fbpx

Tag: Sharing

15 Sharks Tagged in 3 Days!

dsc_6288

We left the familiar waters of Dassen Island and set sail bright and early into the rocking waves of the Atlantic. Our destination was an unexplored lagoon, where no sharks had been tagged before. Research around the world has shown that shallow, sheltered waters, like those in the lagoon we set sail for, often are of particular importance for shark reproduction. We were rewarded with three large females and one smaller male that we successfully tagged. They averaged 2.4 meters in length and over a meter in girth. Their large size necessitated the use of a mesh cage making them more difficult to control. Two out of the three sevengills had bite marks on their sides, which were most likely inflicted by male sharks during mating.
Feeling more confident with the new skills and practice the Young Explorers gained the last few days, we were much more involved with the tagging process, even though these sharks were significantly larger than those caught on previous days. Throughout the day we were once again amazed by the many skills and knowledge that each member of the diverse shark project team bring to the table. In one corner you could see people learning how to tie sailing knots, in the other they were practicing surgical stitching. Everyone had something to offer the group. Once again we were enthralled by Mike’s passion for exploration. We gathered around to his endless stories of childhood dreams becoming reality which ended in discussions on the feasibility of interplanetary travel.

Why Tag Sharks?

Sevengill Shark Swimming in the deep

Understanding shark movement and location is a central component of effective conservation strategies. In many cases, policy makers have been unable to conserve threatened sharks due to the lack of appropriate data on shark movements and behaviours, data which tagging and tracking work can provide.

Two types of tags are primarily used: satellite and acoustic tags. The satellite tags are short-term data loggers that pop off the animal, float to the surface and transmit to a satellite. Acoustic tags are a long-term data collection option. They emit a series of pulses for up to 10 years, their pattern individually identifying each tag and therefore each shark. Tags are attached to the sharks usually with a tag pole when a shark swims near the surface in proximity to a research vessel.

You may be wondering if the tagging causes the sharks any pain. Many tags are attached on the fins, which have no nerve supply, and therefore do not harm the study subject. Scientists and engineers are constantly working together to improve tag performance, power, data acquisition, sensor capabilities, as well as reduce tag size, drag and improve animal welfare.

The Pole2Pole Shark Project is Underway!

Shark project in South Africa in Cape Town. False Bay.

Sunday, 2 October 2016

The Pole2Pole Shark Project is underway! With the team all together, piled into the Mercedes Benz G-Wagons, we made our way from Pangaea along the Cape Peninsula to Fishhoek Beach, the home of the Shark Spotters.

Fishhoek was once a hotspot of white shark attacks in South Africa, but the the Shark Spotters pioneered environmentally-friendly and proactive methods for dealing with this issue. As opposed to lethal, expensive, and often ineffective shark culls as a response to shark bites, the Shark Spotters minimise the risk of a shark encounter by simply keeping watch on the ocean from the nearby mountains and clearing the waters when a shark poses a risk to swimmers.

Established in 2004 as a result of public pressure on the Western Cape Government, the Shark Spotters Programme employs 30 spotters to monitor the waters of surrounding beaches for shark activity. The team made their way up to one of the Shark Spotters huts which is raised 90m above the popular Muizenburg beach. The job requires extreme patience and in-depth knowledge on what to look for and what to do.

After a quick surf, we made our way back to Kalk Bay to visit the newly upgraded and highly interactive Save Our Seas Shark Education Centre. It was fantastic to see an organisation doing proactive marine conservation with local schools and we all learnt something new about shark species from around the world.

By Tim White and Mikhayla Bader

Rethinking Education

Amazon expedition.Anavilhanas national park

Climate change, inequality, the refugee crisis, debt, corruption, depression, pollution.

There is no shortage of crises and challenges that our world faces today – social, environmental and economic. Yet how many of truly understand these issues? How many of us learnt about the biggest challenges of our time through our formal education and developed the skills, abilities, mindsets, and heartsets required to tackle them?

Mandela so beautifully captured the vast untapped potential that exists within education when he said ‘education is the most powerful weapon with which we can change the world.’

Many of our current day education systems enable us to master academic concepts, secure test and examination scores to enable further education, but how many of our education systems place fostering empathy, creativity, collaboration, developing a connection with nature and all people, a core outcome?

