Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Fog and Senate Fun!

We entered this week with some interesting weather. Both Monday and Tuesday were incredibly foggy and added a sense of mystery while hanging out on Long Island at CHV. At the end of the week, we took a trip to the Edward M Kennedy Center to learn about our legislature.
So many crabs
A couple overcast, foggy days were well needed after being hit with day after day of scorching heat. The fog had gotten so thick at times where if you were at one end of the pier, it was almost impossible to see the other end. Despite the ominous weather, we still managed to have a great time fishing! We didn’t have much luck on the poles, but we had some crabs and even got to observe a seal swimming about the pier. Later on in the week the gloom lifted and brought back some nicer weather to the harbor islands. After a day of no fish we were shocked to find dozens of crabs in the trap which captivated all of fishing club.

The crazy fog
We participated in an activity that was a little different from things we had done in past weeks. We got to tour the Edward M. Kennedy Center and learn all about the institution that EMK loved, the United States Senate. Although this wasn’t exactly intertwined with Boston Harbor, it is important that we understand the way our government works. Landmark legislation has led to many environmental successes. Environmental legislation dates back over 100 years including the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act and many others. The institution of the Clean Water Act allowed for the cities of Boston and Quincy to sue for the clean up of Boston Harbor to turn it into the place we know today. It was a pleasure to participate in the tour of the EMK Center and I was grateful to have received a lesson on how our government works.
Next week will be full of exciting activities, from staff day on Monday to the two fishing trips scheduled on Tuesday and Wednesday!


"Can You Feel It Now Mr. Krabs?"

With another week down in the Summer, almost wrapping up, we continue to have new fun experiences! This week we visited both Spectacle Island and Georges Island and had a mini Beach Bash at Carson Beach to round out the week.

This week I was at All Access once again! And I continue to have the time of my life here! This week was very eventful in the sense that Tuesday was our annual fishing derby! Call time was at 7 am! And we had the privilege of being on the boat with Captain Charlie! After 5 hours of fishing and recklessly eating twizzlers, we caught a couple of flounders and skates. The best part had to be the entire experience. It was my first time fishing off a boat into the middle of nowhere (which was actually Quincy) and not off of a dock drop casting. Although I was a very unlucky fisherwoman who had her bait stolen not once or twice but countless of times, it was cool to see the fish at the top of the water rather than the bottom. We were in their territory, and I gained an appreciation for fish and their ecosystems that I did not have before. Also, I appreciate fishing way more because you have to have patience for that which I have not mastered yet.

Fishing at Georges
The rest of the week seemed to have flown by as we continued our regular programming at All Access. Thursday we went to Georges Island and fished with many excited little kids. When we got off the boat, it seemed like there weren't that many kids, but when we set up fishing, there were kids everywhere. I've noticed about myself that I like to give every kid a chance at fishing because I don't know how hard it is for some of them to experience fishing. So I try to do my best to allow everyone to fish. When they're not fishing they're at the touch tank or pulling up one of our various crab traps. If they can't at least fish, then they could hold a crab or learn the difference between a male and female crab. Many of which like to use the term "Can you feel it now, Mr. Krabs?" which I get is a SpongeBob reference, I just don't understand how every kid says it in sync after catching a crab. It makes me laugh.

Friday was the mini Beach Bash at Carson beach. Aleena and I took the time and dedication to create a Save the Harbor/ Save the Bay banner. While we worked on the banner, others were fishing or playing sports, serving food, blowing up the HUGE beach ball (me), or just running around and playing in the water with one of the hundred kids that showed up for the event. We ate some amazing hot dogs, sang our verse for "Haul Away Joe" and had a great time. Personally this week was one of my favorite weeks because I got to interact with so many kids and create a bond with them! I hope I continue making these bonds as I go into my final week working here and enjoy my next week even more than I enjoyed this one!
Aleena and I with our Save the Harbor Save the Bay Banner! 

