Sunday, March 17, 2013

Dispatches from SharkLab

Guest Blog
by Annie Anderson

Like most of you reading this blog, my passion for sharks has been with me since I was a child. My earliest memory was pouring the contents of my fish tank into the bath so I could swim with my colourful finned friends. My second earliest memory was a real telling off from my Mum for said previous earliest memory!

My name is Annie Anderson and I am the founder of Sharks Need Love. This is the first of what I hope will be a series of blogs about life at the world famous Bimini Biological Field Station Foundation (BBFSF) aka SharkLab. I’m picking up the SharkLab Shark Defender Guest blog duties from former assistant lab manager Tyler Clavelle.

In October 2012 I was accepted as a volunteer to help and support SharkLab. The lab is renowned for its work with lemon sharks and I literally couldn’t wait to get there and see my first lemony coloured friend! The lab is located on South Bimini in The Bahamas about 50 miles east of Miami, which is a long 10 hour flight on Virgin Atlantic from my home in Devon, England.

I arrived in Miami to dark clouds and rain from superstorm Hurricane Sandy. All flights to The Bahamas were canceled, so I holed up in a hotel for a couple of days. When the storm finally passed, I boarded a tiny 8-seater packed with other customers’ groceries and was on my way.

Is that a lemon shark near the mangroves?
The view from the plane was epic to say the least. I scanned the horizon for sharks out my window, but almost as soon as we took off I could see a low island approaching. South Bimini, my home for the next six weeks!

The Bahamas: It Just Keeps Getting Better
The Bimini International Airport is a single story building. At first I thought they were ecofriendly because all the doors and windows were open. I soon learned it was because there was no power on the island. It was a complete power cut! The whole island was without electricity, running water, phones, and Internet, which meant that I had no access to my blog, email, Facebook, or Twitter! After the initial shock I got over it because I had finally arrived!

SharkLab: My home and office for six weeks.
I was picked up by Dr. Guttridge and Dr. Gruber in an old pickup truck and we drove down a bumpy, unpaved road to the south end of South Bimini to SharkLab. I’m not sure what I imagined a world famous shark laboratory would look like, maybe something out of a James Bond film, but what I found was a single story building that contained everything I'd know for the next six weeks: dorm beds, a kitchen, a laboratory, and a gaggle of other sun-drenched volunteers. Stay tuned for my next blog where I describe the research and my volunteer activities!

Dr. Guttridge and Dr. Gruber greeted me at the airport.
Annie Anderson is the founder of Sharks Need Love. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Blogger.


Anonymous said...

Cool website Annie. David Smith. Tristan's uncle. X

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