I believe that we need to begin shifting the way we learn and rethinking our priorities. There are many examples to learn from around the world. Kaitiaki Collective is creating the world’s first bush school, where all education is learned with and through experiences with nature. Resources like Better World Ed enables us to teach empathy and talk about social and environmental issues in math classrooms. And we find pockets of schools embracing 21st century skills and values of education. How can bring these conversations front and centre in our classrooms?

And beyond the realms of formal education, we are all ultimately students and we are all educators too. How can each one us seek out information and experiences that will help us live more socially and environmentally conscious lives? And how can we through our everyday actions inspire the same of others?

By Shruthi Vijayakumar

The Namibian Adventure

Trip to the North of Namibia on six Mercedes Benz cars.G350,G500

Walvisbay, Namibia: June 9th, 2016

Day 1 – 16:30: We’ve been on the road for 10 hours now, but one could hardly call what we’ve done so far ‘good progress’ – the thrill of adventure has clearly kicked in, resulting in a large number of sidetracked stops to admire the openness we have finally ventured into. On top of that, while we picturesquely drove along the coast with large waves collapsing onto the sand chasing the GClass tyres, all of the 7 cars eventually got stuck in the soft sand. Although the idea of despair might have crossed a couple minds, the explorers in us kicked in resulting in an intense 1hour battle against the swampy sands to dig one car out after the other. In moments like these, our notion of The Skeleton Coast takes on a different meaning. You begin to realize the terror some of those now-skeletons might have felt before this deadly coastal land was named. Up until now, we’ve had 7 sand-submerged vehicles, one of the 7 cars broke down due to a faulty gearbox, and one punctured tyre. Safe to say we are driving these beasts limitlessly. Riding over the steep sandy dunes, rolling down others, cruising along the flat desert roads, chasing the waves as they collapse majestically on the beach. Although we haven’t covered much terrain yet, we’ve been mind-blown with the most incredible sceneries. One recurring word amongst the large group: “openness”. There is something incredibly humbling about pacing through these vast territories. Almost a feeling of utter vulnerability. As you look around, you find yourself squinting in search of a far horizon. This ever-changing land does indeed carry its name well, there is a feeling of infertility, hopelessness, and even death. Ironically, these same lands also inspire eternity. Needless to say that being here and now has generated a unique energy amongst the team, problems are tackled differently, smiles and laughter seem more sincere, and the topics of conversation are limitless in imagination. The sun is slowly setting, one of those bright yellow African sunsets, as we make our way towards our camping spot for the night. The adventure has only just begun, but oh my what an inspiring day 1!

Keep on exploring,

Annika & Jessica

Namibia: The Importance of Sharing

Trip to the North of Namibia on six Mercedes Benz cars.G350,G500

Walvisbay, Namibia: June 8th, 2016

5am there a loud knock on our cabins’ door: “Wake up babies it’s time for an adventure!” we heard our dad shout across the door with excitement! Today, at the wheels of 7 MB GClass vehicles we are heading out from Walvisbay with a group of 10 inspirational writers to discover the astonishing lands of Namibia. Starting from the coast, we will drive our way inland towards the world’s largest desert, the Namib. There, each one of us will live our own adventure. 5 days of pure discoveries, wildlife spotting, harsh hikes, and stories around the fire that will keep us warm during the cool desert nights. We love that our father has chosen to share his experience with the world by inviting influential people to follow his footsteps. As Mike always says: “Everyone has their own mountain to climb”, but how will the world realize this if we do not seek to spread the word?! Following this short piece of adventure these journalists, photographers and soon-to-be explorers will return to their respective homes around the globe and share their journey through words and images, in hopes of maybe causing a ripple-effect: to encourage one person after the other to step out of their comfort zone, to discover the planet, understand its importance, and act accordingly to preserve it and explore it! Each one us has their own notion of exploration, we do not all need to circumnavigate the equator, climb 8 thousand meter peaks, or ski to the North Pole in complete darkness, as our ambitious father would do! We simply wish for the world to take a leap of faith and step out there in search of a deeper meaning to life. By discovering earth, you will discover yourself, your limits: which you will then strive to push further, your passions: which will then expand, and your purpose: which might see new horizons.

Keep on exploring,
Annika & Jessica

Mike is in a constant state of travel and adventure , so keep up to date on all his expeditions !