How Chatham Bars Inn partnered with the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy to spread awareness and save Great White Sharks.
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New England, specifically Cape Cod has traditionally been a migration stop for great white sharks. For years, the seal population was basically gone, and those so were the sharks. Recently grey seal numbers have enthusiastically rebounded and the sharks are following.
Shark populations are under pressure from finning (a cruel practice where fishermen slice off dorsal fins ensuring a long lingering death for the animal to make soup), from bycatch (where commercial fishermen use nets and long lines to catch fish to eat but unintentionally catch sharks, rays, turtles, dolphins etc and they drown),and sharks are even hunted to be used in cosmetic products (avoid anything with squalene in the ingredients).
It’s no secret I love sharks, and mention it every chance I get. They are just incredible apex predators and play a critical role in a healthy ecosystem; they aren’t monsters.
Atlantic White Shark Conservancy works with scientific researchers, community members, government officials, and citizens to research and educate the public to inspire conservation and understanding. They have recently built an interactive museum for Chatham visitors that includes hands on displays and virtual reality games.
Chatham Bars Inn is the grand dame of Cape Cod luxury resorts. It’s situated right on the beach, with fresh seafood, great drinks, and looks like a Vineyard Vines ad. It’s also a member of the American Express Fine Hotel and Resorts Program. I stayed there and had a fabulous time. I would recommend it to anyone.
From May to October guests of Chatham Bars Inn have the opportunity to go on a once in a lifetime tour for a $2500 donation to AWSC. Guests go out on a comfortable boat with a captain and a member of AWSC, and their very own spotter pilot in the sky, Wayne. AWSC will answer all your questions, look for tags on sharks, demonstrate ping and electronic tag equipment, and even take photos for you.
Spotter pilot Wayne, AWSC’s very own Han Solo of the skies, searches the water for sharks and calls in their coordinates so the captain can drive up within feet of the sharks so guests can see them up close (but still entirely safe) and check for tags. The sharks are totally unconcerned with the boats, and even expressed what I think was curiosity towards me. A fifteen foot great white came up to the boat to investigate this strange creature that was staring down at him (and holding a Go Pro).
I spent the afternoon on the water and had one of the best days I can remember in a long time. I was giddy with excitement. Sharks aren’t the only animal you can see on this trip. We saw lots and lots of seals, moonfish, and whales. We were lucky enough to come up on a group of humpback whales feeding around our boat, and we were the only ones there. It felt like an episode of National Geographic.
It was like a living breathing shark week. I was so excited to check an item off my bucket list of seeing great whites up close, and helping secure their future (all in a luxury hotel) at the same time. I hope everyone goes, mention and tag me in your photos!
Want to know more about sharks? Dr. Greg Skomal a staple on shark week, and affiliate of AWSC has written The Shark Handbook