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From a Close Shave to a Necker Visit: A Sailfish's Journey


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After a sailfish nearly took my eye out, I have a whole new appreciation for this magnificent species. Now, in a ground-breaking tracking research programme, we are learning lots more about sailfish.

SailfishVery little is known about the habits of most species in the ocean, and the more we can learn and understand, the more we can do to help protect these beautiful creatures.

With this in mind, Guy Harvey, Dr. Molly Lutcavage of the Large Pelagics Research Center and their teams started a programme to track mako sharks, tiger sharks, oceanic whitetip sharks, sand tiger sharks and blue marlin as well as sailfish. Virgin Unite is among the proud partners of this excellent project, sponsoring six sailfish.

A while ago we swam with sailfish off Mexico, alongside whale sharks and manta rays. It was the sailfish that paid most attention to yours truly as they swarmed around my head chasing sardines. As you can see in this video, a sailfish came within one centimetre of taking my beard off - a very close shave indeed!

Now, the very same sailfish has been tagged off Mexico by Guy and his team, and embarked upon an epic journey across the ocean. Over 12 months of tracking, the sailfish covered 26,000km. It even came to visit us on Necker in the British Virgin Islands, to show there were no hard feelings.

This is a record track for Atlantic sailfish using archival tags.

Go to to track the other sailfish, sharks and marlin. I’ll be keeping a close eye (but not that close!) on where the sailfish head next.

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