Sunday, August 16, 2009

Final thoughts -


Posted August 9, 2009 from Outer Brewster, in Calf Bay in the Boston Harbor Islands.

I just wanted you all to know how much i have enjoyed your posts, and your company as we explored Boston Harbor and the Harbor Islands.

I learned a lot - for example that "boys will be boys" and I hope you did, too.

I look forward to reading your final papers -
which as a reminder are due no later than next Friday, August 14.

Enjoy the rest of your summer - I know I will.
Hope to see you soon on Boston Harbor - in the meantime,
become a fan of my Boston Harbor events page on Facebook.

Bruce Berman



Saturday, August 15, 2009

Last Friday

Last Friday, after class, I returned to my boat - The Verandah - to help my friend Dan finish up a few long planned projects, which had been postponed for way too long.

I was a little sad that class was over - and a little disappointed that the weather had kept us from catching a striped bass for our "anatomy" lesson (Thanks to Erald and John Nagle, we still had a great (and tasty) specimen to cut up in the Culinary Lab at BU!

When I got to the harbor I could see a school of thousands of menhaden (we call them bunker or pogies) about the size of my foot "flipping" as they filter fed on the plankton in the nutrient ricj water at the mouth of the Charles.

I could also see them flee in panic from time to time, as small schools of big bluefish and striped bass fed on the large school of bait fish just off my bow.

We quickly caught a couple of menhaden, and rigged them up about 20 feet below the surface of the boat. Within a few minutes, we had caught this 39 inch 25 lb striped bass, which is posed with a copy of last Friday's Boston Globe, to give you a sense of scale - and to lend credibility to my fish tale.

The school has been here for a week now, and I have caught a half a dozen bass over 36 inches, and a dozen bluefish to 10 lbs - without leaving the dock. How's that for fuel efficiency

Here's a picture of the striped bass.

Here's a picture of 1/2 a menhaden, after a big bluefish took a big bite out of him.


Here's what the whole thing looks like on my fishcam.



I am off to Provincetown this weekend: Here's the view from my slip at McMillan Wharf.



Enjoy the rest of the summer.
Good luck with your final papers and posters (which are due on Monday), and with your studies (or careers!) this fall.

I hope you enjoyed class as much as I did.

All the Best

Bruce Berman

Friday, August 14, 2009

Final Post

I just can’t believe this course is ended. How I wish I would have this course for a second time. This is the most unforgettable course I have ever had.

发件人 Final


First talking about my fish, I cooked it on 8th and maybe it’s too cute to cook.:-) But I cooked it in a Chinese method, but with no typical Chinese condiments.
Preparation:
Oil, pepper, fish,
1.Some oil in the pan and put a little pepper in the hot oil.( heavy smoke, if you wanna try, be careful to alarm the fire detector.)
-this step can may the oil with nice pepper smells which will be cooked into the fish
2.Put the fish in the pepper oil pan-fry for 5mins during which keep turn over the fish.
3.Put some salt on the fish. Get it on a plate.

发件人 Final


Is it too simple? Ye, maybe. But in China, the next step is to cook the fish:
• Some oil in the pan and make the oil hot (over smoke, when the oil is smoking, it is not the highest temperature, when it boiling , it is)
• Red pepper into the hoooooot oil (very heave smoke)
• When you smell the delicious pepper, put the fish in, and then put 1/3 bowl of soy sauce, a bowl of water, a glass of beer(why beer? Beer can make your fish fresh and delicious when you boiling the fish, try next time), some salt, a little ginger, some scallion and some garlic(you can put a lot if you like)
• Keep boiling for 6-8mins. The delicious food is finished.

And I will miss you all, especially Bruce, I admire you so much. I don’t know how to express my feelings( in China, one can’t comment the authority maybe teachers in public) But you are the best teacher I had met. I wish I would have another opportunity to study in your class and go fishing with you. It must be fun.
Thank you my friends: Larissa, Alexandra, Alexis, Chloe, Hillary, Monique, Jackie, Matt, Mike, Sean, Rene, Samuel . I will miss you all. Keep in touch!

发件人 From snails to whales D5

Striped Bass


Finally, I made it back home now after spending some time in Canada. I really enjoyed our final class together. We started the day in the classroom where we talked about all the different things that we did over the course of the week. We learned a variety of things from how the harbor islands were created to the way snails affect the beaches and its surrounded area. We also learned about all the wildlife that lives in the tidepools and how much history there is on spectacle island. We got to see massive mammals breaching the water with brute force and we read a very interesting book, which was my favorite part of the class.


The Striped Bass was a whopping 18 pounds and it had fins all over the place. Its fins on top were a spiny and tough. This fish had about eight stripes on its side colored by its scales. It had a lateral line that is a an electro-sensitive part of the fish that senses other fish movements and aids the fish in finding food. It eats its food by sucking the fish in once it is range. This fish was caught with a smaller mackerel fish. As Bruce cut the fish up and dissected it he showed us how to properly fillet a fish by putting pressure against the spine of the fish and cutting along it. He also showed us some of its organs, but thankfully did not show us the stomach which can smell pretty badly.


Since I flew international I was unable to bring along a piece of the fish. However, I did take a picture of some cooked salmon today which just looks scrumptious. It did taste better than it looks though.
In ending this last post I just want to say I had a great time with everyone in class and I learned alot. This class was a lot of fun and taught me many new things while showing me so much of the Boston Harbor area. Thank you.
-Ryan Santana

Thursday, August 13, 2009

I am so sad this class has ended!    I feel very lucky to have been a part of a class that is so connected, where every student either has an interest in the subject material already, or develops one through out the class.  Being around excited, enthusiastic, and eager to learn people, such as Bruce and other classmates I became friends with, made this class so worth while.  As I finish my final paper addressing motion sickness, I am starting to believe that between all of the fun we had and how much there was to learn, I didn't have time to get seasick.  Whatever it was is fine with me.  T

The last day of class really captured how interactive and impressive this course offered is, as we filleted a striped bass and shared somewhat of a meal together.  I was really impressed with how we, as students, were able to explore the subject area and relate it to what specifically interested us most.  No matter what schedule we were on, I never felt hesitant to ask Bruce a question about what I saw and found, and I really got to exercize my curious nature without being punished for it.  Bruce cared more about the exciting and vast subject material rather then our set time frame or what we had planned for the day, making it a liberating and inspiring learning experience.  

I must be honest that when I got home with the Bass I knew exactly what I was going to do with it.  I have always been a big Sashimi fan, so a perfect meal for me was the bass cut into thin strips, with rice on the side and a wasabi and soy sauce mixture to dip it in.  Very simple but very delicious.  I now have the desire to go out and catch my own fish, and impress my boyfriend with the freshest meal of his life, something I had never really set my sights on doing.  