The Underlying Chaos

Sam showing crabs to those in line
I thought seasons changed without warning in Virginia but this is ridiculous! Monday was the coldest day so far this summer and I definitely was not expecting it! It was supposed to rain so I brought a jacket but I wore shorts which turned out to be a very bad idea when working right next to the water. But it was also just the day we needed because everyone was in a better mood since it was not hot out. I guess some of the patrons of the Children's Museum were also in high spirits because the line to get into the museum was out the door and wrapped around the benches where we were for over an hour! We had so many kids come over to fish and pull up the crab traps while their parents held their place in line. Some kids were too young to leave their parents in line so Sam brought some of the
crabs we had caught to them so these kids could see the crabs while waiting for the museum as well!

Trying to catch a lobster the size of the milk bottle!
When the next few days came I immediately knew I had taken the fabulous weather from Monday for granted because it was back to being hot and humid. Even in this weather there was one boy who stood and fished with me for a long while, talking about all things marine! The topic of this discussion was about the huge lobster Save the Harbor had caught at Atlantic Wharf a few weeks prior. I had told him about this massive lobster they caught that had claws the size of my head and he said "what if that lobster was as big as you?" and "what if it grew as big as that milk bottle?" (referring to the Hood nearby).
Baby green crab!
Baby flounder!
This went on for a few minutes but ended with "what if the lobster was as big as the world! There would be no room left for the people!" I enjoyed helping him fish because I forget how imaginative the brains of children are and it was refreshing to hear some of his ideas. We then caught my favorite fish (a baby flounder!) and an amazing crustacean (a baby green crab!) and had a baby touch tank!

This week David Lee came to speak with us about his career and showed us some of the unique buildings he has designed throughout his career. I found his talk interesting since I do not know a lot about architecture so it was a great way to learn about another career. We then were able to visit the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the Senate which was a really cool experience because we got to go into an exact replica of the United States Senate Chamber and participate in a vote similar to how they would in the true Senate. It was a great end to the week!

Catch ya out on the harbor!


Sunday, August 19, 2018

Lobster Catch and the Edward Kennedy Institute

Hi everyone!

David Coffin loves lobster!
This week was an exciting week. On Monday, we led a Share the Harbor cruise to Georges Island with 314 people. Tuesday through Thursday, we were on Spectacle. On Thursday, it was pretty crazy because we caught a lobster. I was sitting by the touch tank with some kids, when I heard another kid yell, "I got a lobster! I got a lobster!" I automatically assumed the girl got a crab, and was confused, but when I looked over, she actually had a small lobster attached to her rod. Surprisingly, it held on as the rod was reeled in, and we put rubber bands on its claws before putting it in our touch tank. Later, before we left Spectacle, we dumped the rest of our crabs out back into the ocean, but gave the lobster to some New England Aquarium staff. They often also have a touch tank at Spectacle, and they were thrilled at our "gift!" They promised to return her in the ocean when they were done. 

A replica of EMK's office
On Friday, we all met at Sullivan's for a quick lunch. We ate some delicious food--lobster rolls, clam strips, crab cake sandwiches, fish & chips, onion rings, fries, and frappes! Afterwards, we drove over to the Edward Kennedy Institute (EKI) to learn more about the role of Congress in U.S. politics, and Edward M. Kennedy's role as a previous U.S. Senator. I had never gone before, and was unsure of what to expect. I found myself having a lot of fun and learning some really interesting things about EMK and U.S. history! We all held tablets and acted as Senators-in-training as we listened to our tour guide explain everything from how a bill is introduced to EMK's influence over many North Americans. At the end of our tour, we all headed into a room that was a replica of the official Senate chamber! It was much smaller than I expected, but extremely cool nonetheless. A couple of actors introduced a mock introduction for the pending nomination (PN) of Brett Kavanaugh as Supreme Court Justice, and encouraged us to participate in the activity. A few people argued for or against Kavanaugh's nomination, explaining the various pros + cons of his possible appointment. It was very entertaining, but also allowed us to really get an opportunity to think more about current U.S. politics. It was a great way to end the week, especially because right before work, I voted early in the state primaries! Yay for civic responsibility!

Are we in the real Senate chamber??

