My First Day at Shark Academy
After arriving and having a relaxing Sunday at the Shark Academy Intern house, I was ready for work the next day. We woke up before the sun and made our way to the lab.
Janneke gave me a lab tour and showed me the daily operations. I was introduced to the sharks and Squidgeward, the cuttlefish in the touch tank.
After a few presentations updating me on current and past research projects as well as methods of collecting data on the sharks, the rain from the morning had slowed into a drizzle. It was time for a snorkel and to catch some sharks.
We kitted up in thick neoprene to brave the Hermanus cold and slipped into the water to snorkel. I saw my first shark hiding in the kelp. I filled my lungs and did a duck dive to the bottom. I grasped the shark and found another shark friend lying next to it. I hugged them both to my chest and swam to Guy to put them in a net. Four of us managed to catch 8 Dark shysharks within the hour and we took the haul back to our lab.
Each shark is weighed, has body measurements taken, sex and sexual maturity recorded, it is tagged, and a small fin clip is taken for its DNA to be analysed. I started as a scribe and watched until I was comfortable enough to tag the last sharks. After that, I helped release the newly caught sharks while others fed the lab sharks.
We started closing the doors and switching off the lights, ready to end the workday. Within my first day, I felt so welcomed by this small, hardworking team and got hands-on experience with the sharks. I am so excited to see what the rest of my time here holds.