Thursday, July 18, 2013

Sarah Grose - Lovells Island

Blog #4: Lovells Island

We began our adventure to Lovells Island at 8:35am at Courthouse Dock. We were aboard The Belle. It was low tide, and the water appeared to be clearer than the past few days we had been at the harbor. However, this observation did not necessarily mean the water was cleaner or clearer. The sky was more blue today than days past, meaning it was reflecting a blue color, instead of grey making it appear clearer.

On the way to Lovells, we stopped to fish at a few different locations. Lucky for us, we made a few nice catches! We got a 9” and 15” black sea bass, a bregal, a mackerel and a striped sea bass. The black sea bass have increased in numbers in the harbor over the past three years. This could be attributed to the rising sea temperatures. Black sea bass were found mostly in warmer waters, making their habitat farther south than Boston. However, they have been swimming into the harbor, as the harbor becomes more habitable. Black sea bass are born female. Then, as they mature, they change into males. This means there is never a lack of matable partners. We noticed on one of the sea bass we caught that this fish had a large bump on top of his head. This bump denotes the fish is maturing, and changing into a male. The bregal was a pearly, light blue color. Also known as a sea perch, this fish was one of our smaller catches. The mackerel I caught was white on the bottomw, and a silver grey on top. It was quite a thin fish about 3” wide, and 6-9” long. Most of the fish we caught were swimming around 20 feet down. When we were between Long and Spectacle Island, we used the mackerel as bait to hopefully catch the striped bass. We lucked out, catching a 30” fish. It was covered in sea lice, small bugs that feed cling to the fish to eat. This indicates this striper was coming from the ocean, into the harbor from the ocean.

When we got to Lovells island, we began looking at the island habitat. As we got to the beach we would be observing and researching, we began to look at the types of creatures that inhabited the island. We found what turned out to be land snails on the beach, which was not what we expected to see. Land snails on an island, near the water seemed strange. We observed the same blue mussels we had seen in the main harbor. I spotted a cluster of them all lodged between to large rocks, getting splashed with water as the waves moved. Unlike the main harbor we had been looking in, we did not find any tunicates on Lovells island. There were periwinkle shells on the beach as well. These snails were not living in the shells, yet we found a cluster of about 5-6 of them all on the same rusted metal on the beach. We found small crabs, hermit crabs as well as the invasive green asian crab all living in the tide pools. 

On the way home from Lovells, we gutted the striper. We had already cut its throat when we caught it, so we started by cutting along the ribs to remove the "guts" or the intestines and the egg sacks (this was a female fish). We then removed the filets that we would later take home and eat. We cut the remaining flesh off and used it to make ceviche. I liked touching and looking at the other organs. The heart was very small, probably the size of a large walnut. The gills were bright red like the heart, while the rest of the organs were a pale skin tone. To cook my piece of this fish, I pan fried it in oil, then added Penzeys salt with herbs, giving it a really nice flavor. 

Looking at Lovells was very similar to the Barking Crab docks, however it appeared to have fewer species present. Perhaps at the Barking Crab, there are more floating protrusions such as the docks etc for things to cling and grow on. At Lovells, the tide is felt quite drastically, and we watched it rise just standing in the tide pools. 

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