See you next week,

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Back to the Children's Museum!

Well, I was back at Children's this week! Although it was an eventful week. We had got a ton of people that wanted to fish throughout the week. We even got a striped bass! The story behind catching it is the crazy part of it.

The striped bass was caught, not by an adult, not by our staff, but by a 9 year old Japanese girl. How crazy is that? It was a 16-inch bass, so not legal to keep, but still cool. But that's not the end of that part of the story! When I asked them if they wanted to try fishing, at first it was only the boy, but after two tries, the girl wanted to as well. I tell you, when it hit the bottom, everyone thought it had gotten snagged on seaweed or a rock, which is not uncommon, but no, it was bent and perfectly straight without pulling on it. A fish had grabbed the bait as soon as it was put into the water. So, we reeled it in as close to the dock as possible, without pulling it out of the water because the tide was too far out. At first, we tried to get it into a bucket so that we didn't risk the line snapping, but after about 3 or 4 minutes of failures, I decided to just strong man pull it up. Still felt lucky because I don't know the test on the lines (how heavy something can be so the line wouldn't snap).

We made sure to let the girl hold her fish and get a picture of her. I was probably the next most lucky person there, because of them stopping and trying fishing, I had a chance to practice my Japanese! I recited my jikoshokai, which roughly translates to "self introduction" and screwed up a tiny bit. I don't know whether they were being nice, or they truly thought that I did well... It may have been the fact that I tried at all, especially when the majority that they hear is English.

Another group was at Atlantic Wharf this day, and since they were having trouble catching crabs at the beginning, we gave them some of our crabs for their touch tank. Later, after we got the fish, they came back. I was a little sad to see the fish go, especially since we had caught it at our sight, but it was nice that we got to share it with other kids!

Whoa living on a prayer,

Learning to cook!

Tuesday we were able to get a chance to see how to prepare flounder! We got to watch an amazing chief, by the name of Basil, prepare two flounders right in front of us! One of them, he decided to filet and pan fry, while the other he wanted to just cook whole! Lemme tell you, if you were in that kitchen and smelled that, your stomach would be roaring to eat it in no time. When I say this, I mean it. When I left my house, I had just eaten, but as soon as these flounder hit the oil, my stomach was rumbling for food. Looking at the uncooked fish, you would never have known just how good that fish was going to be! My only wish was that we had a bit of rice to go along with all of it.

Final look of the filets
The first step Basil did was to filet the smaller of the two flounder. He showed us how to correctly filet one because they are very weird due to being a flat fish and not having the same amount of meat on each side. The first thing you do is to cut right at the shoulder... "Wait, fish have shoulders?" is what you must be asking yourself right now, but no, the shoulder refers to the part right next to the head of a fish where the gills and meat interact. So, a nice cut there, and then made a nice neat slice down to the tail. At this moment, both him and Bruce reminded us about the importance of a sharp knife when doing this. As we watched, Basil told us to listen to the knife scraping along the bones. If you ever dragged a stick or bottle along a metal fence while passing it, that is exactly how it sounds. The next part was to skin the filets, and he did this by cutting a small piece at one side of the filet and sliding his knife along the skin under the meat, and separating them. Moving those aside, he got rid of the guts and gills from the rack, the bones, head and tail, and threw it into a pot of water to make a fish stock.

Final look of the Whole Fish!
The second, and larger fish was going to be cooked whole. For this, Basil cut into the fish and sliced it open in order to remove all the guts. What a sound that made! But my did that fish look tasty then! Open stomach, guts falling out, and a nasty liquid that was probably from the stomach. At that point, I think everybody was hungry from the anticipation. Basil asked us if we wanted to keep the head on or not when we cooked it. Everybody said no, but for me, I think it would have been kinda cool for it to happen, but unfortunately, I was alone in that thought, so we cut the head off. After that, Basil cut the tail and fins off just so we didn't have to worry about them in the food. The final part was to scale and wash the fish.