Thank you for being such a caring and passionate teacher, and for keeping me so busy and intrigued that I didn't have time to let my stomach get in the way.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Last Post

Hi Y'all,

As I am sitting here writing my paper on the Humpback Whale, I thought I would just take a break to say that I had a great time learning with all of you. I can now say that I know 1,000 times more things today about the Boston Harbor than I did a week ago. I brought my boyfriend to the Long Wharf Saturday night and told him all of the things that we saw. I am now hoping to take him along to do some of those activities. After pleading with my boyfriend to help me with my fish assignment, we ended up (well, he ended up) making an awesome pan seared bass. While I did not enjoy watching the filleting of the bass, I definitely did enjoy eating it later.

I hope y'all have an enjoyable rest of the summer, and I hope to see you on the Harbor!
-Alexandra Carry
Hey Everyone,
Our last class was on Friday and was perhaps my second favorite day in the whole week. We met in the morning and discussed about all that we had seen, learned, and encountered during our week together. Then Bruce had told us that we were going to have a fun day in the kitchen where we would prepare some great tasting stripe bass. When we got into the kitchen Bruce showed us the Mackrol he had used to catch the Striped Bass. It was a decent sized fish about 13 inches long. Then Bruce brought out the 17 pounder Striped Bass. He than started to prepared it for us. As he was cleaning it and he was explaing the body to us. he even allowed me to hold a knife and use it. He told me to keep it close to the backbone and apply pressure down in order to get the most fish to eat. He also showed us some of the fish's organs. After we had dissected the bass and had prepared it for tasting Bruce had prepared it in two ways. One was for sushi eater and the other was in the bowl with some lime juice and garlic paste. In trying both ways i think i prefered it the sushi way because i liked it with wasabi and soy sauce.
My fish That i took had gone bad by the time i had gotten home so i will be preparing some stripe bass very soon and posting the pictures. Overall I had alot of fun this week with the class and Bruce. It opened up my eyes in a new way and im glad it did because i know have a new appreciation for not only the water but for what it does for us. Thank You

Monday, August 10, 2009

Final Post

Hey everyone hope you all enjoyed your striped bass I know I did.  I cooked my striped bass in a very conventional way with just some salt, olive oil, lemon, butter, and parsley.  I simply sauteed the fish in a hot pan with the olive oil and a little butter which you can never go wrong with, took the fish out of the pan and then put some white win and a bit of lemon in the hot pan and then poured that over the fish with some fresh parsley on top.  It is a simple recipe but for me it works I like fish with just some light white wine some butter and lemon with some veggies on the side, I find that those ingredients bring out the flavor best for me.  The total prep time was about 10 min and the cooking time was around 20 min it was a very simple and quick meal which is good for me because I am always on the go.  I did learn some facts while Bruce was cutting up our Striped Bass, they have tails that fan out every population has a different number of stripes, our bass was 3 feet long about 39 inches, and bass do not have teeth they have "crushers".

Overall I really enjoyed this class we had fantastic weather and everyday was a new experience.  I am from Boston actually about a half hour north a town called Swampscott which is surrounded by the water and I think that I took all of that beauty for granted before this class.  I definitely have a new respect for the water and the creatures that live in it, in New England we just expect all of this beauty to be hear but if we do not treat it right one day it will not be here.  I loved learning about Boston Harbor and what a long road it has been to getting it where it is today nothing happens over night but it was well worth the wait.  Boston has such an accessible waterfront that it would be such a waste not to allow the public to use it, and thank god there are people like Bruce who are here to ensure everyone gets their fair share of the harbor.  I loved learning about all of the different ecosystems and how so many animals share the same habitat yet it all works.  I really enjoyed learning about the Boston Harbor Islands once again I mean I have seen them out there but at least I know a little bit more about Spectacle and Long, and especially Lovell's which is a place I probably would have never gone on my own, I wish we had gotten to go to outer Brewster but hopefully I'll get there one day.

Last but not least Bruce you were to say the least a FABULOUS professor I have never met someone as passionate about the harbor as you in my whole life.  The knowledge and time you have put in to "your home" is astonoshing and was very present at the hearing at the State House.  I was so impressed with how clearly yet eloquently you came across, public speaking is not my thing so I was in awe of you.  I like you style of no bullshit tell it how it is and lets get it done because to be honest thats really the only way you can get things done, and I really respect how you work hard and play hard you have a really good balance of getting all your stuff done but still leaving plenty of time for fun.  Just watching you this week made me really respect you, you are very good at what you do, you treat people with respect and although there were 24 of us in class I always felt that you gave everyone a little one on one time it still felt very intimate.  I hope to see you soon Bruce and if you ever go to a sox game stop in to Cornwall's and say hi, have a great vacation and don't work to hard!!! Thanks again for an awesome summer experience!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Hey everyone. Since this is my last blog I like to start by saying that I really enjoyed this class and it was such a great way to end my time here at BU, I couldn't have had a better last class. I learned so much about the Boston harbor, I got to see places that I haven't had the chance or opportunity to explore yet, and I met so many great people. Friday's class was definitely a favorite for me, I like dissecting things and learning about them (I was one of the few who enjoyed that part of biology in high school). Some facts that I learned that day about the striped bass are that while our bass had 8 stripes different populations have a different number of stripes, their tails fan out, fish have nostrils, they have crushers not teeth, and you can tell if a fish is frsh because their gills are red. Bruce asked us to find out if the striped bass hehad caught was male or female, I did some googling and was not able to come up with a clear answer on how to determine the sex of the fish.

I was excited to go home and find a receipe for my piece of striped bass that we were lucky enough to take home. I finally decided on making a baked bass with romano cheese receipe with a side of cucumber and tomato salad, it was easy to make and delicious.

Ingredients: (I changed the quanties since I had one piece of fish)
1 cup bread crumbs
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1/2 cup grated romano cheese
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
4 bass filets (8oz size)
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup olive
Preheat oven to 425

Start off by mixing the bread crumbs, grated romano cheese, parsley and garlic powder in a bowl. Next rub the filet with the lemon juice, then evenly coat it with the bread crumb mixture. Place the filet(s) on a baking pan lined with either wax paper or parchment paper and drizzle with olive oil. and bake for 10-15 minutes or until the fish is cooked through.

For the cucumber and tomato salad I simply cut up some cucumbers and tomatos and mixed them with some olive oil and balsamic. Everything was super easy to make.



I really should of had some white wine instead

Again, I really enjoyed this class and getting to meet all of you. It was truly a great expereince and I couldn't think of a better way to end my time here.

Good luck to everyone

Alexis Fagan

Pan Seared Striped Bass with Lemon and Capers




The Striped bass was delicious!

