After being accepted as an Oceans Research intern I was thrilled that I would have the opportunity to work with leading field experts in marine research and, more specifically, having the opportunity to work in close proximity with Great White sharks.
Having been an active intern for a little over a week now, I can say with full confidence that Oceans Research is an excellent program for anyone looking for practical experience in field work. Every day is a series of new and interesting tasks from working in the Mossel Bay aquarium, cataloging new data, going out into the bay,chumming the water and acoustic manual tracking. The highlight so far happened when one of the most powerful and fearsome creatures in the ocean decided that it would be fun to breach close to the side of the boat while we were tracking it. And let me tell you, nothing can prepare you for the awe of being within twenty feet of a Great White.
Two days into my stay I was assigned a hands on task that involved handling a 1 meter long shark at the Mossel Bay aquarium. Unfortunately, the shark was apparently not amused, a wrestling match ensued, during which I was in the face with his tale. Fortunately, we got the data.
Being with Great White sharks is an awesome and very exciting experience. The firsthand experience is worth more than gold, and the mentoring and knowledge I’ve received from the experts is priceless. I would recommend the Oceans Research intern program to anyone with an interest in marine biology – or any other field of biology.
Also, coming to South Africa has been eye-opening. The diverse and unusual flora and fauna have been a treat. On the first day I saw an ostrich farm, elephants, a bird that was as large as a turkey that looked like a dove, and trees you would only expect to see in a Dr. Seuss illustration.
On the whole, I feel blessed by this experience and look forward to the rest of my stay here.