The other day I had a front row seat for what felt like a public television nature special. I got to see the research vessel Ocearch dock beside my drawbridge. They have been here in Jacksonville, Florida, tagging great white sharks off our coast.
There have been slide shows, TV reports, and newspaper articles that do this topic more justice than I ever could, and much talk around town regarding Lydia and Mary Lee, two of the sharks they have tagged and are now tracking, one of whom came within 200 yards of our most popular beach (which kind of makes you think).
For a very large city that is so sleepy that it behaves like a small town, this is the most excitement we’ve had since we hosted Superbowl XXXIX and got roundly criticized for how unsophisticated we are. We even made a ham-handed bid for the 2016 Olympics, but quickly came to our senses. We just don’t have the infrastructure for it.
Even so, I love the fact that we have been hosting this research vessel, and actually making a scientific impact. It’s a refreshing change, and a quite welcome one. If you go to the Ocearch Facebook Page, you can see an excellent video of them discussing their time here in Jacksonville and how welcome they felt. (You can even catch a glimpse of one of my bridges.) They say they’ll miss us. We’ll miss them even more.