2008 is proving to be a very trying season…. This year the South East trade winds which generally blow constantly from May to October decided to take a two week break in August…. The end result of which was that the seas around Seychelles have remained clear and blue with very little plankton productivity.
As a consequence there have been very few whale sharks around with our aerial surveys generally running at less than one shark per hour, compared to our maximum annual average of just below 7 per hour in 2006!
Activities were further delayed when our microlight aircraft was flipped over by prop-wash rotors on the runway, necessitating us to rapidly import another aircraft to continue the season…
Then the weather continued to conspire against us by developing a tropical depression (which matched the mood of the monitoring team!) that stopped surveys for a further four days!
So here we are in the last few weeks of the season, but things are back in full swing once again and we are beginning to see increased sighting rates, above three per hour on some days. We have also been able to get numerous photo IDs and biopsy samples and whale shark Copepods for DNA analysis.
The Save Our Seas funded satellite tags have also arrived and, fingers crossed, we hope to have an action packed end to the season!