We had an extra early morning today for our first island sunrise from Broad Cove. We watched the colors spread across the sky in the company of gulls sitting, flying and calling from the surrounding rocks. We returned to the observatory deck of the central Commons building to pause and re-adjust our senses: shifting from a mainland mentality to an island one. We are still coming to terms with a new place that can seem both big and small at the same time.
After a delicious breakfast, we left dry land to fish for mackerel.
On the way to our fishing spot, the ocean was still and flat on the surface, but there was wildlife everywhere! We passed a grey seal along with plenty of cormorants, gulls and terns. The boat captain anchored us near an area of upwelling, where warm water currents bring nutrients from below up towards the surface. Within 15 minutes, fishing lines were reeled in with 4-5 mackerel per pole (some even had 6 fish at a time!), faster than we could get them off the hooks!
We motored back to the island to squeeze in our next exploration of the area’s tide pools. Intertidal zones are a harsh environment with drastic changes in temperatures and water levels, and we had an opportunity to find and observe the organisms that are adapted to survive in these conditions. Our wading was paused by the excited discoveries of hermit crabs, a Gunnell fish (it looked like a small eel), periwinkles, barnacles, small sea urchins, and a variety of algae (what we might call “seaweed” in the South). There is great joy to be found in taking the time to search for life that is often hidden just beyond our sight.
“Signals for Survival” was our after dinner movie treat. We learned about the behaviors of the herring and Great Black-backed gulls that we have observed while staying on the island. Effective communication between gulls is essential for their survival, and we reflected how true this is for humans too.
5 years ago
Questions: Do you eat the mackerel and did you have to clean them? Did you see any big crabs with big claws? The kids are anxious to hear about starfish.
5 years agoAUTHOR
Strangely, we didn’t eat the mackerel (so we didn’t have to clean it, except to wash off the fishy mucus), instead we painted with the mackerel! We used an old Japanese painting technique called gyotaku – “fish rubbing”. Fishermen used to paint their fish and then lay very thin paper over top of them to make a fish-print. This allowed them to document their catch before selling it in the market. We collected a sea urchin which is relative of sea star. I sent a picture to Mr. Curtis. Thank you for your amazing questions. Who won the hallway race?
5 years ago
Has Frances found any flowers? Has Renee seen any wolves? Has Ginny found the bears? Has Megan located the salamanders?????
5 years agoAUTHOR
Frances has seen LOTS of flowers (and she eagerly awaits the alpine wildflowers and lichens of the White Mountains). Renee hasn’t seen any wolves, but she has seen dolphins and whales and a basking shark! Ginny hasn’t seen any bears either, but she has had her ‘bare’ feet in the chilly waters of the intertidal zone. And I haven’t been looking under boards, but there is strangely, ONE species of salamander (the red-backed) that is occasionally found on the island. We have a MUCH higher probability of seeing them once we get to the northern hardwood forests in the White mountains.