Last week (22-26 June) we tracked Pinocchio, a 2.3m female great white shark with two continuous tags providing us information on her swimming depth, water temperature at that depth and muscle temperature, every second. After a lot of cold nights and long days we managed to break the current record for continuous manual tracking of a great white. Our new record is 106 hours.
What will stay with me the most about this tracking is especially the night with dense fog: when there are no orientation points around, you really have to rely on each other and work together to make sure you do not lose the shark or get too close to shore.
My dear lady Pinocchio,
Thank you for having let us track your movements during 106 hours… and access that way a bit of your secret life. It does probably mean nothing to you but it is a giant leap for us! Not only for science but moreover for our own sense of achievement: only with these can we fully realized what such things as team work and spirit really mean. Hope you enjoyed it as much as we did. You deserved your bloody seal that last night. Keep in touch,
Tracking is truly a learning curve. Not only do you learn how to use the equipment, but you learn how to work well with others to perfectly map the movement of the creature we all came here to study. You learn to fight through the cold, wind and rain with more layers, 9 on top and 5 on bottom. You learn to laugh at the hiccups at 2am when you haven’t seen daylight in 3 days and hot cocoa is all you want. But what an experience! The communication you must have with your team grows into this amazingly well oiled machine. This is Marine Science and I love every minute.
Tracking white sharks is an experience I will remember for years to come. Every shift was a new experience to learn and a new challenge to face. You learn to rely on others as they rely on you as well. Definitely the best part of the track was when we were tracking in very thick fog. Working as a team to keep the shark close by while dodging all sorts of hazards was a blast. Wouldn’t trade anything for it in the world.
Pinocchio was the first white shark that I experienced when chumming, so it was fitting that she was the first one that I tracked. She was so fun to move around with and hypothesize of what she was doing and why. I will follow you anywhere, Pinocchio!!!!
I had so much fun tracking Pinocchio. It really brought me closer to people in a way I never expected. I have to admit it was a little annoying to hear the beep for hours on end but the scariest moments were when the beep left us. I have never felt happier and more defeated all in a 10 minute time frame. Tracking just gives you a little more info into the secret lives of sharks. I will miss Pinocchio and here little upturned fin. She is really an amazing creature.
Thanks to the whole team: Adam, Kim, Rabi'a, Amber, Cory, Amy, Lindsay, Liesbeth, Lucille, Aron, Kat, Karen, Carolyne, Maddy, Martha, and a special thanks to the amazing interns managers Rob and Dylan.