For the spices on the fillets, we salted and peppered them, and "derging," which is just putting the fish into flour, and then pan frying them. For the whole fish, he cut slits into the fish so it would cook faster, and put lemons, parsley and thyme into the stomach cavity to give it some more flavoring, but again, salted and peppered. For the whole fish, we started with pan frying to get a nice color and texture on both sides of the fish. but once it had good coloring, Basil placed it into his oven, which was not working 100% but got the job done, and let it sit in there for the remainder of the time until the fillet were done cooking.

Just too GOOD!!!
Wanting more fish now...

Back and Better!

I'm back and better Bloggers! Now at All Access!

Due to popular demand, the children at All Access asked for an enthusiast on learning and exploring so off I went! My first week at All Access, with my friends such as Kharliyah and Patrice, made it seem like All Access is where I was meant to be all summer! The typical day looks like this:
We meet the camps at the Blue Hills Bank Pavilion, which is so cool because I know growing up I never even stepped foot in to an area such as the Pavilion. We greet the camps and hear a story about the island we're about to explore, which can be either Georges Island or Spectacle Island. It's a humbling experience interacting with the kids here because its when they're the most enthusiastic. Some kids, like many from this week, have never been to Spectacle Island, and were just as curious and excited as I was. I found pleasure in connecting with them because we had something in common: It was our first time!

After we learn about the islands we begin our journey to the boat. We walk alongside the kids, some in front to guide and some in the back to observe. And all you hear are kids fascinated by the contraptions we have in our hands.  "Is that a crab trap?!" You hear from one end, and "WOAH a fishing rod!" from another, as if we're on our way to save the world! And for a slight moment we are, we're guiding the children, many who wouldn't be able to enjoy such a trip without Save the Harbor/ Save the Bay,  to further their curiosity and enjoy things such as fishing and holding crabs!

Young girl who I taught how to fish
On the boat we walk round and interact with the kids, talk about the latest Disney and Nickelodeon pop culture. Us Junior Program Assistants and Lead Harbor Explorers feel old with these conversations for the most part. We then break into Moana ballads, and maybe do the 'In My Feelings Challenge.' And just like that 20 minutes have gone by and we're off the boat and onto Georges! Once we get off the boat and onto the island, we set up shop and proceed to fish and play sports! Luckily I got to fish and help a young girl feel confident in her fishing capabilities. She didn't know how to fish and somehow convinced herself it was impossible, after a couple pep talks and reassurance, she grabbed the fishing rod and caught a crab! It was nice to help someone feel better about themselves and try something new!
Views from Georges

Just like that my first week at All Access was in the books! And I'm already waiting for my next experience! Until then!!

Ollie Palooza!

Hey Crew!

For this week's topic I would like to share with you guys the first event I worked. This was the event at Ollie Palooza in South Boston. It was interesting and the setting was a fun place to be at. It was like a little carnival. There was popcorn, snow cones, hot dogs, bouncy houses, water slides, etc. Our fish printing station added on to the joy of all the little kids running around.

Fish printing is not what it sounds like. You don’t literally print fish, but then again you do. It’s simple, really. First you choose which colors to paint your fish, it could either be a fake rubber one or a real dead one. After you’ve painted it, you take a piece of rice paper to put on top of the fish. Then you should quickly dab/transfer the paint from the fish onto the paper. When you remove the paper, you should be careful because sometimes if the fish was too wet, the paper would rip.

The purpose of teaching kids how to fish print connects to the general purpose of Save the Harbor. It connects them to the Harbor. Nine times out of ten I bet these kids didn’t even know what fish printing was. As they come up to us they ask questions and vise versa. Often even I learn new things.

There were many things I didn’t know before doing fish printing at this job. It’s a learning experience for both staff and the children. I didn’t even know what a flounder was or what they looked like. I was shocked when I learned that they swim on their backs, I didn’t know that was possible. We have yet to catch one on one of our rods, but hey, who knows?! See you guys next time!


Fishing Derby 2018

Hello Save the Harbor!

