Friday, June 6, 2014

Boat Trip 2

Today was such a roller coaster. It was pure craziness.

We went out on the boat again today, starting around 8 AM. We didn't get back until around 3:30 PM. We sailed for a little over 2 hours to the south side of one of the barrier islands of the Mississippi Sound. This meant that we were in higher salinity waters. We set a mile-long line called a long line (creative name) and waited for about an hour. Then we pulled up the baited line to see what we caught! Simple and straight forward.

I took my sea sick medicine and was feeling fine, and then a good ways into the trip (around 12 or 1) I just lost it and got sick again. I was so mad at myself! It was horrible timing!

Okay, so pictures. Here we go...get ready, there are some jaw-some pictures this time.

I think I'm putting unbaited hooks for the long line in one of the big buckets. This is before we baited them with mackerel.

These are what the buckets look like. There's 50 hooked lines on each one. We had 2 buckets. That equals 100 hooks for the mile-long long line.

That's our professor...she's great!

I present to you the glamorous step in the process of catching sharks: baiting hooks. I had so much fish guts on my hands; it was awesome. I felt like a real manly biologist.

Here I am taking measurements of dissolved oxygen, temperature, and salinity of the water at the bottom of the water column. We also measured turbidity of the water as well. It was over 3 meters visibility. Really nice.

This was part of the crew putting the odds and ends together so we could start putting out the long line. There were many pulleys involved.

As the long line went out, we clasped each hook onto the line. The things I am holding are timers for the hooks. They went on each hook. When an organism bites the hook and pulls on it, the timer pops and the time is recorded. This tells us how long it had been since it had been hooked. So if the timer said 45 minutes, the organism on the hook would have been on the hook since 45 minutes ago, if that makes any sense.

This is our class giving good "juju" to our long line. Like good luck. Oh, it worked...

We're measuring the turbidity of the water right here. We dropped that black and white disc into the water and measured how far down it would go until we couldn't see it anymore.

Our first shark!! Rhizoprionodon terranovae, also known as the Atlantic sharpnose! We caught a lot of these guys.

We used a wooden board with a measuring stick on it to take different lengths of each catch.

For four of the organisms, we took blood samples from right behind their anal fin. Later we measured glucose and lactate levels for a paper we will have to write next week.

No, we did not catch a shark head. We caught a shark, but then a bigger shark ate the small shark and the big shark got hooked. The circle of life. Apparently this happens often. Hey, it's an easy meal. It makes sense.

This was the culprit. Carcharhinus limbatus, the blacktip shark. About 4 or 5 feet long. Still a juvenile. It was gorgeous, though. Absolutely stunning. I got goosebumps.

Smile for the camera! I think they were trying to get the hook out of its mouth. 

This is when we tagged the blacktip. We tried to tag as many as possible.

 Hey, I'm measuring a shark! Right after this I went to the front of the boat and put my head between my legs because I got super duper seasick. Again. Even when I took sea sick pills. Gosh darn you, medication! Ya didn't help!

THIS! This was the big catch of the day, by far. No questions about it. Sphyrna mokarran, the great hammerhead shark. Seven feet long, and still just a juvenile.

Look at that! Gosh, it was so amazing. So pretty. That dorsal fin is huge! And that head! Our professor told us that they usually only catch a few hammerheads a year, so this was a treat. It was their first hammerhead of the year.

Look at that face. I'll leave y'all with that face right there. It's a pretty kick butt picture. My sea sickness, once again, was worth the trip. Don't you think?

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