A Hectic Day

Russ Vetter, Leg III SHARK CRUISE. Tanner Bank has been good to us, producing a variety of sharks and reasonably high catch rates. The only problem has been the swells and wind; the only problem until now, that is! After setting the line from 6 to 7 in the morning, there is typically time for breakfast, working up data, repairing gear, and a bit of free time to shower, do laundry or relax. Today we were summoned to the back deck and informed that the US Navy was going to fire missiles, and we needed to leave the area immediately. Immediately is not quite immediately, with two miles of line and floats in the water.

While a USN helicopter hovered overhead, we madly pulled gear and processed the sharks. This amazing photo shows Chief Scientist Suzy Kohin in the initial stages of calming a blue shark.

 

Satellite tagging was out of the question, but all animals were measured, sexed, tagged with ID tags and sampled for DNA while the Navy patiently waited to push the button. We were instructed to sail due north, so San Nicolas Island has become our new fishing grounds.

San Nicolas produced a very good afternoon haul. We caught 15 animals: 14 sharks and a mola mola! I've described the mola mola, or ocean sunfish, in Tuesday’s blog. The photo below shows this strange critter receiving a pop-off archival tag (PAT). They clearly do not fit in our cradle, but they are so cute and well behaved that tagging them is always fun. ABOARD THE DAVID STARR JORDAN, Off San Nicolas Island.