Stranded at sea! The waters got so rough out here crews were forced to suspend their mission. The difficult task of getting off out boat and onto the smaller one taking us to and from land turned impossible. My photographer Jerry took a flying leap on board, but the seas were so choppy it became far too dangerous for me to try jumping over. He's now on his way to dry land and I'm still on board with the crew...and our camera. They're packing everything up now and will find another way to get me to land.
The team planned on staying out today until 5 pm but called it a day before 3 p.m. And they expect rough weather in the next few days. I'm told at this point, it will be Friday at the earliest before they can get back out to continue searching for sharks. Sunday will be their final day off Jacksonville's coast.
We've got company! Nope, they're not the animals crews were hoping to have on board. Two pelicans swooped in and landed on deck moments ago. Many of them have been hanging out in the water next to out boat as crew members throw tuna in to the water to try attracting a great white shark.
The team is still keeping a watchful eye on the water, in hopes the shark we spotted this morning will make another pass through the area.
Lunch is Served (1:30 p.m.)
Lunch is served. It has been several hours since the team last spotted the shark. So they took advantage of the down time and grabbed some grub. And no, that's not a sub from the supermarket. The crew cut the bread and stuffed it themselves. And it was tasty!
It's been slow back on the main boat. A small team is still out on the water in a smaller boat hoping to encounter the shark again. It's been a picture perfect day for it.
Every member of the team is ready to go in a moments notice though if one is caught.
Shark Bait (12 p.m.)
This is what you call shark bait. It's tuna and throughout the day they are throwing it into the water to try drawing a shark over to the immediate area. But this process doesn't do much in terms of capturing a shark. The crew tells me really the shark needs to be swimming through the area on its own because it won't be able to smell the bait from very far away.
It's been over an hour now since the team spotted what they think was a 15 foot shark. I'm told she (they call it a she until they know for sure) was heading south at a pretty good clip but they are hoping she will circle back around at some point today.
One boat remains out on the water staking out a spot they hope she will return to. The rest of the team is on standby.
Shark size Downsized (11:30 a.m.)
The team is still out on the water trying to track down the shark. The crew made visual contact with the shark that had initially been spotted from the air. From the water, their guess is it is about 15 feet, which is larger than the one they captured Sunday. The crew says they were attempting to bait the shark when a passing boat spooked it and they lost contact. But they say they're feeling confident the shark will likely return to the area.
Meanwhile, back on board our boat the science and research team is running through their game plan. Because their time with the shark is so brief, everyone has to be clear on their roles and responsibilities.
18-20 foot shark spotted (11 a.m.)
The team is still out in the water trying to track down the shark that was spotted from a plane overhead. The areal component is important because it's often easier to spot them that way.
They've now been out for about 45 minutes trying to spot the shark again. Initial aerial reports indicated it was a very large shark, possibly 18-20 feet.
We Spotted a Shark (10:15 a.m.)
A shark has just been spotted! Crews jumped into the raft and hit the open water for the first time this morning. A smaller boat met them out there and the team is currently searching for a sign as to where the shark is now.
On board our boat, the team is making sure the lift is ready and the rail around it is clear. Once they make a catch, the countdown clock is on to get their work done.
[GREAT WHITE SHARK TAGGED & RELEASED OFF THE COAST OF JACKSONVILLE]
The Big Lift (10 a.m.)
That's the lift. Once the team catches a Great White shark, they pull it onto the platform and lift it out of the water. They have a very small window of time to get all their work done at that point.
In 15 minutes, they will get the shark out of the water, draw blood samples and fit it with several state of the art tracking devices. One goes in the abdomen. Another gets screwed into a fin. The blood allows scientists to learn more about the animal, like if it is pregnant or has any diseases.
The tracking device on the fin allows the team and the world to track the shark
for several years. Every time that fin hits the surface it sends out a ping. Those register online
and allow the shark to be tracked.
Crews are still waiting on Lydia, the shark tagged Sunday, to make her first ping since being released off the coast of Atlantic Beach.
Chumming Along (9:30 a.m.)
It's hard to tell, but there is a sheen on the water next to our boat. The team baited the water to try to lure over the great white sharks. It's called "chumming." While this won't draw them over from great distances, if they are swimming through or in the area, this should be enough to pique their interest and come check it out. That's what crews are currently waiting for.
It's a process the team didn't have to do to catch Lydia on Sunday. When they arrived to this location, she was already here. So that makes them confident this is a spot more great whites could swim through.
What Happened to Genie?
Your questions answered! I'm working to answer anything you want to know about the shark tagging while I'm on board with the team.
We received this question on Facebook: "What happened to genie, she hasn't pinged since Jan 19th".
Here's your answer Cameron:
Chris Fischer with Ocearch says the sharks only ping when their fin hits the surface. And they can breathe without coming to the surface. They can go for months without registering a ping. And on Genie, she does what's called a Z Ping, where she comes up so briefly it doesn't always register. But she's still out there!
Tracking Sharks (9 a.m.)
We are currently positioned at the mouth of the St Johns River. This is actually the same spot Ocearch crews located the Great White Shark named Lydia on Sunday. The team will spend the day scouring the waters hoping another Great White will come through the same path Lydia took.
Chris Fischer says they equipped Lydia with state of the art tracking technology and will be able to learn more than ever before about the animal.
Getting Started (8:30 a.m.)
JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. -- This morning we are out with Ocearch, looking for Great White sharks. Ocearch tagged and released a Great White named Lydia over the weekend. That's the first time that's ever happened in Jacksonville.
[READ STORY: GREAT WHITE SHARK TAGGED IN JACKSONVILLE
Being out on the sea isn't easy, even starting out. The little boat was rocking back and forth and huge gaps would come between the two boats-we had to jump from one to the other. But we are successfully on board now