We met Liesel today, a shark spotter on Boyes Drive, Cape Town and so did 18 American University students accompanied by 3 lecturers from the Semester at Sea floating University – the MV Explorer. The SAS mission statement read: Semester at Sea’s mission is to educate individuals for leadership, service, and success in shaping our interdependent world. The visit to the Shark Centre’s engagement was significant in helping them meet this goal.
These students embarked on the 100th Voyage setting sail in August from Halifax, Nova Scotia, with 516 undergraduates representing 225 colleges and universities; 30 lifelong learners; and 67 faculty and staff. The around-the-world voyage will last 109 days and explore 11 countries. The SAS is also know as the Institute for Shipboard Education
The presence of these students was significant to the SOSSC, South Africa and Cape Town and we ensure they had delightful weather for the field trip around the Peninsula. Darryl Colenbrander, working on the Coastal Protection Plan for the City of Cape Town, facilitated the tour, sites including Blouberg, Kalk Bay and Glencairn. These sites are some of those that are included in his project, and are significant to the risk management plans for the City regarding the consequences of Global Warming and Climate Change and the very real impact of sea level rise.
At the first Stop on Boyes drive, overlooking Muizenberg, the results of the research emanating from the Shark Spotter programme, over the past 5 years of it’s existence, was shared with the group as well as some pertinent questions and answers from Liesel. The weather, being partly cloudy, made spotting difficult as well as the poor water quality – which was not optimal. The status of the day was explained to the students as well as the basis of the methodology used by the spotters. Liesel, a shark spotter for just short of 4 years, wears her colours, responsibility and specialized sunglasses well!
As they were focusing on Environmental Management in Coastal areas, the stop off point on Boyes Drive gave them a fantastic opportunity to see how waves form and effect of land forms on wave direction. Furthermore, meeting Liesel, the Shark Spotter was a unique oppurtunity to see a successful community based conservation project in action. The students were also treated to the sight of a Southern Right Whale swimming 500m offshore.
Then it was off to the SOS Shark Centre for lunch and a presentation by Lesley Rochat, Executive Director of Education and Awareness SOSSC, detailing the objectives of the Foundation, our Centre and the importance of the projects undertaken by our Centre.
Then, it was off to the SOS Shark Centre for lunch and a presentation by Lesley Rochat, Executive Director of Education and Awareness SOSSC, detailing the objectives of the Foundation, our Centre and the importance of the projects undertaken by our Centre.
The students were in awe of the work that is presently underway at the Save our Seas Shark Centre. On visiting the rocky beach at Dalebrook following the talk, some commented on how similar the marine organisms and kelp were to those found in parts of California.
I do love this job, and the opportunity to share with others; the knowing and those that have no insight, of how much we have to do and the stringent time lines within which we need to act.
Thank you to the City of Cape Town for this opportunity to do just what we need to do – Educate and create an awareness!
Viva the Shark Spotters, Viva
8 October 2009.