Expedition Journal

April 21, 1996
Fantastic Day

I arrived at Key Jason Friday (4/19) early in the evening from Las Vegas, Nevada. We crossed three time zones so at midnight, I still wasn't tired but had to get up at 5:00am (2:00am my time) to prepare for an adventure on the Shark Tracking Boat. So, after less than 4 hours of sleep, I got up, had breakfast, and headed for a vessel named "Fantastic II". Our experience was truly "fantastic"! We (two scientists from Mote Marine Lab, two crew members, two Student Argonauts and me) arrived at Sand Island about one hour after leaving the dock and immediately placed two hydrophones in the water attempting to pick-up signals from two sharks (named Bob and Martha) that where tagged last week. We quickly found both of them on the reef where they stayed for most of the day. At one time we spotted 7-8 other large Carribean Reef Sharks on the reef so we decided to try to catch another shark to tag, but had some difficulty. First of all, the Reef Shark apparently didn't like our bait - they swam right passed it. We switched to a different type of bait which they readily took. We hooked two which, unfortunately, managed to get away by breaking our line over sharp objects on the reef. We next used a fishing kite (way cool!) to deliver our bait to an area beyond the reach of our casting. We still didn't catch any new sharks....perhaps next time. We learned that the transmitters that are inserted into the dorsal fin of the shark emits a signal for up to two weeks and then the attaching wired breaks and the only portion that remains is a normal shark tag that may be sent in when the shark is captured. We had a GREAT day!!!

Betsy Berg
Teacher Argonaut

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Gene Carl Feldman (gene@seawifs.gsfc.nasa.gov) (301) 286-9428
Todd Carlo Viola, JASON Foundation for Education (todd@jason.org)
Revised: 15 April 1996