assistants:

Alan DUNCAN (Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland), Chris MILNES (Grantham, Lincolnshire, England), Andy CASAGRANDE (Santa Cruz, California, USA), Polly CROUCH, Alice CLARKE (London, England), and Rick HOLMES (Likely, BC, Canada).

Monday the 20th of October 2003 started as another windy day... but the wind died quickly... Unfortunately this was a very slow Shark day... After six hours, we finally observed four different White Sharks, but none stayed longer than a few minutes. Beautiful, flat and hot day though!
Andy cut his finger while fishing... so he put some war paint on his face, and then strangely disguised himself as Bob Marley (or the organ donor from Monty Python's Meaning of Life)...

Polly and Alice joined the team of Shark Diving Unlimited at first to collect field data from another boat. We are very thankful for Shark Diving Unlimited's support!

The day was so beautiful and hot that we decided to have our first summer braai of the year outside...

We grilled some chicken and vegi burger on the grill in the front yard, and celebrated the beginning of summer...

Tuesday the 21st of October 2003...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY ANDY!

Beautiful, flat and hot day again... the wind picked up during the day though.

Notice Alan's treasured Mexican style new "moustache"... after watching N.A.R.C. he just went for the style...

Unfortunately, this was also the worst day shark-wise in several months... the sharks were around as we saw them swimming around the boat, but they decided to remain deep... which from a research point of view, makes them difficult, or impossible, to identify.

But at least Andy, got to see five Great White Sharks on his 26th Birthday!

Wednesday the 23rd of October 2003... some bad wind hit our coastline in the morning, and we remained at shore.

In the afternoon, we went to Hermanus and on the way back we stoped in De Kelders to try to see some Whales... Unfortunately, the whales were far offshore today...

Here are some photographs taken by Rick Holmes during the past week...

Text by Alice Clark

On my first day out on the boat I was nervous; unsure of what to expect and a little doubting of my shark spotting skills.  By the end of that day we had seen twelve sharks and I’d been eyeball to eyeball with three of them during a cage dive.  That pretty much got me over my nerves and I was hooked.  Of course not everyday is as exciting as that but it was a pretty good start.

Michael eases newcomers in, giving everyone a chance to find their feet and have a go at the various tasks, so you soon feel useful on the boat.  Spending all that time on the water with the sharks was a once in a lifetime experience (or maybe twice as, like most former assistants, I’d love to return).  They are truly mesmerizing and awe inspiring – there is so much more to the Great White Shark than the horror movie monster image that many people associate with them. 

Even without the sharks a stay in Gansbaai is a memorable experience.  Michael and Tracey’s house is comfortable and welcoming.  They are expert hosts – their braais (barbeques to the uninitiated) are so good they have their own special room.  And the local nightlife has to be seen to be believed.

All in all it is an experience I would recommend to anyone – the memories are priceless.