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).

On the 24th of March 2004,we welcome Jennifer LEE from Arcadia in California, USA.

With Benjamin leaving, we welcomed Jennifer LEE on board our team. On Thursday the 25th of March 2004, we were invited on board Barracuda (Shark Diving Unlimited) again... What a day: five different White Sharks, beautiful weather, clear water and flat sea... and cage diving! Not great from a scientific point of view as four of the five Sharks refused to expose their dorsal fins for identification, but...
... but ... one small Shark visited our boat for quite a while and she really made the day! This Shark was so curious and relaxed, she just poked her head gently and slowly alongside the cage and the back of the boat... Amazing and beautiful Shark! Jennifer went into the cage, and since most divers on the boat were soon cold, I also jumped into the cage with Ivan. Great fun!
On Friday the 26th of March 2004, the sea got quite rough from a big storm offshore, and we remained on shore... In the evening, we had a delicious Yellowtail braai accompanied by a homemade beer bread for Richard and Anne's last evening.
Read what Richard Atkinson had to say about his experience at the White Shark Trust Field Research Assistantship...

My time at the White Shark Trust feels an age ago, even though it was only 4 months ago.

I was research assistant between February and April 2004, and the experience is one I am sure I will never forget!

My background is in freshwater fisheries and ecology, so I see quite a few different species of fish, but nothing (and I mean nothing!!) could have prepared me for these awesome, magnificent animals.  The first sighting of a Great White is one of the most memorable. First you see the dorsal, and then a mile or two behind the top of the tail – wow! The largest shark I encountered was a mighty 5.5 metre specimen, which circled Michael’s 6.5metre boat ‘Lamnidae’ for what seemed hours.

The balance between research/study of GWS and the fun between Mike, Tracey and the assistants was spot on! What was excellent about working on Lamnidae was you felt as you were part of a worthwhile research project, carrying out work which will eventually help us understand and preserve GWS long into the future.

I would just like to thank the Scholls for their hospitality and humour whilst I was staying with them.  The humour ‘bit’ is essential if you are wanting to work on Lamnidae  – as you are exposed to Michael’s jokes for up to 6 hours a day.

I am hoping to return to Gansbaai in June/July next year with my daughter Emily – if that’s ok Mr and Mrs Scholl!!?

Thanks again

Richard Atkinson