I'm excited to share with you guys how my first fishing derby experience was. If I'm being honest with you guys, the thought of waking up at 6 in the morning and fishing on a boat for about 4 hours did not please me. However, I actually liked it because it was fun. Despite the fact that I didn't catch anything, I had a good time. Unlike the day at orientation, I didn't get sea sick this time!

I got to go on Charlie's boat so it was familiar to me. The people in my group were: Aleena, Patrice and her brother, Damani, Kharliyah, Maeve, Bridget, Ariagnna, and Brianna. They're all so nice and we took many pictures/selfies with Bridget! It was a relaxing and peaceful day as another opportunity to spend time with coworkers outside of actual work. Charlie also is a very nice captain, he never hesitated to help us out.

Although I tried, I didn't have the luck of catching anything. However, many on our boat did. Aleena caught a small striped bass and a baby skate and a few others did as well. I enjoyed my time on the boat, feeling the excitement when one of us caught something. We laughed and smiled a lot, it was great.

Fishing this summer was a new experience for me. It's another one of the many things this job has taught me. Summer's almost over and having this skill is a privilege as not many have it. But I do think I've had enough of it, not because I don't like it, but because it requires way more patience than I have. I enjoy passing on this skill to all the kids we get to meet, and I look forward to doing so for these last few weeks!


Fishing Derby 2.0

It was the day. The day I would finally get revenge on Eric. It was a 7 am call time, but that didn't matter to me. I was going to make this happen, Eric was going down. When I got there, about half the staff was there and SHE's were waiting to direct people towards the dock. As I was walking down to where we were meeting, I watched as our staff were moving snacks. When I got there, I asked Bridget if there was any left, which was luckily a negative. Heading down to the dock, I saw many people that I didn't know, so I went and talked to them with whom ever they were with. Starting with Michael and his brother. Only half to my surprise, Michael's brother also had a single braid. Apparently the two of them are both avid fishermen. So I talked with them for a bit, and learned that their father had taught all three of them, though the oldest doesn't fish that often.

Everybody together!!!
After that, I went to talk to my good friend Colin, who had brought his girlfriend with him. I ended up talking to them for the majority of the remaining time on the dock, but they were interesting conversations. But, the time had come, the time we had all been waiting for! Group photo time! You thought I was going to say fishing time, didn't you? Nope, first we had to get a few pictures of us with the banner in the background. After that, we finally were given a small talk about what we were trying to achieve. There were two trophies to win, one for most fish caught, and second one for the BIGGEST fish caught. So we all got split into different teams and sent to different boats. I had hoped to get assigned to Basil's boat, because he's funny, though sadly I did not. But on the up side, I was put into a boat with Meaghan, whom I have spent the majority of the summer with.

On the boat we talked about an assortment of topics, some of which included injuries and then reflecting on their past mistakes. The reason we had gone into the injury discussion was because we had gone into a strait that is dangerous at high tide because of the currents. Our boat captain, who works with the harbor police, had told us a story about how one day he was responding to a boat on fire and how it was just the engine smoking. Just about that time, we had got our first fish. I was the closest, so I was the one to reel him in. Sadly it was too small, so we couldn't keep him. and we continued for a bit longer until all three of our staff had caught one fish each.

Getting back to the dock, I was slightly anxious because I didn't see Eric. Just as we were about to wrap up, Colin somehow managed to catch a 28.25 inch Stripped bass. In the end, Colin won the largest fish award and another boat got the most fish due to catching 12 fish... But still, no sign of Eric. Now that was a lucky break for me. Later, Eric told me that his boat had gotten back 10 minutes after everybody had left! I won, but only due to disqualification...

Lookin for that fish

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

My Second Fishing Derby

I came back to All Access this Monday for Share the Harbor, and we had 544 people from camps, families, and friend groups come out to Spectacle Island. I dressed as a pirate and passed out the broadsheets to a majority of the people. This was all to give them a little bit of an introduction to Pirate history and our sea shanty "Haul Away Joe". We gathered a group of people to sing Haul Away Joe, and there was a dance group from Trinidad that really liked the song. After we taught, and sang a few verses from the song, they continued to sing it with a beat, and maracas. They were having a lot of fun and sang other songs like Little Einsteins, Who let the dogs out, and more.