Last Day of Class

Hello Everyone! This class has been an incredible experience for me, and I have really enjoyed sharing it with all of you. In a short time I learned a lot and had a lot of fun, partly due to the effectiveness of experiential and partly due to the participation of everyone in the group. We learned about the ecosystem of the Boston Harbor and many of the animals and organisms that live within it. Further, we learned that humans have a substantial impact on the environment. From over fishing, to polluting, to attempting to industrialize an island that is part of a National Park; we humans need to act responsibly when making decisions and will impact the environment. In class on the final day, we learned about issues of over fishing and the history of the sea bass. We also debated the question of whether we personally believe it is okay to eat whales if they are sustainable in that part of the world. Bruce made an interesting point that not only do we need to consider to sustainability of the species, the moral issues of eating whales, we need to consider how killing whales could affect the ecosystem in which they live. After learning this we moved on to study the anatomy of a fish in the kitchen. Since we had learned that sea bass is no longer in danger of extinction, we could guiltlessly prepare the sea bass for dinner. With my piece of sea bass I decided to make fish cakes as an appetizer, since I was hosting a cocktail party that evening. This is the recipe I followed:

Cook Time: 20 min
Yield: 26 mini fish cakes; 6 to 8 servings
Times:
Prep 30 min
Inactive Prep 15 min
Cook 20 min
Total:1 hr 5 min
Ingredients:
* 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 3/4 cup small diced red onion (1 small onion)
* 1 1/2 cups small diced celery (4 stalks)
* 1/2 cup small diced red bell pepper (1 small pepper)
* 1/2 cup small diced yellow bell pepper (1 small pepper)
* 1/4 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
* 1 tablespoon capers, drained
* 1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (recommended: Tabasco)
* 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
* 1 1/2 teaspoons crab boil seasoning (recommended: Old Bay)
* 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
* 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
* 1/2 pound of sea bass, cut into small pieces
* 1/2 cup plain dry bread crumbs
* 1/2 cup mayonnaise
* 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
* 2 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten for frying
* 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
* 1/4 cup olive oil

Directions:
Place the 2 tablespoons butter, 2 tablespoons oil, onion, celery, red
and yellow bell peppers, parsley, capers, hot pepper sauce,
Worcestershire sauce, crab boil seasoning, salt, and pepper in a large
saute pan over medium-low heat and cook until the vegetables are soft,
approximately 15 to 20 minutes. Cool to room temperature. In a large
bowl toss sea bass pieces with the bread crumbs, mayonnaise, mustard, and eggs. Add the cooked mixture and mix well. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Shape into bite-sized fish cakes.
Heat the butter and olive oil for frying over medium heat in a large
saute pan. Add the fish cakes and fry for 4 to 5 minutes on each side,
until browned. Drain on paper towels; keep them warm in a 250 degree
oven and serve hot.
It got rave reviews so I highly recommend it! I wish you all the best for the remainder of your summer. I really enjoyed getting to know all of you!
~Hilary Miller

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Last Day

Hey everyone. I really enjoyed the last day of class. I have never gotten a chance to be that close to a fish so soon after it was caught, much less touch its tongue, gills, and huge fish lips which were a bit slimy but a cool experience.
In class we first examined a smaller fish called a mackerel that had very small scales and dark vertical stripes and was relatively small, maybe less than a foot long. Then we went on to the striped bass which was much larger at over 3 feet long, had bigger scales that we sliced off, and horizontal stripes. Bruce said that you could tell that this fish was fresh because its gills were bright red, not black. It was interesting to see Bruce and various members of the class cut open the striped bass because we learned where the body parts are inside. This fish had more fins that I thought. For some reason I thought it was just have one on each side.
I also found it interesting when we talked about how people effect the environment, for example, as far as catching fish. I think this followed the talk about whether or not it is acceptable to eat whales. Bruce explained how different states have different methods and regulations for allocating what they capture. It can be determined by pounds of fish, the number of fish, or regulated like Massachusetts which has a short commercial fishing season. Bruce also told us that the value of fish caught recreationally is more those that caught by a commercial boat.
I am pretty sure that this class was the first time I really ate raw fish. It was pretty delicious and I will definitely be more open-minded to it in the future. I am not much of a cook so I kept things pretty simple when cooking my piece of the striped bass. I cooked in a pan with olive oil, and squeezed some lemons in while it was cooking. I also sautéed spinach in the same pan and added small bit of salt and that was pretty much it. I ate a few bites and my roommate had some and it tasted pretty decent. Surrounded by a culture of mass production in everything including food we are often so far removed from the beginning stages of where our food comes from. Getting to have this fish was a great feeling because the process from sea to mouth was so direct.
This class was a fun experience and I got to do some things that I would probably not have otherwise. I definitely learned a lot of things I did not know before. Thanks to everyone, including Bruce, who made it enjoyable. Hope everyone enjoys the rest of their summer.

Leana Ovadia

Stripped Bass












Hello class! I guess this is our last blog, so I would like to begin by saying that I enjoyed meeting all of you and I would also like to state that I have learned a lot during our short period together. Yesterday professor Berman skillfully filleted a stripped bass; the fish was enormous. I even tried a couple peices of raw fish, something I had never done before. I guess that I am in to sushi now. But anyway, with the peice of stripped bass that professor Berman gave us I prepared a great dish with an old recipe my mother had. First, I marinated the fillet with some salt, lime, garlic, and Goya seasoning. Once seasoned, I placed the fillet in the fridge for approximately five hours. Once the five hours elapsed I sauteed the fillet untill it was cooked (I think). I ate the fillet with a couple of Moroccan roles along with a glass of wine. How do I know it was good?? A day later I am still alive.



Friday, August 7, 2009

Assignment #6: Striped Bass

Hi Everyone! Here we are at our final blog entry for what was an overall great course. Today’s class on striped bass was really interesting for me as growing up on the South Shore of Massachusetts and fishing with my family, we’ve caught many striped bass but never as big as what Bruce brought in today. Today we took a 39”, 18 pound bass which Bruce caught right in Boston Harbor and dissected it. Bruce caught this bass with a piece of mackerel which he also caught before fishing for the striper. So he basically left this morning with nothing in his boat but a tank of gas, a fishing rod, and probably some fake bait to catch the mackerel… good job Bruce! During the dissection we learned how to properly cut out the two sides of the bass away from the spinal cord as well how to carve out the belly meat which has a different texture. Whether or not this fish was male or female is still a question as it would require a little further analysis of its insides. From my research I did find that female striped bass are generally larger and can easily surpass 30 lbs whereas males generally do not surpass 18lbs. Therefore seeing that this fish was 18lbs it could have either have been a big male or a not so big female. The Boston Harbor is known to have some of the best striper fishing in the Northeast. Only 20 years ago striped bass in the Boston Harbor was extremely rare and they had almost been fished out of existence. The efforts of the Harbor cleanup have created a massive rebound of these fish back to Boston Harbor. Therefore it is key that we thoroughly understand the effect which we, people, have on the environment and make every effort to follow the rules set forth when it comes to catching fish and respecting marine life.

So tonight my family already had quite a large dinner planned where the main dish was to be fish. So what we did was pop my piece of striped bass into the oven with the salmon we were already making mixed with olive oil, adobo seasoning, garlic and a few additional spices.

Can you guess which one it is?



