The week I held a shark

This past week has been full of mixed emotions. Pure elation, extreme weirdness, unwanted sadness.

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The sadness came with the departure of the lovely Mat! His stint at Sleepy House came to an end this week. He’s off to go on amazing adventures in Madagascar and Mozambique! Although it is weird not having our Belgian boy around, I always try and find silver linings for situations. And I am so glad that I have a new friend who I get to miss. That’s a nice thing to gain I think. Even though it is rubbish to say goodbye!

Before Mat left, we had an extremely exciting encounter! We were on a fishing observation trip together and had two surprise catches. The first was a beautiful marbled electric ray. Mat handled it carefully and showed me the steps of what body measurements to take and how to sex it. The one we had was an adult male. The sex can be distinguished through the presence or absence of claspers. I won’t go too science-y, but thought it was an interesting fact! He explained the differences between sharks and rays to me. There are a couple of intermediate species you see… The Guitar fish is one of them. And so is the Angel shark. We had not long released the ray back into the sea when an Angel shark was on board. Again, Mat talked me through the measurements and how to sex them. This time we had a female. No claspers present! She was utterly beautiful. She was released successfully back into the Mediterranean sea. We looked into the conservation status of the Angel shark. They are considered extinct in this region, so a record like this is so important!

I am still loving my Cyprus life. Office stints for my PhD work are broken up by field work. Perfect life really! The birds are getting more vocal each day. I was walking home from Goat Shed (the office) the other day and just stood for a moment to watch two Sardinian warblers hopping along the fence.

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This morning we were putting up more Great tit nest boxes. The view from the mountain road was breathtaking. The forest itself was like something from a fairytale. Delicate orchids have started emerging from the carpet of pine needles. I imagine they’d be a lovely home for a fairy or two!

I am loving my Cyprus family. I’m smiling every day!

We make amazing cake. We have amazing group cuddles. And they fully embrace my weirdness!

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