Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Does green mean go?

Anna and I enjoying the good conditions...

Just a quick up-date.
The weather has finally started to play along but of course no one bothered to tell the whale sharks about that. We have been flying consecutively for the last 10 days (and some before that too) but thus far these somewhat elusive spotty creatures have not made an appearance – yet. It is somewhat puzzling. In essence it is exactly this type of occurrence that made marine science what it is today. The ‘why?’ question (in this case!) being foremost in our minds. It is a rather intriguing puzzle (Something I elude more about in my book - Wings and Whale Sharks. :) but trying to piece together why they are not here is a tricky affair. There are of course a whole range of variables to take into consideration which makes it difficult to make it an exact science (which it is actually – kind of like the weather ;)

The water last week has been exceptionally clear. We had areas with close to (if not!) 40m of underwater visibility. For mid-September this is rather unusual. This time of year the water is often more turbid with plankton bits floating in the water making for abundant whale sharks. Of course the water clarity was broadcasting the lack of their popular food stuff – a logical explanation why there is now a lack or rather, a complete absence of whale sharks! (Of course the reason as to why the water is so clear i.e. the lack of plankton is another story all together.

Exceptional water clarity for September...

This week though there has been a slight shift in the current patterns. There seems to be an accumulation of “green” water regions in all the bays on the windward side of the island. These areas are very apparent from the air and are – as we pilots like to put it, a good sign. Though the greenish tinge to the water is not necessarily the plankton type that whale sharks like, it most probably is a predecessor to the good stuff and we are all waiting with abated breath (though it could be a week or two for the plankton life cycle to kick in).
In the meantime we have been flying and taking up the interns and others that are keen to see what the survey flights are all about. Here are a few pics of those – notice too the exceptional water clarity.

Wish you were here!


PS: Spot the green line running down the middle of the pic - blue on the right and green on the left.

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