On Tuesday, we came to Fan Pier at 7:00 for the annual fishing derby. During the fishing derby, people split into groups to see who can catch the biggest fish, and the greatest amount of fish. Kamal, Jordon, Abel, and I got onto the nicest boat in the whole tournament. It looked like a small dorm. It had a kitchen, a bedroom, a social area and more. Unfortunately, for the four hours we  fished we as a team caught one mackerel, while other teams caught an abundance of mackerel, and some caught large striped bass, up to 24 inches!

my Second fishing derby
After the fishing derby, we ate some food, talked amongst each other and eventually went home. It was a fun fishing derby and I am excited for the fishing derby next year! On the following Thursday, we were able to meet Nick Martin, a high ranked worker at Coca Cola and we were able to hear his story. He told us about how he moved up from the south to live in Lexington, eventually living by himself and how he made it into Dartmouth, an IVY league college. He told us about his ups and downs and how he made it to where he is today, and it was a motivational and inspiring story. I learned that I need to take advantages of all of my opportunities, and be surrounded by people that will help me better myself.

gathering to hear a motivational story
I came to MLK the next day, and it was kind of a roller-coaster half day if I say so myself. I started the day eating a lot of the free breakfast they had: cereal, orange juice or cranberry juice, muffins and more. Besides my coworkers, I also saw some people that live near me and some people that I go to school with. I caught up with them, and then we went to the main room where we heard a very emotional story from a kind man. It was about how he got to where he is today from an abusive, heroine addict father, gang violence, and the death of his brother. It was really sad, yet motivational because he showed us it is not too late to achieve our goals and dreams. After that we played some fun games with the founder of BrandMe, and we learned about the importance of a brand, logo, slogan, and how it presents you as a person. I finished the day off with some Raising Canes with a few coworkers, and reflected on how amazing this week.

Until Next Time
Qalid :)

We back at CHV

I was assigned back at CHV after my first week. This time the old session left and we had a all new session with different kids. I was pretty excited too, just to build bonds with more kids through fishing and such. I was kind of nervous to see the new groups but eventually throughout the week, I've gotten used to the kids and how they act. Just like last week I was still wondering if they would be excited to fish or would they be bored. Turns out they were just as excited as the last session, which was pretty nice.

We had caught a pretty big lobster!

On the first day Jules had wanted me to talk to one group of kids (A Lighthouse). It didn't really turn out well, but the good part is at least I had did it. Jules and Micheal when they were speaking made it sound way better from when I was speaking. But throughout the week it was pretty fun and exciting. I remember on the first day it was pretty mundane. I don't think we had any groups on that day.

I believe on Tuesday we had ended up catching a fish. Of course it was a Skate. Ironically the same kid that caught it said that last year he never caught any fish as all and right after that he caught the fish. What a fun experience that must've been for him. Even the kids around him were like woah! That's insane. The bad part though was the hook was stuck deep inside his body. We had eventually hot him out, but it was pretty painful to look.

This week we overall did the same things we did last week. It was still fun and exciting though. Clubs were fun, the kids were fun, everything there was pretty much satisfying and enjoyable. I wish I had went back, however, I go to a new site next week. What will it be?

Catch ya on the Harbor,

My Special Return to All Access

In continuation of last week, turns out I was going back to All Access. This was even my first time at Spectacle Island. I was excited because it was so hot and humid this day but we could swim and relax in the cool water. I was at sports for the first day which was pretty chill. We relaxed by a tree for a bit, but then afterwards we played football for a bit. It was fun and I had a great time.
Now Tuesday, that was a really fun day. 

We had the fishing tournament today! Basically what we do is all the staff from Save the Harbor arrive at Fan pier where all the boats are waiting and then we are all assigned in different boats. There were at least 5 people per boat with some exceptions. I was on a boat with Jordan, Qalid, and Abel. It was pretty fun especially with my group. Sadly throughout our boat ride, I only caught one mackerel. That was the only fish we had caught all day. Meanwhile others had caught so many mackerel and 24 inch striped bass.

