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Posted by Lauren Smith on

How’d you like your eggs in the morning? 5th April 2010

How’d you like your eggs in the morning
” – I like mine over the South China Sea….”

By the time it came to leave Aberdeen on the 5th of April, I was literally bursting at the seams (the luggage and myself!). Finally the adventure was here and I couldn’t wait to get started.
I arrived at Aberdeen airport at around 4:30am and began my day with a Ginsters scotch roll! In fact the entire 28 hours of travel featured an extensive amount of food and drink (no surprise to those of you who know me), but I must say even I was filling up by the time it got to the equivalent of 2:30am on the 6th UK time and I was interrupted from watching “new moon” to be handed my 4th meal of the Amsterdam to Manila flight – noodles and a beer! After finishing watching the film and when my thumbs were aching from playing to much in-flight Tetris I managed about 2 hrs sleep before breakfast was upon us.

Queue the song: “How do you like your eggs in the morning?” (I pull up the window blind, and look on the map) “I like mine over the South China Sea…” Ok so I’m hardly a musical genius but I was pleased with myself and as I started humming the song the Filipino guy next to me was most amused – so much so he (Mario) gave me an entire run down of the Philippines, and gave me his number incase I should need any assistance, really helpful!

As we began the final decent into Manila I kept an eye on the outside temperature and was alarmed to find it was 20°C even though we were however many feet still up in the air and it was 8:00am, I think it was about 4°C when I left Aberdeen…. Once landed it was 32°C and the sweating began in earnest…

Hello Philippines let the adventure’s begin!

Posted by Lauren Smith on

Sabbatical April 2010 Introductory Info

The following information and subsequent blogs were originally featured on: http://www.tagsharks.com/lol-lauren-on-location

Dr Lauren E. Smith is a marine biologist who specialises in shark research; she is a keen surfer, freediver and SCUBA diver and loves nothing more than to combine these activities with her passion for sharks.

Lauren says:
Sharks have evolved for over 400 million years, surviving some of the earth’s greatest mass extinctions. They are superbly adapted to their environment: apex predators, intelligent with unique immune systems and yet for all this perfection they are vulnerable particularly to the actions of man.

Therefore I believe that the key way to save these animals is through education; through informed understanding, misrepresentation and fears can be replaced with appreciation, respect and compassion.

It is for these reasons that I have taken a 3 month sabbatical from my current research position based in the North East of Scotland in the UK, and am heading off to the Philippines for as many shark based activities as possible!

The primary reason for me choosing the Philippines is because it is home to a well established shark research laboratory, with an excellent reputation the – Thresher Shark Research and Conservation Project (TSRCP), based on Malapascua Island, off the North East tip of Cebu, where I will be working for 2 months. The TSRCP’s mission statement is as follows:
“To promote and disseminate shark research, education and conservation to a broad local, regional and international public and scientific outreach”.
A statement that I fully endorse and follow when conducting my own shark research.

Please visit the TSRCP page on this site as well as the official website (http://www.threshersharkproject.org/TSRCP/Home.html) for further information.

During my stay in the Philippines I will also be going to visit the whale sharks that descend on the waters of Donsol, located at the Southern tip of Luzon Island for December to May each year. Here I will be getting in the water with the whale sharks and meeting with employees of Donsol EcoTour (http://www.donsolecotour.com/whale_sharks.htm) to find out more about the whale sharks, with a view to developing future research possibilities.

During the first week of June I will be flying to the Republic of Palau, 500 miles east of the Philippines for a 2-week stay. Palau is made up of over 300 volcanic and coral islands, it attracted a lot of media attention in September of last year when it effectively created the worlds first ‘shark sanctuary’ after banning all commercial shark fishing in it’s waters. Here I will be SCUBA diving and freediving and hopefully in doing so observing yet more shark’s in their natural environment.