Announcing Walker Nambu! Walker sailed with the Team for the first seventeen days of our voyage and was an incredible asset to have aboard. Once he gained his sea legs, his invaluable experience and familiarity with sharks and tagging techniques made him our de facto shark scientist. It’s safe to say that without him, our shark research endeavors would have been much more difficult (and when it comes to working with sharks, you have plenty of difficulties to begin with).
Unsurprisingly, Walker is still studying sharks. These days he’s in the Bahamas at the Bimini Shark Lab, which we briefly visited towards the end of our journey.
Last year I graduated from Eckerd College with my good friend and roommate, Grant Bemis. I was lucky enough to be invited to join Grant and the With the Winds crew for their epic off shore journey! Being a marine science major with a strong background in fishing, cooking, and tagging, I thought I could be of great help. Unfortunately, I was sick the first five days off shore and the only way I could help was by involuntarily chumming the water… Luckily, Big Uncle John came up with a seasickness cure. I was able to bounce back, happily cooking, catching fish, and assisting with sampling as we made our way from Beaufort, NC down to St. John, USVI.
In December of 2014, I had an internship with White Shark Africa tagging smooth hammerheads and identifying white sharks. I taught Grant and Henry shark tagging and handling techniques that I learned while interning. I brought a plethora of fishing gear, a shark stretcher, and several m-dart tags from NOAA. On our ten-day offshore voyage and my subsequent week in the US Virgin Islands, we were able to catch mahi mahi, wahoo, horse-eye jack, snapper and an eight-foot nurse shark. I felt very grateful to be part of something so profound and relevant to our oceans today.
Currently, I am a research volunteer at the Bimini Shark Lab! I am here for about four months studying the animals I love. The lab does a multitude of different research from long-term studies such as PIT (Passive Integrated Transponder), long lines, and great hammerhead research, to more short-term projects done by PhD and Masters students. For more information about what we are currently doing you can check out the web page at www.biminisharklab.com or search us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
I had an outstanding time with Henry and Grant. I learned a lot about sailing, environmental research, and oceanography, and I found the experience to be nothing short of extraordinary. The things we learned and the people we met will never be forgotten. Hope to collaborate with you guys again!