Today our 4-H group with out with Coastal Marine Education and Research Academy out of Dunedin. Alan and Moriah provided an excellent education experience full of hands on learning and amazing experiences. We learned a lot about the research and field experience they give to college students. We boarded the research boat and headed out to Anclote Key for some research of our own.
I didn’t want to touch the bait. So I watched as all my friends helped bait all the hooks for the long line. I did bait the squid on the bait rod eventually. After some waiting we got out first catch! Alan landed a wonderful nurse shark. We got to work with our research. We had to measure, tag, sex and release the shark. All the data is recorded and linked to the tag number on the shark. B and I got to help release the nurse shark. I was so excited! I absolutely loved the feel of its scales. Back to fishing for bait while we wait for more sharks. I held that pole for an hour and never caught a thing. Whenever Anastasia took the pole she would catch fish after fish…me…nothing! Everyone jumped in for a cool off. I didn’t to. Eventually a friend pushed me in. I wasn’t happy but realized it wasn’t so bad and just dealt with it. I was about to jump back in and the “shark on” call came again. Everyone scrambled out fo the water and to the safety zone. Alan reeled and Moriah netted and brought in a juvenile bonnet head shark. We worked fast to collect the data and get it back into the water. B got to tag the shark for tracking purposes. We finished with the pole fishing and went to get the 2nd long line out of the water. We didn’t think we had anything but the very end of the line we had caught a black tip shark! Alan landed it quickly and we waited a few seconds for it to talk down before we got to work. Maleah was on water this time. Dominic, because of his strength, got the tail! Miriam was in charge of stabilizing the upper body and pectoral fins. Alan showed us the sharp teeth! Wyatt tagged it. Then Liberty took the tail with Dominic to turn and release it off the boat! We all worked together to get the job done quickly! What a great 4-H group we have! A LITTLE GOOFY TOO! Thanks Alan and Moriah with CMERA for a wonderful and educational day!