My name is Hanae, I am from Reunion Island and I am currently doing an internship at the Save Our Seas Shark Centre. I could not have wished for a better placement as I have always been interested in environmental issues. On the 15th of July, I had the exceptional opportunity to join Adrian and his team for a day out on the research boat. We left the harbor at 6:45 am and it was still pretty dark when we reached the usual spot: Seal Island.
We first waited for predations and observed 7 of them, mostly unsuccessful. But still, it was very impressive to see seals escaping from shark jaws.
The weather was great, the sea was calm, everything was perfect.
After a gorgeous sunrise over the mountains, we dropped the anchor and the team started its usual observation: each shark that visits the boat is described from its size to the marks on its body. The time and place of their visits is recorded and the fins are photographed in order to precisely identify each individual.
By the end of the day, we had seen 9 different sharks. It was a busy day for the whole team. We got back to the harbor at 3 pm.
It was really interesting for me to have such an experience with them, it definitely changed the way I see sharks. They are no longer these dangerous and dark animals some people can think they just are. They can be dangerous, but if we could just give the idea of sharks and human beings living together a chance we would find out that they can also be curious and playful animals.
We just had about 3 shark attacks the last 4 weeks in Reunion Island, and what the authorities want to do is to forbid people to go swimming or surfing. We all know that if they really want to, people will go anyway. That is obviously not a solution, we should try to understand sharks better before taking such drastic measures. A shark centre would be exactly what we need there.
We can learn a lot from sharks if we take time to care enough.