Here’s the final dish:



I wanted to once again thank Bruce on taking us on an exciting week long adventure and for all the valuable information he shared with us. I also wanted to let everyone know how much I enjoyed meeting you all and wish everyone the best of luck in the future!

- Nick Pinheiro

So long...and thanks for all the fish...

Today was utterly wonderful! We rendezvoused at the classroom today at 10a, and after a brief lecture on fishing and sustainability, we moved into the kitchen to look at some fish up close! Bruce explained about the different parts of the fish and what they do. Namely I was surprised that the bass has a tongue...I cannot even begin to tell you how spun out I was by that...
This post isn't about the prepping of the fish...this is more about what we did with it when we got home! We were all given a portion of the fresh fish to take home and prepare in the manner of our choosing. I had a bit of a dilemma because I really wanted to make a meal for myself and my family...but I had not nearly enough fish for three people! What is a gal to do! I improvised is what I did! After the amazing ceviche we had this afternoon, I knew that was my solution to this ever so troubling problem! A trifecta of seafood! A crustacean, a mollusk, and fish!

S2W Ceviche
  • 6 oz peeled, deveined prawns (shrimp)
  • 6 oz sea scallops
  • 6 oz sea bass
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • Juice from 2 limes
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • Juice from 1 red grapefruit
  • 1 clove garlic, super finely minced
  • 1/2 jalapeno, finely diced (more if you can stand the heat)
  • Salt and pepper to taste (about a dash or two of each)
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • 1/2 small red onion, diced
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1 medium mixing bowl
Start by making the marinade by mincing your garlic finely and add to bowl

Then mince half a jalapeno finely and add to bowl

Next...a couple of generous cranks of salt and pepper go into the bowl (or pinches...depending on your method of delivery) take note...be GENEROUS with the salt...but not crazy-go-nuts...
Give it a couple of glugs of olive oil (use the brand and rating of your choosing) I use Nudo olive oil...it tastes amazing, and it comes from the grove of olive trees where our adopted little guy lives! Their growing practices and commitment to sustainability are worth checking out.
Next cut and squeeze the juice of one grapefruit, 2 limes, and 1 lemon into the bowl


Wash and pat dry all of the seafood.
Chop all of the seafood to uniform chunks. The texture and size of ceviche is one of its finer points. Not only does it have a nice mouthfeel, it also aids in the 'cooking' of the seafood.

Toss the seafood in the bowl with the marinade.
After you put in all the seafood...give it a toss with your hand and make sure that it is completely covered by the marinade.


Cover it with saran wrap and place it in the fridge for a minimum of an hour.

I went for a bike ride and left it in there for about 2.5 hours. When I returned...the seafood looked completely cooked! The prawns were that beautiful pink colour, the scallops were opaque, and the sea bass took on a firmer texture.

Time to prepare the veggies! Make sure to keep them about the same size...uniform and bite size!




Throw them in the same bowl as the seafood and marinade, stir it around with your hand, cover, and put back in the refrigerator for another hour or so...


Take this time to go outside, mill about...I watered our plants, took the chickens outside, chatted with the neighbors...general time wasting activities. When I came back I prepared some plates...

I prepared some spirited libations
and served up some nosh!


It got rave reviews! My husband and father-in-law requested seconds! All in all...I would say this meal was a success :)

This dish is super easy to make, totally tasty and utterly fun to make ;)


However delicious seafood may be, we need to eat responsibly. Overfishing in the recent years has nearly wiped out many species. Steps are being taken to ensure that we can continue to enjoy the gifts the sea has to give us, but we need to be aware of the impact our actions have on this world. I make conscious decisions not to eat fish that is not on the 'safe' list...but the data is always changing. The only way to truly know how our seas are impacted, is to educate and inform yourself...I believe that there should be stricter regulations on the food we eat, not only to protect species, but also the environment. Losing one species can cause plankton to overrun the seas, or mosquitoes to run rampant, or herring to disappear, rain forests to be destroyed. If we are not aware of the journey our food takes to go from its time in the wild or on the farm to our plate..we will never fully appreciate the impact each meal we eat has...

Bass

Today for me was the most interesting say of the entire class. First we reviewed what we had done throughout the class and talked about what we had learned and what we thought was the most interesting. I assumed that dissecting a striped bass would be my favorite part and I was right. We took a look at the Mackerel that was used to catch it. This fish was probably about 13 or 14 inches long and weighed no more than a pound. The striped bass was 18 pounds and roughly 39 inches. I liked this part of the class the most because I am a big fisherman and spend a lot of time on the St. Lawrence river at my camp and also the Grasse River that I live on, both rivers hold a great population of Musky.

We cut the bass open and got the fillets but also we looked closely at the scales which were surprisingly rough as opposed to Musky or Pike which are smooth, which was interesting to me, it made me wonder why these bass need the scales and fish in the northern part of New York and into Canada don’t. Although I had to give my fish away to somebody in the class because of my long car ride I will try to get some pictures of the next Walleye, Pike fish fry I go to. I thoroughly enjoyed this class and I’m glad I took it.

Spectacle Island

I enjoyed today’s trip to Spectacle Island. I was surprised when we got to the Island and had a look at the beach; we saw a lot of glass and ceramic material. It was interesting to walk down the beach and pick up pieces of glass and try to figure out where it came from. I picked up a large smooth piece of ceramic which looked to me like it was from a toilet; also I found a piece of pottery that looked like it had the glaze worn away and just the clay was left.

After walking down the beach for awhile we set up shop on a bit of a point and closed off a little square and began to look closer at the beach and all of the glass. We found a lot of white and clear pieces but pink and red seemed to be the rarest. Also it was interesting that different parts of the beach seemed to have different sizes and they were in layers. Possibly the beach nut theory is one reason for this. The most interesting piece all day was a huge piece of red glass that was recovered. It was hard to determine where or what this was, but it was very interesting and very rare. It was a relatively short trip to the beach but we got a lot accomplished. We found out that some of this glass was from a shipwreck in the 1800’s and also some of the glass was from trash because the island used to be used as a dump. This was one of the most interesting things that I have done around the water in a long time, and I enjoyed the trip.

Stellwagen Bank

Today we visited Stellwagen Bank looking for whales. It took us about an hour to get out to the feeding ground from the Boston Harbor. The first whale we saw was doing what they call logging which is basically resting after a dive, because whales cannot sleep or they would drown they float and shut down one part of their brain at a time while the other part rests and then they switch. The normal lifespan of a Humpback Whale is about 150 years. They come to feeding grounds like this and then they migrate to the warmer southern water to spawn. They need to gain about 10-12,000 pounds before they can migrate because feeding in the southern warmer water is difficult. These whales normally travel alone although they sometimes hook up with other whales for a short amount of time.

