Welcome to Snails to Whales, Bruce Berman's Boston Harbor blog focused on both the little and the big things that make Boston Harbor such an extraordinary place to live, work and play.
It is also a place for my Boston University students and my colleagues at Save the Harbor / Save the Bay to share their work and experiences.
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Castle Island Adventure!
Today's trip to Castle Island was my favorite so far. I took my shoes off as soon as we hit the shores and waded into the water to see what I could find lurking under the rocks and sand. When we first stepped onto the beach, I noticed how sandy and filled with people it was. There weren't distinct wrack lines like we found on Peddocks Island which made it harder to figure how high the highest tide was. The tide was rising when we got there at 1:17 since low tide was at 10:25 a.m. today and high tide would be at 4:38 pm. (http://www.boatma.com/tides/July/Charlestown-Charles-River-entrance-Boston-Harbor.html) As we moved along the shore it got rockier and life became more apparent. It wasn't that hard to find flora and fauna to study in the bigger rock areas since they were attached to rocks, under rocks, and in between rocks. There were periwinkles, blue mussels, star tunicates, orange sheath tunicates, sponges, and crabs all within two feet of the water line. I found that life was most abundant under big rocks as the tunicates and sponges would grow there and then crabs would burrow underneath them. There were many more varieties of crabs on this beach than on Peddocks as well. The most common one I spotted was a small brownish crab that had a neon underbelly. Other larger crabs could also be found on shore but most of those were dead and some were wounded.
<Mussel with tunicates living inside of it.
<Clam shell with amphipods crawling on the outside.
<A wounded crab located on the beach. This crab was missing its front pincers.
A shell coated in seaweed.>
<Another large dead crab.
A hermit crab popping out of its shell.>
<The small crabs with neon underbellies.
Giant oyster shell.>
Oyster shell to scale.>
<Rock covered in tunicates and barnacles.
<Mussel, slipper shells, and orange tunicates attached to rock.
To me, the importance of clean water can be found not only in what we can do with it and in it but what that reflects about a city, country, or society. I think its great that there are still places in the world where water is safe, animal life is abundant, and people are aware of their impact on the nature, wet or dry, in their area. I don't have a very extensive relationship with the ocean, since I usually only find myself there during the summer or on family vacations, but I still think it is a beautiful and extraordinary piece of nature that must be respected and maintained. I do love to swim though and if I had been unable to experience swimming and playing in natural bodies of water when I was growing up I feel like I would have been cheated out of something great. The ocean is a great teaching tool for a new generation of thinkers, policy makers, activists, and people who are in charge of the fate of our world. And I think respect and trust is at the heart of what values make clean water possible (besides the technology, money, and policy part). It is important to value the cleanliness about our beaches, lakes and rivers because they hold so much diversity and so many species, part of what makes our world so beautiful and so special. Learning to keep our beaches and water clean is just a part of learning to take care of the world at large, including each other. Plus its great to experience what a beach holds and learn what makes it so special! It is unfortunate that there are people in the world that are deprived of the magic of the ocean and the pleasure of swimming in it.