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Science Trip
Photo by Dick Pirie

Shark Spy brief recount

Various —

In September 9H went to participate in the Shark Spy programme run by the Marine Science Department using their vessel the Polaris out of the Marine Studies Centre at Portobello.

The programme was led by Rob Lewis, a Masters student in Marine Science and he is looking at the ecology of the Seven Gilled Shark. This involved setting camera traps at points off the Otago heads. 

Here are some student responses:

Whilst on our way off the heads, we saw many albatrosses, for me personally this was a highlight as I hadn't seen one before out at sea, only at the Albatross Centre. Although we never saw any sharks (except the one we had to dissect) it was a super fun day and I feel like my knowledge of our local sea-life/surroundings is a lot better. I also feel that it has made me realise some of the cool job opportunities there are within not only Dunedin but all over the world, when Rob was talking about doing work in Africa it really made me realise all the options there are for our futures.

On Monday the 16th September 9H went to the aquarium in Portobello to take part in the “shark spy” programme. This involved getting on the marine studies vessel MV Polaris for several hours and putting cameras underwater to video sharks. I loved sitting at the very top of the boat with my classmates, even though it was super cold and very bumpy. I personally loved the bumpy waves, although lots of people got seasick. 9H got to watch one of the scientists dissect a shark, and I found it very cool to watch :)

I met a new friend, and I named him Burt the Bumblebee. Burt is actually a sea slug, but he didn’t seem to mind the name too much :)

Overall, “shark spy” was an amazing day out.

The Shark Spy trip was so much fun! Although the point of the trip was to gather information about the sharks of the harbour, I really enjoyed just being able to explore and have fun on the boat. I was really glad I didn’t get seasick, unlike some of my friends. Probably my least favourite part of the trip was not being able to get away from the awful singing they did to distract themselves. I think I really would’ve enjoyed the bird watching, especially since it was on the roof but I didn’t have a chance to do it since we ran out of time. I also found the shark dissection interesting, once I got over the smell. But my favourite part of the trip was spending time on a boat with my friends, and being able to look at all of the incredible view.

On Monday we went to school in mufti and all the other classes were jealous which was awesome.  We then hopped on a bus which took us to the marine place in Portobello, we basically went straight onto the boat after that. There were a bunch of activities to do while we were still in the harbour.  When we were way out to sea, Rob and the other dudes dropped cameras and bait off the boat, and put a buoy over them and drove to another place and did the same thing. Later we went back to the cameras and picked them up. My favourite bit was either the dissection of the little shark or just being on the boat; boats are awesome!!

Heading on the bus, no one knew what to expect… whether we would see sharks jumping out of the water, or swimming up beside the boat, no one knew. There was a lot of rumour that we would see great whites (started by Thomas), though I highly doubted this, I knew anything could happen.

Whilst we were walking down to the boat everyone's anxiety levels were high, the general vibe was excited but nervous. A few of my friends were really worried about getting seasick, I was really wanting it to be bumpy and not so good weather but at the same time, that's super unfair to my friends. We were followed by some spectacular weather and really still calm conditions. Even though it was calm, two of my friends still managed to get seasick!