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

Anna PEZALLA (Oak Park, Illinois, USA), Benjamin WESTROPE (Wilmington, North Carolina, USA), Richard P.A. ATKINSON (Harrogate, North Yorkshire, England), and Benjamin De RIDDER (Schotten, Belgium).

On Monday the 22nd of March 2004, we left the harbour early, before the low spring tide, on board Barracuda (Shark Diving Unlimited)... We observed seven different White Sharks in less than four hours! Benjamin (from Belgium) stayed at home as he did not feel too well (not from partying this time though).
Since Cape Nature Conservation does not allow research to be conducted within Shark Alley (don't ask why?), I am even more thankful to Shark Diving Unlimited for inviting us to join them on Barracuda as we can then carry on collecting information in that restricted area. The commercial operators are allowed within the Dyer Island Channel provided that they pay a dayly fee (oh, that is why!).
On Tuesday the 23rd of March 2004, we were once more invited by Shark Diving Unlimited to join them on board Barracuda. Good thing since the ocean was quite rough, and would have proven very uncomfortable on Lamnidae. We observed seven different White Sharks. Benjamin was still sick and Anne stayed at home resting.
In the afternoon, we drove through the Dyer Island / Geyser Rock Channel or Shark Alley to look at the permanent Cape Fure Seal colony on Geyser Rock.

One Seal showed signs of a recent encounter with a White Shark (below).

Benjamin was sick for three days... and finally visited a doctor and diagnosed with a mysterious infection of both ears. He was prescribed with some strong medicine and antibiotics, and was advised by the doctor not to go to sea anymore. On Thursday the 25th of March, he left our program prematurely to enjoy his last few days in South Africa. But Benjamin will come back to South Africa in May to continue his volunteer position at the Primate project in Pringle Bay, and he will come back to Gansbaai a bit later in the year...
On the 24th of March 2004, I drove to Cape Town with Ben and Richard to pick up Jennifer Lee at the airport. Ben also had to apply for an extension for his Visa since he is staying longer than the normal three-month period.