Thursday, February 16, 2006

Natal Sharks Board - St. Lucia

Apparently the strike is over at University of Kwazulu-Natal but I haven't noticed since I took off North-East with the Natal Sharks Board to St. Lucia Marine Reserve. A friend of mine, Sean, had been invited to go with Devin and Jeremy from the Sharks Board to assist with tagging sharks up near Sodawana and Raggies Reef and asked if I wanted to come along. We left Tuesday afternoon and drove 2 1/2 hours north to a tourist town of St. Lucia to pick up some provisions then continued North through the game reserve and into Cape Vidal to stay at one of the log cabins. It was so humid and hot, at least 30 degrees and the electricity had been down. We decided to do a bit of a drive through the game reserve and spotted rhinos, waterbuck, kudu, wart hogs, ZEBRAS! It was getting dark so we wrapped up with a mincemeat dinner and off to bed. The divers got up by 4:30am the next morning to prepare the boat while I slepped in until 7:45am and had a small breakfast before hitting the white sand beach. On my walk, I spotted several monkeys and this other fawn watching me. The water was crystal blue, a few waves behind the reefs. It was a fairly empty beach until 10:30am when all these school kids came running onto the beach. The Sharks Board boat came back by 12:30pm for lunch. They had a successful trip and saw about 20+ ragged tooth sharks circling their one of the listening stations they were monitoring. After we cleaned up, we cruised through the game reserve down to the estuary where there were hippos and crocodiles milling around the sea. One thing I noticed were loads of burned stumps throughout the game reserve. These were foreign trees that had been planted here a long time ago. Unfortunately, the trees had been sucking the grasslands dry and in order to bring the reserve back to its natural state, they have unending fields of burned stumps. Hopefully in 20 years the grasslands will once again be the sanctuary it once was.

1 comment:

Digs said...

Hi Kathleen,
It's too bad you couldn't go tagging the sharks with your friends. That would be fun. Chris and Pete are sooo scared of sharks that they almost didn't want to do the dive course.