Monthly Archives: January 2014

Entering the New Year

Christmas CampfireMerry Christmas Marine VolunteersMax & YvonneMassive Female at the boatShark & birdVolunteer Blog 23rd Dec – 5th Jan 2014
A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year………..

Now back to the adventure!
Just want to say a big thank you to all the volunteers who have been here over the South African holidays. You really do make a difference to the ease at which we can operate. Lots of mentions in the guest book in the last couple of weeks, you have made a difference in someone’s shark experiences that they will remember for the rest of their lives. You should be proud of yourselves! Well Done!
Slashfin has been using more fuel than usual running three trips a day for the past two weeks. We have been very fortunate seeing 5 – 7 sharks a trip. We do have to remember that Great White Sharks really are seasonal visitors to the Gansbaai area and we are very lucky that we have the chance to see them all year around. This time of year all it takes is one shark to be in a playful mood and the day is a success. A couple of characters in the great white shark world who have been gracing us with their presence recently are Riley (3.7m Male, Satellite Tagged) and Little Roundy (2.8m, Male). Riley is really one of the best sharks on show with nice slow passes right in front of the cage almost rubbing his tummy as he goes by. Also a huge stingray did appear during one of the trips and was actually attempting to grab hold of the bait line right in front of the cage. A few trips due to the low tides meant we did have to launch from Gansbaai harbour but it was a welcome pleasure with some calm mornings making the longer running time really pleasant for everyone. Mother nature really has graced us with beautiful dead flat calm mornings over this busy holiday season.

Whale Whisperer has still been running everyday and whales were seen right up till the New Year. We are coming up to the end of the whale season were the Southern Right Whales migrate back to the sub-Antarctic region for feeding. Still we saw mother’s with their calves and in once we saw a Southern Right mother with two calves. We think she may have adopted this second calve; can you imagine feeding two instead of one? Recently even Bryde’s whales have been seen passing through. Huge schools of birds are massing in certain areas, from Cape Cormorants to Giant Petrels and turns have been impressive out on the water. Last but not least Common Bottlenose Dolphins and Humpback Dolphins have also been entertaining the clients, crew and volunteer’s these last couple of weeks, thanks Mother Nature- you are awesome!!

We have had really good numbers of volunteers over the Christmas and New Year. Thanks for spending this special time of the year with us- your new adopted family. Those who have come and gone over the past couple of weeks a big warm thank Amazing animalsyou and we miss you!!!! Francis Reina (spain), Victoria Andersson (Sweden), Alina Pryazhluna (Russia), Tulin Rumeysa (Turkey), Tatyana Kuprienko (Russia), Denise Fry (US), Joel George (Malaysia). Sheila Kehoe (UK) and Billie Ewing (UK) who visited us for a short week, was great to meet you. Last but not least our local girl Dani Emdin (SA) you have made friends with us all and you are more than welcome back anytime you want look forward to a catch up, see you then.
New arrivals this week we had Brian Stebner (US) and Chris McCormack (AUS) and Rachel Fetherston (Aus) welcome aboard.
Hope everyone had a great and Merry Christmas and all the best for the New Year. Let’s see what the New Year brings and what wonderful things will happen both above and below the water as the journey continues…………..
Written by Sam Hansen and Pictures by Max Aubin

Merry Christmas and a Happy New year

Volunteer Blog 16th – 22nd December 2013

The silly season is upon us…..Christmas……..
Again this week the volunteers have been energetic and kept busy all week, they may be due for a holiday when they get home though.
Slashfin has been back and forth at least twice a day picking up to three trips by the end of the week. The upwelling from the Atlantic Ocean has changed the water temperature to a beautiful refreshing 11.5 degrees at times this week. Seeing from 4 – 9 sharks a trip, slow mornings have built up to more active afternoons. Working in the Dam they have been seeing some entertaining sharks. One newly named Tom Cat (3.3-3.4m) because of the marks on his face and also Little Lumpy (3-3.1m) who has been a hit with the clients and crew. Thanks to Dani Emdin for coming up with the cool name for Tom Cat.
Whale Whisperer has still been running everyday with the Southern Right Whales still hanging around. A few times this week up to 3 pairs of Mother’s and calves have been seen in one trip. Near Pearly Beach one morning a few Calves were displaying their aerial skills in a breaching bonanza in the shallows. Most of the whale sightings have been close encounters with these majestical animals of the sea.
On Monday this week seven new volunteers joined our ranks which was a surprise being so close to Christmas. Victoria Andersson (Sweden), Alina Prazhkina (Russia), Joel George (Malaysia, studying in Australia), Rumeysa Tulin (Turkish), Tatyana Kuprienko (Russia), Denise Fry (USA), Francisco Reina (Spain) welcome aboard team. Monday also sadly saw the departure of Kirsten Rusher from Germany who stayed with us for two weeks. We also lost two other Germans on Friday Lucas Marx (3 weeks) and Lukas Kiemer (extended for almost 2 months) it really was sad to see them leave we had to hold back our tears. Lukas with two other volunteers (Ian and Yeppe) ventured up to Durban and enjoyed the incredible shark diving that this great country has to offer. Congratulations to Lukas as well in completing his PADI Rescue ticket while he was there.
Weather wise we have had quite a nice week, most days you could have lied next to the pool and worked on your tan. On Wednesday this week seven volunteers ventured to Betty’s Bay to see Penguins. It was great to see some really passionate volunteers who wanted to help protect what is left of the penguin population. All worked hard cutting down branches and making bundles that would be placed into the enclosure in due time. Thanks for the hard work guys! Alison Towner (Marine Biologist) gave her lecture on Great White Sharks to the new volunteers on Thursday, which all thoroughly enjoyed. Also a shark egg walk was conducted in the morning with success, and cold ice cream afterwards. Friday afternoon we had a nice relaxing couple of hours down on the beach with a soccer ball and some sun screen. Please visit www.dict.org.za for more on the projects we refer to above.
That really winds up the week; it certainly has been a busy one! Look out for next week’s update as the journey continues for our Volunteers.
Shark and bait

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