We had a wonderful evening in Rookery Bay Reserve and the glorious Ten Thousand Islands last week with fisheries biologist Pat O’Donnell. The evening began with a large mullet jumping into the boat onto the bow. Its bad fortune was our good luck: more shark bait, and, more sharks than we ever expected.
That night we caught and released 25 sharks, tying Patrick's previous record for one night!
We were very active catching, measuring, tagging and releasing the sharks as quickly as possible. When there are a great number of sharks on board at the same time one must concentrate on the jobs to be done. We did not even stop to eat or drink during the evening! We were all very happily engrossed in our mission -- getting the necessary data and returning the animals back into the water safely. And we were all very excited at our good fortune.
At one point we had three volunteers hanging over the side of the boat each with a shark in their hands ventilating it while others did measuring, etc. Of the 25 total sharks, 23 were mature bonnetheads and two were juvenile bull sharks. The longest shark, a juvenile bull, was 1,060 mm (41").
The evening was indeed wonderful. We are all very fortunate to be volunteers with the Rookery Bay Reserve. Working with Patrick and the sharks is awesome. Nowhere else can one see nature and get involved so closely. Patrick is a great, patient teacher. We are truly lucky.
Paulette Carbelli, Shark Research Volunteer