Monday, July 25, 2011

George's Island and Lovells Island

Upon our arrival on George's Island we began exploring Fort Warren. What a place. The pentagonal fort took 10 years to finish and stands today a fairly impressive structure. Complete with barracks, store houses, bakeries, jail cells, and even fields for recreation, Georges Island was no doubt a crucial fort in maintaining security in Boston Harbor. We were very causally exploring the fort but I couldn't help but wonder the agony prisoners experienced in the dark halls we were so casually laughing through. I shudder to think what this fort was like during a treacherous Boston winter.

Once we entered the courtyard we were regaled of the tale of the Lady in Black. (not the black lady.) Mrs. Lanier received a letter from her husband saying that he was imprisoned on fort Warren. Her gut impulse was to somehow get to this island and rescue him. She arrived on the island and started whistling the first verse to her wedding theme because everyone knows that it's infinitely easier to whistle and wait for a reciprocating second verse as opposed to just calling out the name of the confederate soldier. Regardless, they eventually found each other and because it's easier to enter a secret entrance and not leave it just as easily Mrs. Lanier brought a pick axe. Unfortunately weeks into their tunnel digging the couple was found. Since the pistol Mrs. Lannier had was so old, the pistol misfired and killed her husband. What an embarrassing end to what could have been a great pub tale. Mrs. Lannier's only request was that she be buried in women's clothing. Due to either the lack of women on the island or the priority of the request all they could find were black robes. Mrs Lannier was hung/shot by firing squad?? And supposedly haunts the island to this day. Georges Island brought us tales of whimsy and wonder and some equally great views of Hull.

The next stop was Lovell’s island. We were greeted by a park ranger who gave us an overview of the island. During his lectured I noticed a pamphlet that listed all of the animal finds that were common to Lovell Island. Overall, it didn’t help much but this it was a great tool for later going online and seeing if there were creatures I did see and had missed.

Upon making it down to the beach we were greeted by a colony of crabs. It didn’t take long before a brief crab fighting octagon took place near the rack line in a tidal pool. It was interesting seeing how the crabs acted without their shells. They would often try to retreat to other shells but despite all of the shells being identical they knew exactly which shells were occupied and which shells weren’t. It was traumatic in some ways seeing that helpless green crab being mauled by that seagull but come on! You think he would have gotten the hint. There weren’t any other green crabs down there and they’re not the most quick animal on the beach. It makes me wonder if more come out at night when they can not be as easily seen by predators from the sky.

One of the more interesting animals I didn’t expect to find was a sponge. It looked like it had been on the shore for a while because the inside of it seemed dried up and it was wrapped in different kinds of seaweed. Unfortunately I couldn’t find his pineapple home. …Sorry…

I was taken by great surprise when we found the large population of snails. One tree in particular was a host to over 10 snails (probably more.) The snails were less shy than the periwinkles we found on the beach. I assumed this is because in the scheme of things between the ocean violently crashing on them all the time is likely to make them a little self conscious of their size while the snails go relatively unnoticed and can stay in the same spot for hours unless they’re taken captive by fun loving perverse college students.

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