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

Alex RILEY (Nottingham, England) and Giacomo PALAVICINI DE WITTE from Mexico are assisting the White Shark Trust fieldwork at Dyer Island.

On the 24th of May 2004, Benjamin WESTROPE (Wilmington, North Carolina, USA) returned from Mossel Bay where he was assisting the joint Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and Marine and Coastal Management (MCM) research expedition to attach near-real-time SPOT Satellite transmitters on White Sharks.

Ramon Bonfil, Shannon O'Brien and Heather from the Wildlife Conservation Society also returned from Mossel Bay where they managed to attach eight near-real-time satellite transmitters on the dorsal fins of White Sharks.

On the 27th of May 2004, we launched Lamnidae in the early morning as a strong winter storm was approaching our coastline for another attempt at deploying the 11th near-real-time SPOT satellite transmitter. The White Sharks probably got wind of our intentions and decided to remain deep and uninterested in our bait... By late morning the gale force NWesterly wind started and we had to abort our trip...
The FRS Sardinops departed from Gansbaai that same afternoon to go to False Bay near Cape Town where they would sheltered by the storm and hopefully could work around Seal Island to tag the last Shark...

We returned to shore, washed the boat (and ourselves), and went to De Kelders to the Cafe on the Rocks for a milkshake and some lunch...

Ramon, Shannon, Heather and Tom decided to stay with us in Gansbaai until early tomorrow morning when they would drive to Simon's Town to board the FRS Sardinops.

Doesn't Ben look so much happier in these photographs? Of course he does, his girlfriend, Nikki, arrived yesterday from North Carolina to spend a couple of weeks with him...

And of course, Giacomo and Alex, as always, look happy together!!! The Mexican English friendship...

While sipping on our milkshakes, we suddenly saw one Southern Right Whale poping his head out of the water just off the kelp near the shore. Our first Southern Right Whale of the season!!! What an afternoon!!!

And then suddenly, a pod of 20-30 Dolphins porpoised along the coastline, under, in front and in the back of the Southern Right Whale... Amazing spectacle!!! The Whale did not seem pleased by this lack of respect and blew very loudly a few times... We were so lucky!!! And we celebrated accordingly that evening!
Below is a (unfortunately not a great quality picture) photograph of the head of the Southern Right Whale breaking the surface of the water, and the Dolphins swimming past the Whale...
Happy Birthday Shannon!

In the evening, we celebrated Shannon's 23rd Birthday... A delicious Yellowtail braai with the usual beer bread, and a lot of fun! Shannon is working for the Wildlife Conservation Society and is Ramon's research assistant.

Update 14:35 on Friday the 28th of May 2004: The winter storm that hit our coastline yesterday morning is now blowing at 40+ knots, and the sea in Gansbaai is very rough. The FRS Sardinops managed to chum for White Sharks as False Bay is fairly protected in NWesterly winds. They deployed the 11th and last near-real-time SPOT satellite transmitter on a three meter male White Shark this afternoon. Ramon is of course very happy with the immense success of this satellite tagging expedition!

Ramon, Heather and Shannon returned to Gansbaai from Simon's Town that same evening (Friday the 28th of May 2004) to spend a few more days in Gansbaai...