The most interesting thing of the day that we saw was when the Humpback whale was breaching, continually jumping out of the water. Although they are uncertain why they breach they have a few theories. The first theory is that they do it to attract other whales. The second theory is that they do it to get barnacles off of them, the finally theory is that they are just being young and playful. Another thing that I found interesting was that they dive down and scrape the bottom of the ocean with their bodies to try and stir up fish. Also for their size they have relatively small throats (about the size of a grapefruit) so they can’t eat anything really big, which I also found interesting. I also don’t think that eating a whale is acceptable unless that particular whale species has guaranteed future growth and development.

Last Hw

Hey everybod I first just want to start by saying it has been alot of fun this week. It was great to learn about the Harbor and what makes the harbor special. Today we got to look at markel and the striped bass fish. It was the first time ive seen a fish cut and dissected in front of me. I will not lie the way Bruce carved that fish was a sight of beauty. It deffinalty was not his first day. Besides the obvious difference in sizes the strip fish had rough skin we'll the markel had smoother. I also liked how Bruce told us how eat fish because my sister was recently pregnant and It was good to learn about some inside facts. When I got back into my room me and my felllow roomates decided to cook it. We cut it up in strips and put it in the pan with butter, and garlic due to the lack of igrients we had to keep it real simple. It came out pretty good my roomate said. My days of eating fish are over due to that little accident i had with my brother in law tricking me. Anyways i just to want to say its been a pleasure and it was great to meet you all.
Joe pereira

last day of class in the Kitchen

Hi,
Another wonderful moment and this time around not on the ocean but a brief time in the classroom and majority if the time in the kitchen. At around 10am, Bruce came with a small "coffin" and I knew we had some living but dead creatures in it. After we've said what we've learned and then moved to the kitchen where Bruce performed some dissection skills. Honestly, i've seen and done some dissections of fishes several times but Bruce's technique was a new one.
In the ktchen, Bruce uncovered the coffin and took out a small fish and it was a mackerel. The mackerel was smooth to touch and it had less scales. He then took out a bigger fish and that fish was a striped bass. The striped bass fish was ten times bigger than the mackerel. It had some long black stripes from the gill all the way to where the tail is. It had a big and wide mouth but had no teeth.
Bruce, then took his knives and began some dissection on the striped bass fish. He first started his cutting from the backbone of the fish and cut all the way through to the tail. He made sure that the stomach area is left without cutting through it. After he had cut the striped bass into long pieces, he cut the flesh from the body containing the scales. He then cut the flesh into small pieces and gave some to the class to taste. I tasted like two pieces and it tasted just like sushi. Bruce then took some small pieces of the striped bass fish and added lime and garlic unto it. That one did not taste bad at all. He then made ginger and soy sauce and also cut some pieces for us to try with the ginger and the soysauce.
At this moment the class was getting to an end so Bruce gave each one a small piece of the cut striped bass fish to take home. I added a little bit salt, and goya adobo seasoning, and allowed the small cut fish to sit in it. After like five minutes, I fried the fish and i eat it with pasta and sauce. In all, it was not a bad meal. I really enjoyed the striped bass and wish i could have some more some time. I was not able to take pictures but i hope you all get the picture i'm trying to draw.
All the best of luck and see you guys some time in life.
Cheers,
Samuel Appiah

Fish Time!


Welp, today was quite interesting to say the least. I sat in the back of MET's culinary lab and watched Bruce saw open an 18 1/2 pound Striped Bass! The Bass was HUGE, about 3 1/2 feet. Bruce also brought a small Mackerel for us to see. Bruce showed us how to skin a fish as well as butcher it into fillets. Even though I pretty much stationed myself to the back of the kitchen for fear of passing out from seeing blood and butchering, I enjoyed seeing every one else try the super fresh fish. I don't think you could get any fresher than that!

So I took the piece of Striped Bass fillet home with me to cook. My friend, who is a much better chef than I, helped me pan fry it in some sesame oil, olive oil, rosemary, pepper and salt. Let me say, it was delicious! My friend appreciated the free lunch too. Overall, today was quite an educational spectacle!

Monique Bellefleur
moniqueb@bu.edu

Striped Bass

Today's pics








Hi all!

I dare you to try not laughing at my own cooking videos below... my ribs are still killing me... seriously, it was unintentional.

This lesson was a great reminder as to why I don't cook at home and order my fish at a Sushi Bar or at McCormick & Schmick's. Anyway, I tried something new and drizzled some olive oil over some aluminum foil, placed the bass on top, sprinkled over it with some "old bay" seasoning, squeezed some lemon juice over it, placed a couple of lemon slices on top, and placed it on the grill for about 10 minutes. My result was o.k. I preferred it raw to begin with.

About today's class; it's important for us all to remember that we are all the greatest impacting species on the harbor today. It doesn't mean we should drop everything right now and start banging on the doors of the State House for them to understand the importance of this issue. It does however mean we need to pay more attention to the kinds of things our legislators are proposing and for us as a commonwealth to do our part in preserving what's rightfully ours. If we don't stand up for ourselves regarding these issues when the time is right, we may regret doing nothing at all.

Find me on facebook everyone... (matsmith12002)

I'll miss you BU!!!

Matt
MET '09



Eating Whale

Hi Y'all!

I totally forgot to tell you what I think about eating whale. My apologies. I have no problem eating any animal. That being said, if there are other animals that are abundant, you should eat them first. However, if there were to be an enormous amount of whales like there are baby harp seals, then I think that it is then alright to consume a whale. I find the concept of eating whale disturbing like I would find the practice of eating dog disturbing. But, if whale is in someone's culture as a delicacy or there are people who need to eat whale as a means of survival, then I respect their decision.

-Alexandra

Pan Seared Bass!

Hi Y'all!

As we speak, my boyfriend and I are having a romantic evening making pan seared bass with capers and lemons with bacon wrapped scallops as an accompaniment. We will be eating this while watching Shrek and drinking white wine. Pictures soon to follow!

Good eats!
Alexandra

Striped Bass

Hi everyone, I can't believe that I'm already writing my last blog entry for this class! It's been a fun week and it was great to meet all of you. I thought today's dissection of the striped bass was very interesting. It was my first of probably several future fish dissections, since i'm a marine science major, and i think it will be useful to know how to properly fillet a fish without spilling its stomach contents everywhere. The part i found most interesting was seeing the bass's lateral line, which i have studied a lot in past marine bio classes but have never actually seen up close and in person.
Above is a picture of my cooked bass fillet. I decided to go with a pretty simple recipe since my available ingredients were limited. I cut the fillet into thin strips and pan fillet them in butter with garlic salt and black pepper. I did not actually eat it myself but my roommate was very willing to take over this task for me. His comments were: "It tastes like what bass should taste like, only i can tell it was caught today because it tastes fresher than what I'm used to." So i guess my first fish-cooking experiment was a success!

I was thinking about what Bruce said about how we as fishers select for the runts of fish species by taking only large individuals when we catch them. I think a good solution to this problem would be to have a maximum legal size in addition to the standard minimum legal size. I know this is done with lobsters in New England to preserve the large females that can carry a lot more eggs than smaller females, and i think it would be a good strategy to implement for all fish species to preserve the stock.

