Monday, August 5, 2013

On the Eve of the Fifth Annual HIBT Great Marlin Race

Tournament Founder and Director Peter Fithian has briefed all the teams, all of the national anthems have been sung, the taiko drummers have played, the Kona restaurants have feasted the anglers, and the Start Fishing call is just a short night sleep away. I am joined at this year's Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament by Aaron Carlisle - the new IGMR Post Doc, and a long-time member of the Block Lab. This will be Aaron'he s first marlin tournament - and it's almost impossible to believe that it will be my fifth HIBT - making it the Fifth Anniversary of the Great Marlin Race! Who knew, when Peter Fithian and Tournament Coordinator and IGFA Representative Bob Kurz called Dr. Block back in 2009, that the Great Marlin Race would even work once - let alone grow into an international research and conservation effort.

39 teams from 13 different countries attend the pre-tournament briefing
Yet here we are again - having deployed more than 100 tags, for 6,416 days of tracking, over more than 65,000 nautical miles, since we started five years ago. We have enjoyed incredible generosity from the tournament organizers with whom we've worked, as well as the anglers, captains and crews who have made it possible. As we begin our day tomorrow, we already have sponsors for 8 of the 10 tags, and we are grateful for everyone's willingness to get involved.

A local taiko drumming team wows the crowd
Aaron and I will be riding along with Mitch and Marty Firestein from the Balboa Angling Club tomorrow, on board the Humdinger. This will be a new boat for me, but I've heard nothing but good things. Here's hoping that we and all the anglers are successful in this year's event!

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