Shane and Quinn had marked the sample sites previously, and we were able to set our traps relatively quickly. That gave us time to investigate a potential restoration site and familiarize ourselves with the smaller creeks that stem from Bidwell’s before retrieving some of the traps placed on top of the reef. In our travels we saw Royal Terns (Thalasseus maximus) and double-crested Cormorants (Phalacrocorax auritus ) feeding on numerous schools of baitfish, a pod of about 12 dolphin swimming towards the ocean, and even a Northern Gannet (Morus bassanus) dive bombing offshore. The ospreys were working the water as well so it was a great day to see nature at work on the bay.
Was that really the radio alert or did we hear it wrong?
Memories of "Jaws" came to mind and “what if” conversations ensued as we headed to Bidwell’s Creek and then on to the reef site. It was pretty exciting even though we knew that it was highly unlikely we would see a shark that day. We also learned that Quinn had never seen "Jaws", which meant someone else had to say: "We're gonna need a bigger boat."
Over the two day event, we collected a number of blue crabs (Callinectes sapidus), a pin fish (Lagodon rhomboides), several mud crabs and amphipods, as well as a smooth dogfish. Remarkably, the dogfish stuffed its 20” body into our small trap. We are guessing it was foraging close to the reef and feeding on the little crabs and invertebrates. Though it wasn’t a 14 foot White Shark, it was quite a find and we lived to blog another day. See you in two weeks with more exciting adventure stories from the deck of the American Littoral Society’s R/V Great Auk.