Again, it was nice to meet all of you, best of luck!
-Sam Gifford

Striped Bass

I just want to let everyone know that I enjoyed being in class with everyone and I hope everyone felt the same way. With that said I believe today was one of the most interesting activities. This was not my first time seeing a stripe bass filted so I knew what I was in for, but I will say Bruce did a better job than the last person I watched do it. When I got home I was able to look up different ways to prepare striped bass. Since I was planning on grilling mine I searched "grilling striped bass" into google and was able to come up with some good recipes. I kept it simple though, afraid that I would screw up a great piece of fish and I will say I did a pretty good job. First I put the fish into a bowl and melted some butter and poured it on top. Then I cut up some onions and peppers and added them to the bowl and also put a dash of salt in there. After I mixed it up a bit I let it sit for a while. Once the grill was hot enough I then put the fish with all the marinades into a piece of tinfoil and sealed it up. I threw my fish on the grill for about 8 minutes on both sides and by that time I was starving. Like I said before I think it came out pretty good, or atleast I enjoyed it. Anyways I wish everyone the best with their future and congrats to all that are graduating. Good luck to everyone with the papers hope to see you all around.

Brian Strait

Last Day-In the Kitchen with the Striped Bass


Hi Guys,

Today August 07 was our last day in class. We started the day with Bruce's lecture about whales and how things have changed in the past 300 years. From the killing of this beautiful animal for various economic purposes to the arduous fight to try to save them so that the our kids and grand kids can have the same privileges we have.
Everyone was asked to give their thoughts about their favorite subjects learned in this class. I enjoyed hearing what and why people liked different aspects of this class.

To the kitchen we had an appointment with the infamous Striped Bass! We learned a little bit about its life and some of its characteristics as well as how The state of Massachusetts' government decide and the techniques used for fisherman quotas.

The best part came when we started to slaughter it! Despite some disgusted looks I think most of the students enjoyed Bruce's perfect demonstration of how to extract the most out of the fish and what to be careful for, specially the fat which contains some of the the chemicals "collected" by larger fish over time. He told us about how pregnant women should avoid eating fish during pregnancy and why so.

After cleaning the fish, it was time to taste it and it surprised me to see so many eating it raw-just like that-pretty cool actually. I am not a fan of sea food but I have to admit I enjoyed a lot with wasabi, ginger and soy sauce.

I cooked my bass fillet on a classic lemon butter sauce and it took me 10 minutes.

Salt, butter, olive oil, 2 tbsp of lemon juice, a tiny bit of white white and some parsley and 1/2 lemon quartered.

Directions: Saute the fillet in butter. Remove it and place it on a dish to keep it warm in oven or microwave.
Deglaze the pan with white wine and lemon, pour the sauce over the fillet and top it with parsley, Serve it warm with lemon quarters. (Sorry I did'n have any lemons so I used a lime, lol)

Enjoy!





Whale Watch: Stellwagon Bank

On Thursday August 6th Bruce began our day at the State House with a subject very close to his heart the safety and protection of the 34 Boston Harbor Islands.  It was a very cool way to start the day actually being able to go into the State House and watch our professor fight for what he believes is the right thing to do.  Bruce did a fabulous job I envy him in the way that he can articulate himself so well in front of an entire room of his peers, public speaking is not my thing but Bruce is fabulous at it, partly because he just tells it how it is.  After that we had an hour to meet down at the Long Wharf Marriott to go over a few things before our whale watch got under way.  

Once Bruce gave us a brief background on the whale watch and what to expect we boarded the boat right around noon.  It was beautiful hot and sunny with a light breeze a perfect day to take a forty mile ride out to Stellwagon Bank.  The ride there was great I spent most of the time on the top deck until we decided to go downstairs and inside is when all of us began to feel ourselves getting a little sick.  Final the boat came to a stop and it was time to look for whales now it was definitely a bit cooler with a cloud cover.  We spotted 3 Humpback Whales total 2 up close and one in the distance, they were all spectacular.   The first of whale we got close to appeared to just be floating on the top on the ocean come to find out that is where whales usually rest or go to eat, there is a lot of food in the murky water on top.  The woman on the speaker also told us to listen closely if we could to hear the whale breathing because whales are like us they focus and realize whenever they take a breath, which is why they do not sleep or they would drown, this whale did not put on that big of a show for us.  

However the second whale we came up on loved to jump it was a beautiful and powerful sight to see.  The whale was breaching also known as slapping their fins and body around as if a human were to flap their hands around in a pool it makes that flat slapping noise.   This technique known as breaching can help the whale get off any barnacles or extremities off of them, but can also cause the skin of the whale to become raw and worn off.  All in all the whales put on a great show for us at one point they were very close to the boat which made for some great action shots.  We also got some interesting information for the girls running the watch whales live a solitary life for the most part, they have bright green flippers which many people get confused for white, they can stay under water for about a half hour if not longer, they usually store up on their food at Stellwagon Bank, they do not choose mates for life, and their mouth is only the size of a grapefruit which is weird because you would expect it to be bigger at first.

I have never had whale and I do not know if I will I guess if a species of whale is not endangered it would be OK  to eat them but people do not know when enough is enough.  I do not think it is acceptable if that species of whale is already in danger.  It is a hard decision because there is always going to be one side that is not happy even with recreational fishing today there are so many rules and regulations surrounding how many fish you can catch how many pounds so I can only imagine how hard it would be to make legislation when it came to whales.  At the end of the day I do not think it is right.

Spectacle Island

August 5 2009 Bruce took us to Spectacle Island which got its name because it looks like a pair of spectacles from above.  The boat ride was nice about 20 min to a half hour to get out there because we had to stop at George's Island as well.  Once on the island Bruce ran into some of his friends and they explained to us a little bit about the island and the different programs they work for to help at risk kids have something fun and productive to do during the summer months.  Next we were on to the beach, on our way down there Bruce explained to us that there was a risk for running into asbestos which has been present on the island for many years.  

As we walked along the beach you could tell there was a lot of history to this island pieces of china plates and different pottery were found scattered about from a shipwreck in the early 1900's.  There was just such a variety of debris it was quite a site to see, the sea glass was the most amazing.  Just the different colors and textures you get from each different piece are incredible.  Bruce then separated us into groups to do a bit of observing, our task was to outline a descent size box on the beach and study and separate all of the different pieces of sea glass or pottery we could find.  On pieces of large white paper all the groups went to work and found different color and size variations of sea glass and anything else that was deemed worthy.  

My group had Matt, Chloe, Leana, and Sam in it, our first spot was down land or closer to the water.  After observing and collecting a ton of sea glass we saw that we had a huge amount of clear sea glass it was definitely the most common color in our group.  Next the browns and greens were pretty close in number with so many different beautiful color variations especially the green everything from a deep olive green to a nice pale almost white green so beautiful.  There were some blues although not that many at all which was surprising because the blue tends to catch your eye when you see it so you think there is a lot of it but that was not the case in our group. We did find two very small pieces of red sea glass which were exciting to find because Bruce did inform us that is was very rare, until a member of our class found a very large piece of it down close to the water.  

