Congratulations to Carina & Jose - our newest Shark Conservation Divers.
They joined Blue Guru's 2 day trip earlier this month and completed 2 Shark Conservation dives at Richelieu Rock. Sadly we did not see any sharks during these dives. However the pair were lucky enough to spot a Whale Shark a few days earlier at the end of a Blue Guru Surin day trip. Typically on the next 2 day trip, 3 whale sharks were seen! Can't guarantee nature - just got to be in the right place at the right time!!
Despite the lack of shark sightings during the training dives, they learnt about the biology of sharks, threats faced & conservation efforts they can support. Again typically, a snorkeler on the trip saw 5 black tip reef sharks during our 1st dive in Surin and another one during our 2nd dive there. Snorkelers tend to see more black tip sharks in Surin than divers do, as the divers' bubbles and movement through the water seem to scare them off. Sharks are right to be more afraid of humans than we should be of them!
Carina & Jose also completed AWARE Fish Identification specialty at Surin Islands where the reef fish are diverse & abundant. Hours were spent with heads in marine ID books that evening on Surin Islands!
The pair contributed to Blue Guru's Ocean Action Project research too, by completing our customer questionnaire about their views on sharks, rays & fishing boats in the National Park. Alarmingly at Richelieu Rock we saw 12 fishing boats sitting around the National Park perimeter. Whilst these boats may well not have been purposefully fishing for sharks, by-catch and fishing net debris pose significant threats to shark populations. Supported by Project AWARE Foundation this year, Blue Guru's Ocean Action Project aims to gather sufficient data to illustrate that sharks & rays are worth more alive for eco-tourism than they are dead for the fishing industry.
As part of our ongoing research, let's hope we soon see some sharks or rays at our newest dive site - HTMS Prathong. The long awaiting sinking of the Thai/US naval ship happened on 14th March - whilst we were doing our Shark Conservation dives at Richelieu! Again, typical timing!! Watch this space for updates on marine life seen during our initial Ocean Action Project surveys on this new Koh Phra Thong offshore site. How exciting?!