Launch of our research boat
October 19, 2009 by dyertrust
by DICTs Marine Biologist Alison Towner
Hello to all the shark supporters and welcome to the first blog for the DICT white shark research program. We are so excited to finally have contact with all of those who have donated towards our shark project and aim to keep you fully informed on a monthly basis of any progress made.
The boat has been built and is standing gleaming and ready to go! Just a few adjustments need to be made to her trailer. Lwazi is a 9m long catamaran that has been modified perfectly into a fantastic and extremely practical DICT research boat. The old Lwazi used to be called Black Cat and was used for various film shoots and documentaries on great whites (specifically in the 90s) made in Gansbaai. Now it has had a complete revamp (and make over) with a newly modified hull, extended bow- brand new steel work railings, a beautiful fly deck (perfect for shark spotting) and numerous extra storage compartments added. The name Lwazi means to Knowledge in Xhosa and reflects exactly what the DICT intends it to do with it! One really nice thing about this boat is that it is really low to the water which for tracking white sharks manually is imperative. We cannot wait to get her on the sea and have a few practice runs even if it just means visiting the tracking areas and making preliminary observations for now!
The shark research application with University of Cape Town (UCT) is pending, and we are getting there slowly but surely! To set up an extensive research project takes careful organisation. We were very excited to get out and start sampling early in spring but these things take careful planning and time management is of paramount importance to prevent complications further down the line and attain the best possible data and results that can be taken to anyone involved in the research field, I am sure you will understand.
We are really excited to have the collaboration of Dr Malcolm Smale (a very experienced shark expert/scientist from Port Elizabeth museum) on our team. Malcolm will co supervise the project together with Prof. Les Underhill from UCT.