Our next spot was upland or away from the water, there was more debris in our box this time not just shells and sea glass but straw and sea weed and wood.  In general the pieces of sea glass were larger which again supports the argument for the little things end up on the bottom big things end up on the top.  We found another very large amount of clear sea glass, browns and greens were equal in second again, and this time there were hardly any blues at all which was strange because there were several pieces down land.  There was a good amount of china and pottery again, and a bonus find was a piece of lavender sea glass which was beautiful.  

Spectacle Island was a great trip we got all of our stuff done but were not there as long as Lovell's which was nice.  On Spectacle there is a great snack shack run by Jasper White and his Summer Shack employees, they also have lovely green rocking chairs you can sit on and look out at Boston Harbor, one of the nicest harbors and it is a harbor for the people. 

in the kitchen with bruce

Hey guys...in case you wanted any pics from today...below is the link to my picasa album. again...feel free to download the pics for your use =)

link

Final Boom With Bruce

Hey Bruce and class as you know we went on our last field trip yesterday. Unfortunately I was unable to hear Bruce's speech but I heard it was great. The whale trip we went on was probably my favorite part of the class so far. It was my first experience with whales and it was really exciting. As Ryan, Wade, and I ran from our final i was happy to see that the boat did not leave so that we could share the whale experience with the whole class. It took the boat about an hour to get out to Stellwagon Bank, where we would encounter the whales. When we got to the bank we were able to see 2 or 3 Humpback Whales. The first humpback whale we saw was in the process of logging. Logging is a process where the whale will rest on top of the water because whales like us are conscience breathers. whales have the ability to shut off half of the brains to sleep and the change to the other half so they have a full sleep cycle. We learned that humpback whales are solitary animals that generally follow fish for they have to gain 10 to 12,000 pounds between April to October. Whales don't have any life long partners, the longest relationship they have is between a calf and their mother which lasts about a year. The second humpback whale we saw was breaching and flapping there fins. Breaching we learned is when a whale launches itself out of the water and then slams back down. This takes alot of energy to do. We learned that their are many theories for why whales do this such as to get barnacles off of them, to communicate with other whales, to play around, or to show off for partners. There are other types of whales in Stellwagon Bank like fin whales which are the second longest at 70 ft. They are considered streamliners and fast, they don't generally come up. There are also Minke's which are smaller at 35 ft but are very fast.

For the question of should we kill whales for food i feel that we shouldn't. I understand that fishing is a major industry for the world but there are plenty fish that can be caught and sold for food. I also feel that it would be crazy to hunt whales especially if they are on the endagered list. I understand that whales could provide alot of economic prosperity but it isn't worth the cost of endangering the whales species.

DSC05504.JPG.jpg


Sean Escobedo

Last Hw

Yesterday was an eventful day. First we went to the state house where Bruce gave a about how important the islands are to the harbor and how they should not be touched. It was one of the finest speeches I’ve ever heard. Then he headed out onto the boat to look for some whales. The ocean we sailed was Stellwagon Bank. Theres a few different types of whales that live there for example: Humpback Whales, Fin Whales, Minke Whales, and White-sided Dolphin. Once we got there we saw two Humpback whales. A Humpback whale is 40-50ft long and weighs around 30-40 tons. The tour guide explain that sleeps it shuts down half of its brain and the other half helps to know when it needs to come up for air. There was a big difference between the two whales we saw. One was just hanging out and resting wasn’t really moving. After that we saw another whale that I like to believe knew we were looking at it so it showed off for a good 30 mins. It was breaching and was doing some flipper slapping that looked like he was waving to us.


The question you as if people should be able to eat whale? My opinion is they shouldn’t. Just like we fight to protect the islands because they are important to us. Whales are part of these islands and if we start killing them then they wont return and people wont get to enjoy these beautiful creatures. We should continue to not allow killing whales. Anyway I don’t think it would taste every good either.

Joe Pereira

Whale Watch

Hello everyone! I hope everyone had as much fun as I did. During the period of this class I've learned a lot of this city and state for that matter. Our day started out in front of the statue of General Hooker. At this site we were briefed by professor Berman on what was going to happen in the next hour or so. We then entered Capitol Hill. The next thing I know we were in one of those fancy rooms with a lot of smart people you only see on channels like CNN and NBC. We were witnessing Professor Berman stating his support for keeping the Boston Harbor a protected area by the state. After a brief stop in Capitol Hill we were instructed to head towards the Marina where we were going to catch the 12:30 whale watch expedition. Once on the boat, it took us approximately an hour to reach the whale site. On our way out professor Berman pointed out a Tuna Bird. He told us that this bird vommits on anything that threatens their breeding grounds. We finally arrived at ground zero; and I had never been out in the ocean that far away from land. The only thing visible to us were the other vessels around us and the tip of Cape Cod in the distance. And there it was, what we had come for. A whale that seemed to love the attention it was getting by the visitors and their cameras. To be honest it was a majestic sight, it was amazing to be so close to an animal that size. In that hour I learned a lot about whales. For example, I was unaware that whales never sleep because they would drown. Instead they have the ability of shutting down half their brain at a time to get the adecaute rest. I learned that Hump Back Whales can hold their breath for half hour, and when they dive after regaining their breath or filling their lungs with oxygen (note: with each breath exchange, whales have the ability to exchange 90% of lung capacity. Humans only 15%.) the bubbles they leave behind are known as fluke print. However, the most uplifting news of the day was learning about the Whales and Dolphin Conservation Society, wich is an organization that advocates the protection of these beautiful animals. I will be logging on to their website, www.wdcs.org, to download that form and sign it. I will pass it on to all my friends as well. After an hour there, we were on our way back to Boston.

rnorris@bu.edu

Whale watching

Hey everyone. Yesterday was yet another great day of class, I can't believe today will be our last one. After meeting at the state house and attending a hearing we took boat out to Stellwagen Bank for some whale watching. We were lucky enought to get to spot a few humback whales and learned that a good way to know that a whale s in the area is when there are these glassy circles called flutes, sailors/fisherman used to believe that ese circles were cause by oils that came off of the whales but we elarned that this is not the case that whales do not release any oils from their skin. I also learned that humpback whales do not mate for life and they go to greenland to mate for life. They typically travel alone, but are sometimes can be seen traveling in groups of 2 or 3. The first whale we able to see was mostly seen lumbering and would dive deep down into the water to search food. In this area the humpback whales main source of food is the sound eel.


After walking around the deck for a while Larissa and I were able to make our way to the front of the bottom deck where Jackie and Matt had grabbed a great spot that wasn't too crowded. At this spot I got a great view of the last whale we saw that almost seemed to be performing for the crowd. He was breaching repeatedly, which the guide said is quite rare for whale to breach this much. On top or th breaching this whale was doing plently of fin flips for the crowd, it almost seemed as if he was waving to the crowd everytime and the crowd really seemed to love it.

