Monday, February 21, 2011

Part II: Blue Shark rescue in La Jolla Cove

Part II
(September 13, 1999)
So, I grabbed the marlin lure and tied to pull the line free of the shark, immediately the Blue Shark went berserk at the other end and all the fish scattered.  Oops! immediately releasing the line I though "well, guess he gets to keep the lure for awhile. 

John was looking at me and his eyes in his mask were looking a little incredulous, actually, short of popping out of his mask.  He's obviously thinking "Bloody crazy mate, let the thing go it's way."  So, we continue on out across the sand patch and through the north end of the kelp to the outer reef wondering what will happen to our Blue friend.  After spending 20 minutes on the outer reef and seeing lots of cool animals and stuff John had about 1600 psi of air left.  We turned to head back from the east side of the kelp patch  towards the Cove 500 yards away at 220 degrees on the compass.  We crossed the sand patch entering into the south end of the kelp patch about 50 yard east of where we entered it on the way out.  

Jeepers! Looking down into the rocks from about 15 feet off the bottom we see our friend the Blue Shark again.  Only this time he is down on the bottom, motionless (is it dead?) in the rocks.  It is held fast by monofiliment line that has wrapped the rocks behind him.  He must have gone to the east, encountered a wall of kelp forest at that end of the U shaped patch of kelp and decided to turn west out of the forest back to open sea.  But, this gave the marlin lure he was trailing a chance to settle out of the water column onto the bottom snagging him in the rocks.

Wow, there he was trapped and if he isn't dead yet he definitely will be soon if he didn't get loose.  At this point a KPBS show on tagging Tiger Sharks around Cancun, Mexico comes to my mind.  A scientist hired Mexicans with pongas (small skiffs) to go out with them fishing for Tigers to tag for research purposes. In the film, the Tiger Sharks would be pulled in alongside the boat.  Once alongside the ponga they grabbed it by it's tail and rolled it on its back for tagging.  Immediately after being rolled on there backs the Tiger Sharks went limp, like knocked out. That was so interesting and bizarre.

So, I m thinking, "Wonder if that will work with a Blue Shark."  Remember now, I have a witness to this story!  I do an air check:  1000 psi left. Time enough I think.  So, I get about 10 feet over the Blue and start exhaling slowly from neutral buoyancy to negative, thus descending very slowly onto the shark.....Contact!!! He trys hard to escape.  But, he is pinned immediately and with one hand on his tail I roll him over on his back.  Well guess what, yep it works on Blue sharks, at least this one anyway.  He just went limp in my hands. Now I have one hand holding him firmly by the tail and the other on his tummy keeping him down. He is about 6 feet long and not moving at all.  For the first time I see clearly now that there is a big treble hook that has him firmly by his left pectoral fin.  The hook is now to my right as I hold him on his back.  Yikes!  What now?........(part III to come shortly)

Rod Watkins

No comments:

Post a Comment