Thursday, July 26, 2012

If Sally sells seashells....Sully's sells.....

What a beautiful day we had out at Castle Island.  South Boston is not typically an area that I would normally visit, but after the lovely day I spent there I will be making a concerted effort to make it back over there soon!  Located just south of the city's epicenter, Castle Island offers city dwellers a beautiful beach oasis.  surrounded not only by vehicular traffic, it is located next to a big shipping port, and not too far away is Boston's international Logan Airport.  Amidst all the activity, castle island serves as a type of sanctuary for people to relax and grab some fried clams, cheap dogs, and lobster rolls.     
This picture shows my classmates exploring the clean beach with the city in the background
This little inlet is Pleasure bay.  Surely a pleasurable place to relax and take part in water sports such as swimming, sailing, windsurfing, fishing, and wading.  With imported sand brought in from Cape Cod, these beaches are not only clean but aesthetically pleasing and comfortable for visitors.

Swimable sandy beaches along the coast have lifeguards on duty to further protect the safety of the visitors.

 Hundreds of boats are anchored here.  People really take advantage of the cleanliness of the water here.
 Even kids get to play!
Check out this big lobster this kiddo pulled out of the lobster trap!  Watch out little guy, you might find yourself in a Lobster Roll at Sullivan's!
Adding to the appeal of this great area, there is a terrifically quick cheap and easy restaurant named Sullivan's at the end of the boardwalk.  Famous among Bostonians, Sullivan's, or Sully's look forward to trekking out to castle island to much on some deliciously greasy fried clams or hot dogs on the water.    I opted for a leisurely skateboard adventure down the boardwalk and a yummy lobster roll.  :)


If the water in the Boston Harbor were dirty, there would be very little appeal to visiting this awesome place.  On our visit I witnessed hundreds of people using the beach for a multitude of reasons.  I saw people, tanning, relaxing, biking, running, eating, swimming, sailing and learning.  If the water was polluted nobody would come to hang out on the beach, so there would be no reason for the community to spend any money on upkeep so the area would be decrepit.  I dont know about the people in Southie, but I know that i certainly wouldn't want to run, bike, or skateboard around a run down area with a polluted cesspool right in the middle.  YUCK!  Organizations like save the harbor save the bay make it their priority and mission to provide the public with clean water so they can enjoy the summer months outside at great locations like Pleasure Bay at Castle Island.

*Examples of pollution: Car engine on shore line....Can only imagine how many more there are!
-As I dug down the water turned black and oily.  Is this vehicular waste or deposits?  Perhaps from cars driven in to the water.  This is a topic I'd like to study more about.  But I believe that the Boston Harbor served as a receptacle for stolen cars, get away cars, and old cars.  Obviously motivated by criminal acts these cars ended up in the harbor illegally.  They must secrete oil and other fluids that pollute the harbor and successively, the ocean.
-The third example of pollution on the beach is demonstrated by cigarette butts caught in some dried up rock-weed on the beach.  Gross!  I know smoking is a nasty habit, but this takes it to the next level.  
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As I cruised the beach I stopped to do some observations.  What I found was similar to the other sites we had previously visited, but different in that both kinds of environments were represented in one area.    We have somewhat of an intertidal area, but also because of the man made structures and barriers on the shoreline we have a vertical tide complete with some floating docks.  Consequentially I found some of the same stuff here as I did at the previous locations.  Here's a look at what I found at the beach:

Easy access to the beach....and look, Nice and Sandy!  Because it was low tide, down by the water ti got a little rocky.  While this area wasn't necessarily thriving with tons of seaweed, it did offer a variety of plants to study.  I took a samples of a couple of the things i found on the sandy beach and took a picture on my skateboard.  Both for a cool background but also for scale.  We all know roughly how big a skateboard is.      

I found a Blue Mussel, Irish moss, tunicates partially covered the irish moss, Razor clam and mussel.  I found some kind of brownish weed attached to a rock.  Probably some kind of rock weed.  And another pretty delicate red weed.  At first I was afraid it might be Lion's mane, but it proved to be safe to touch.  Scary!!!!  Of course I included that vibrant green leaf of sea lettuce.  DID NOT find any periwinkles here despite the rocky habitat.

I then looked at what was happening at the tide gate.  In constant motion letting water in and out this area is always wet much like the floating docks in the inner harbor.  There i found all kinds of growth.  Check out the pics!

Found lots of Rock-weed and fouling organisms.  Just like the floating docks!  these pics are from the area right under the bridge.  Lots of nutrients here, but not too much, otherwise these plants wouldn't be able to grow.

Anyways, this report has been a bit tangential, but what I am getting at is that we as Bostonians are very lucky to have this urban oasis right in our city because otherwise we'd have to drive super far to get to a decent beach.  Castle Island offers so many activities that act as community and economic builders.  Offering residents and visitors alike a space for leisure, sport and recreation, Castle island draws hundreds of thousands to its shores each year.  Benefiting the community individually and collectively,  this area is truly a special spot.  None of this would be possible without clean water. Thanks Save the Harbor Save the Bay!

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