Monday, July 23, 2012

A side of Boston I had never seen

       It was a hot morning when we set off on a journey to Peddock's island via the harbor cruise shuttle. One interesting thing that started our day was when Professor Berman pointed out the large flock of seagulls milling about over a patch of water out in the middle of the harbor. He noted that it must be because they were hunting the striped bass that was swimming just below the surface, and that it is a great sign that the striped bass were back the waters of Boston.Our class was virtually the only ones on the island when we arrived, aside from the sea creatures we were to soon encounter. We made our way on a path on the left side of the island, past the buildings that were used as protection from the Nazi's as well as prisons for POWs at the turn of the nineteenth century. We eventually came to a very vast beach that contained many different kinds of terrains and animals. Our class first started our walk along the beach on a very pebbly beach as the tide was going down. Their were many small rocks, of all shapes and colors as well as many empty shells of periwinkles, of all different sizes. we had yet to encounter a living periwinkle. As we headed down the beach, further and further away from the dock we had arrived on, the pebbles seemed to turn into larger rocks, and the shells began to disappear closer to the oceans edge.
      A few people in the class started to see living creatures other then seaweed, such as the Asian shore crab, which is an invasive species of crabs that we found hides under large rocks and trying to escape our cameras as they fled to the ocean. About half way to our lunch spot, we came upon a deceased horseshoe crab, which Professor Berman had suggested was caught and then discarded by a fisherman. Nevertheless, it looked like it had started to be eaten by various beach dwelling animals such as the two crabs we found near the dead horseshoe crab. this provides us with an example of the negative side of fishing in the Boston Harbor, but I left the horseshoe crab in high hopes that another animal would get a nice meal out of him. You have to take the good with the bad, right?
         Once we got to our destination where we would each lunch, we got a chance to explore a little bit of the island for ourselves. Hidden away behind the beach and the tall grass, was a almost completely dried up salt marsh. Although it has almost dried up all the way due to the lack of rain we had had in Boston, I still witnessed some sea life from within the marsh's water. When I crouched down to get a better view, I immediately came across two crabs that were hidden within the mud. I believe these crabs could have possibly been fiddler crabs, or maybe some more Asian shore crabs that found their way to the protection of the mud. When I walked around the marsh some more, I saw even more crabs. Careful not to sink neck deep into the mud, I also saw some small fish swimming even deeper in the water. I spent some of the boat ride back wondering when it would rain, so that those small fish and crabs would continue to have a salt marsh to call home. As we walked back, with a new perspective on what was underneath rocks and near the edge of the water, the class spread out and found some live periwinkles because the tide was going out. we also found a tide pool with creatures such as barnacles, periwinkles and more Asian shore crabs that were underneath a large rock. And we even held the crabs! I must admit I was sure it was going to pinch me, but I couldn't pass up the chance to hold one.
We made our way to George's Island where we waited for the boat back to the Boston waterfront. I went over in my head what I had seen, touched, explored and learned on Peddock's island, and it was much more then I bargained for. But also, it was much more then I would have learned from reading a book or googling the facts. I have lived in Boston my entire twenty years of living and have never explored the harbor islands (or underneath the docks) in any of those years. I eagerly look forward to what we will explore and learn next.

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