Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Fishing, Swimming, and Dissecting- Coulter Bailey

Day four of our Snails to Whales class had us starting up earlier than previous days (8 am) to board the legendary Belle boat. This fishing vessel, captained by Charlie, took our class out from the docks by the Barking Crab Restaurant, and led us to Lovells Island. On the way, we stopped to do some fishing. Most of us, including myself, caught Black Sea Bass, which were relatively small, but still put up a fight to get into the boat. These fish actually start off as females, and turn into males, which is quite interesting, and not something I would think happens in fish.

My Big Catch!
In addition to the Black Sea Bass, we also caught Flounder, and a large Striped Bass. The Bass was difficult to reel in, and put up a big fight, but we were eventually victorious in getting it on the boat. We killed the fish, and put it in the cooler waiting to dissect it later in the day.

After catching our Striped Bass, we continued onto Lovells Island, where we spent time walking around and swimming in tide pools. We managed to find similar marine life to what we found by the Barking Crab including different types of crabs. The crabs included invasive Asian shore crabs, as well as green crabs, and hermit crabs. We also found Common Periwinkles, and Rough Periwinkles attached to many rocks in the tide pools. Along the shore, and in the water there was rock weed with large poppers and Northern Rock Barnacles. There were also Orange Sheath Tunicates, and while there used to be more, they have depleted because they smack into rocks and fall off other rocks during storms. This does not happen as much in the harbor, which is part of why the Orange Sheath Tunicates are so popular on the docks.

After spending time in the water, we made our well back to the Belle where we would dissect, and clean the Striped Bass on the way back to port. Starting out, Captain Charlie cleaned out the fish's insides, and showed us the different parts of the fish's anatomy. We took a look at the bass's stomach contents, and concluded that it had eaten shrimp, and other small sea animals. It was quite a treat to see the dissection before us, and watch how to clean a fish. Some also ate some of Bruce's home made Ceviche, but I was not adventurous to try it. Regardless, it was a great experience, and a great time on the water! It was a great way to spend a Monday, as we got to fish and swim, and learn about some things I have never seen before.
The Big Catch!

After the Dissection

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