The White Shark Trust Field Research Assistantship is proud to introduce you to our assistants:

Alan DUNCAN (Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland), Chris MILNES (Grantham, Lincolnshire, England), and Andy CASAGRANDE (Santa Cruz, California, USA).

We welcome back Polly CROUCH who was here a year ago from October through December 2002. From London (England) also, her cousin, Alice CLARKE, joined us this year in their adventures with the Great White Sharks...

Friday the 3rd of October 2003... Overcast but very nice Shark day... Andy's second day... Polly and Alice's first day... The three were invited to jump onto Stan, the commercial cage diving boat of Shark Diving Unlimited, to go dive into the Shark cage. The visibility was quite good and they had a great dive!!! Not bad for a first day...
Once Andy, Polly and Alices's dive over (under the jealous looks of Alan and Chris), they joined us back on Lamnidae.

We observed 12 different White Sharks today... on one occasion, two Sharks swam parallel next to one another for a few meters, checking each other out, but remaining slow and calm (right). That was amazing!

Polly Crouch participated in the White Shark Trust Field Research Assistantship from the 1st of October through 15th of December 2002, and again from the 1st of October through the 15th of November 2003. Below is her comment about her experience...
It is rare that something you have looked forward to for almost a year turns out to be even better than anticipated. Working with the sharks and the Scholls was certainly one of those times.

Two things in particular struck me about the sharks. Firstly that they are a fascinating combination of being both curious and cautious. Secondly that individuals each have their own behavioral traits, some being so full of personality they earn themselves nick-names, such as Stoney. This particular shark was more interested in lazily investigating the boat, itís engines and us on board than making any attempt to go for the bait.

Days when the weather was not permitting for us to go out on the boat we would walk along the beautiful coastline looking at Southern Right whales and a variety of smaller fynbos dwelling creatures. The Gansbaai Mountain is also an enjoyable climb. Or, of course the lazy option of reading.

When the days are followed by a braai (or to the rest of the world aside form South Africa a barbecue) you feel increasingly convinced you never want to leave. So as all such things must come to an end I realised that coming back was the only solution. So a year later I returned to enjoy some more time with the sharks and people of Gansbaai.

Polly Crouch