For Bruce's last question of whether we think it is ok to fish for whale, I would have to say that as long as they are not an endangered species that I think it would be ok. My reasoning for this being that if it is ok to fish for other types of fish such as tuna and bass why is would not be ok to fish for whales as well.

Assignment #5: Whale Watch

Hi Everyone! Ok so I think I’ve said this in each blog entry, but today was ‘definitely’ the best of the many trips we have gone on thus far. Let’s see if tomorrow’s fisheries management discussion and activity will be able to top it. Today we took a one hour ferry ride out to Stellwagen Bank at the mouth of the Massachusetts Bay for a whale watch. Stellwagen Bank is essentially a 6 mile wide sand plateau referred to as a marine sanctuary. The sanctuary is known to be home to the following marine mammals: baleen whales, toothed whales, pinnipeds, fish, sea turtles and seabirds. A few key observations of today’s environment out at Stellwagen Bank are as follows: Date: 8/6/09, Time: between 1pm and 4pm, Air Temperature: approximately 70 degrees, Location: outer portion of Massachusetts Bay at Stellwagen Bank.

During the whale watch we were lucky enough to see multiple Humpback whales which are members of the Baleen species. Humpbacks are known for their unique body shape and for their extremely long pectoral fins. They weigh approximately 30 tons and can live up to around 200 years. During the watch we were lucky enough to see the whales perform a number of movements. The most frequent of the movements was the ‘fluke’ which is when they curve their bodies into the water and bring their flukes (fins) above the water. My favorite of the actions was ‘breaching’ which is known to be rare but lucky for us, it was not rare today. Breaching is when they completely jump up out of the water and land back with a big crash. This movement requires an incredible amount of energy as the whale is lifting all 30 tons up and out of the water. The exact reason they do this is unknown but some theories state they are looking to communicate with other whales in this fashion or that they’re possibly trying to shake barnacles of off their bodies. We also witnessed the whales ‘tale slapping’ which is when the lift their tail out of the water and slap it back down on the surface making quite a loud whacking sound. There are also a few whales which we were told by the employees are common to the area which we didn’t see. A few examples of these are the Fin and Minke Whales. The Fin whale is significantly larger than the Humpback weighing anywhere up to 50 tons and the Minke whale is the smallest of the group weighing up to 8 tons.


Here's a nice example of a Breach.

As to the question of whether we feel people should eat whales if there were enough of them, I don’t see why not. If in fact there were an abundance of whales in existence and the majority of them were not in jeopardy of becoming extinct then eating a whale would be no different than eating a striped bass. Who knows… they may be tasty!

- Nick Pinheiro

more cushin for the pushin

Good evening. Man I am beat. This class has really put these old bones through the wringer. Who knew it would be so physically draining yet so intellectually fulfilling! I spent the rest of my day today wandering the harbour and rewalking our day one trip. This time ending up at the ICA for free admission Thursday..followed by a stellar meal at the Barking Crab. I had a perfect vantage point of the dock where Dave, Alexandra and I went feeling around in the murky depths...but I digress...

Today began with us meeting at the State House in downtown Boston to bear witness to Bruce testifying on behalf of Lesser Brewster Island and its endangered and voiceless inhabitants. We were able to hear him reiterate the lessons he has tried to impart on us, as well as learn that there are allies in politics, people who do care about not only governing the people, but making sure the people have a safe and healthy place to live and play.

After the hearing, we beat a hasty retreat back to Long Wharf for one last hoorah. Today's trip: a whale watching cruise out to Stellwagen Bank, a national marine sanctuary situated outside of the Boston harbour that literally stretches the distance between Cape Ann and Provincetown...the entire opening into the Boston harbour is a marine sanctuary. How cool is that! The door to Boston is a rich and fertile feeding ground for some of the worlds most rare and endangered whales. Can we just take a moment to let the gravity of that sink in. Stellwagen Bank is home to Humpback, Minke, Fin, North Atlantic Right Whales, and White-Sided Dolphins. While some of these animals have made a comeback in recent years, the Right whale is still struggling to keep its name off the extinction list.

As excited as I was at the prospect of laying eyes on a near depleted species of whale, I would have been content with anything! Anything but a sleeping humpback whale for 20+ minutes...

The photo above illustrates the way in which a humpback whale sleeps. It is quite fascinating that these whales are 'conscious breathers' which basically means that they must think in order to breathe...kind of like that time you may have had too much to drink and you had to keep reminding yourself to breathe...you know who you are...but instead of an inner monologue and a restless night, the humpback whale is able to shut off part of its brain and use the other part just to breathe. The whale will switch on and off various parts of its brain in order to continue breathing AND sleeping at the same time. Kind of like when sitting in a boring lecture...you know you have tried it.

After 20 minutes of waiting for this whale to wake up, Bruce pointing out some spouts he saw in the distance, the boat crew finally decide it is time to try and find some more....interesting subjects to observe.

It did not take long for us to come upon another humpback whale, this guy was considered to be a juvenile, estimated to be about 1-2 years old. He was quite the star of the day! He pretty much spent the entire rest of our stay on the bank breaching (the act of throwing their bodies out of the water almost 2/3 of the way out and splashing down), doing fin waves and being all around cute! It is not yet understood why whales are so animated at times. doing tail and fin flips seem to only please the crowd, but it is theorized that their actions may have a variety of meanings, such as communication, personal grooming, and may even be a part of the courtship/mating ritual. Take a moment to enjoy this photographic interlude:








You will notice that the fins are almost completely white! Incredible! Each whale has distinctive markings that are used to tell them all apart. Like a fingerprint or a sassy new haircut...each whale is identifiable.

These large and beautiful creatures can live longer than any of us can imagine. Even though their life span is not completely known, there has been evidence of a whale surviving for over 100 years. A pretty epic feat in a rapidly dwindling ocean....due to environmental changes and human impact...Humpback whales can grow to be over 50ft in length and weigh upwards of 40tons, these creatures need room to move! Considering that the depth of Stellwagen Bank is roughly 100ft in depth, it takes little to no effort for one of these animals to dive to the bottom and up, no more effort than it takes a person to walk a few steps. I am still amazed at how massive yet graceful they are! I feel so incredibly fortunate for today and this entire week. Thank you all for being a part of my memories and my education!

PS. would/should i eat whale?

This is a hard question to answer....while I consider myself to be a bit of an epicurean explorer..I also understand that not everything exotic should be treated as food. Regardless of what we think a 'strong number' population there exists, we do not fully know the impact overwhaling could have on our environment...already I am quite conscious of the fish I put on my plate due to the overfishing of our waters...Do I want to start eating something that I could possibly bear witness to its removal from this planet....no I do not think I would like to see any more animals disappear due to gluttonous consumption.

link to ALL the photos I took today. Feel free to download them and use them for yourself :)