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Adventures in South Africa with Veronica Pierce

Meet Veronica Pierce, a sophomore with a major in Business Administration and a minor in Environmental Science, master scuba diver, and lover of all things adventure and Pi Phi. 

Reciving the opportunity of a lifetime, Pierce interned in South Africa for a month studying ultimate predators such as Great White Sharks and Lions. When initially arriving in Cape Town, Pierce continued to Simonstown to go cage diving with great white sharks. Every morning around 5am, the adventure would start with a drive to Seal Island to watch for predation during the Crepuscular Hour, the time at which sharks feed. Not only was observing part of Pierce’s job description, IDing the known sharks and record data was included.  To say the least, Veronica expains her trip as “beyond amazing.”

After Simonstown, she was onto the next stop: Hermanas. Continuing the thrill of diving with sharks, Pierce spent days watching for Right and Humpback Whales, “the experience was unbelievable! I saw some beautiful sharks up close and personal, sometimes coming straight for the cage,” says Pierce.

She then flew to Durban and drove six hours to Port St. John to catch the sardine run, what Veronica describes as, “the greatest show on earth.” She would take a boat out every single day to look for birds diving for the sardines. She would jump right in the water and swim with the dolphins, sharks and whales. Here is where she saw some crazy whale breeches and got within touching distance of humpback whales and dolphins. “I loved this part of the trip because I truly felt one with nature and was able to be in the middle of the action.”  Veronica adds.

After Durban, she traveled to Umkomas where she went diving with about 50 black tip sharks and ragged tooth sharks (raggies). She also decided to ditch the snorkel and go scuba diving on a protected marine reef. She saw a ton of sharks, rays, eels, frog fish, octopus, and more. After Umkomas she went back to Durban to go surfing, play rugby games, and jump off a giant swing over the 2010 Fifa World Cup Stadium!​

After her water based trip, she flew to Johannesburg to go to a game reserve, Siyafunda. Every day that she went on a safari, she would drive out and go on two game drives to see lions, hippos, rhinos, wildebeests, zebras, impala cheetahs, elephants, leopards, cape buffalo, hyenas, etc. Out of the six students, they conducted a research product based off observation and the Siyafunda database. Her project was about hippos and their behavior during the wet and dry seasons. They left their projects with the research center so they can use it for further observation. Veronica ends with saying, “On this trip I saw some unbelievable things and it really changed my life.”

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