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2012 April 01, Sunday
Florida Panhandle

Today was our third day of searching for basking sharks off the coast of Florida, between Pensacola and Panama City.
We were fairly certain we had seen one near shore last Thursday, and quite certain that we had seen some mako sharks.  So when the fog finally lifted and gave us calm seas, we went out with high hopes.  But today brought more questions than answers.

Hundreds of dolphins were hanging out very near the beaches, relatively stationary around the second sandbar. Farther from people but still in the shallows were several schools of cobia and some large "bait balls" of small fish.  Farther offshore but still within about five miles of shore, we saw manta rays and sea turtles (mostly leatherbacks).  But nowhere today did we see a single shark of any size.  The water visibility was good and we were flying "low and slow," so if they had been there, we would have spotted them.  Unfortunately, the offshore fog was too dense for us to fly much more than about five miles offshore.  Next weekend we'll search again, this time along a strategic route follows the ridge that surrounds DeSoto canyon, starting about 20 miles off shore.

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