Angie Heriot (Studying: BA Environmental Science) from Shark Bay Western Australia.
My passion for the environment grew at young age the more I learnt about the oceans ecosystem the more I wanted to find out. I heard about Whale Shark Mexico through Science contacts and social media.
As soon as I read about the project with the whale sharks and the NGO’S values and aims I jumped at the opportunity to become an intern.
My self and the other three interns were housed in a beautiful spacious home with hot running water (perfect after a day of swimming). The other interns (Daphne and Zuska) and I shared an amazing adventure with lots of laughs, firsts and perfect moments. Although I can’t say it was all fun and games. All three of us put in the hard work and long days with a huge self-reward in the end.
We would wake up in the morning have breakfast and by 8am we would bike down to the local marina and meet our main field researcher Darren Whitehead. Once we found a shark one intern would stay on the boat and collect data such as shark behaviour, an es-timated length etc. the other interns in the water would take a serious of photographic shark ID’S. Our survey day would last any were between 3-5 hours. We would finish our survey with $10 peso ($0.80 AUD) fish tacos and a short siesta before our afternoon the office began.
All the data we had collected over the morning than had to be transcribed into a new copy and then processed though the computer. We would use the I3S shark ID programme to id the sur-veyed sharks. While taking ID photo’s we would also take injury photos with these’s scar pho-tos we would: Analyse age of injury, place of injury and caused e.g. boat propellers.
Our work wasn’t always just in the field, I was lucky enough to attend and partici-pate in multiple eco festivals that consisted of whale shark conservation, Mining protests, surf carnivals. While at these events we would participate in Educa-tion whale shark conserva-tion, face painting, and proudly representing Whale shark Mexico.
I would recommend to any hard working and self-motivated person to volunteer for Whale Shark Mexico as it was a real eye opener into the research world and full of life changing experiences with likeminded people.