Funny enough the one who caught the biggest bass wasn't caught on the boat. It was caught afterwards on the dock as Collin had reeled in a fishing line. I believe it was a 28 inch bass. It was pretty funny but overall the event was fun. Wednesday and Tuesday were fun as well. I was back at All Access (this time at George's Island). I did sports both days and we played football and kickball but since it was still hot out not as many kids came over to play. A lot of people were just wondering 
After singing our sea shanties we had taken a group picture!
where the dark tunnel was which makes sense since that is the main attraction on the island.

This week was pretty fun. I had a blast at the fishing derby. All Access was great. I've been having one of the best summers I've ever had to be honest. Wednesday we also had a speaker who talked about career's, opportunities, and overall about his life and how he got to where he was today. I've bonded with people over the course of the summer and even shared a few laughs with everyone.


I'm back!

What's up forum, it's me Eric coming back at you all with another fill in for this week. This week I was showing the children (and even some adults) the marine life at the Children's Museum. Starting on Monday I got in early at 8:00 am and waited until 9:45 am for everyone to get to the pyramid. When everyone else  arrived at the pyramid  we all said our hellos, got all the supplies, and set up for the day. We got about six rods, a crab trap, a tackle box for the fish, a sunscreen stand and a bucket for the water. we brought them out to the pier and started to set up, there were already people looking at us as if they were eager to come try fishing.  So we put out the crab traps, put bait on all of the fishing rods, and got water for the touch tank. Immediately people came by asking if what we're doing is free which is when we responded with an "of course!" and happily helped them with their fishing experience. For  most of the children it was their first time fishing ever and that brought me back to last year working at the Children's Museum and how fun it was because you got to teach random people the greatness of fishing.  After about 20 minutes I would check the crab trap and find little crabs. But on Monday we barely had any crabs. We only caught about five in the morning! But by that time it was lunch time and I was off at one o'clock.  I came back at 2 o'clock and we set up everything again because we had to put it away for lunch, after setting everything up we waited for a while and then people came for fishing again. There was still no luck catching fish or crabs on our lines. We stayed until 4:00 and then packed up for the day! Tuesday we caught a few more crabs in our trap but still no fish on our fishing lines so most of the people who visited were more interested in the touch tank.
Releasing the crabs !
On Wednesday the day started out like any other.  We brought the supplies out, set them up, and went out to give people the opportunity to see crabs and catch fish. The sun was blazing and the tent we were under was the only protection we had (except for the sunscreen). I was amazed that the children still wanted to fish in this temperature but I was happy to help them out. And we were truly blessed that day because we got so many crabs and a bunch of fish called Cunner in our trap! I was amazed! I thought all the crabs migrated to the other parts of the harbor! But right before lunch I traveled to the office so I could talk to some of the people who donate to Save the Harbor and tell them why I like working here during the summer. When I  got back, I was greeted with the knowledge that I missed the first ( and largest) striped bass this year at the Children's Museum. I was so bummed out. But I  found it in myself to forget how bummed I was and went on with my day!
The bass in all its glory.
Until next week..

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Big catch at the fishing derby!

Welcome back blog readers!
     This week was yet another week on All Access Boston Harbor (which I originally thought was All Access Boating), but this week we were at George's Island. Instead of formerly being a trash dump (like Spectacle was), George's Island houses a fort used during the Civil War to hold war prisoners. David likes to tell the story of the "Lady in Black", the story of a Southern soldier's wife who snuck onto George's Island to free her husband. The Lady in Black disguised herself as a man (because there were no women on the fort), stole a boat, and upon arrival at the fort, whistled a tune that she knew her husband would recognize. They both realize each other is at the same place, and plan their escape. They make it to a tunnel in the fort when they are confronted by a Northern guard. The wife is armed and fires on the soldier, only to have her gun backfire and kill her husband. After her capture, the wife asks that she is executed as a woman; the Northern troops do not have women's clothes on the island, so they do their best to cover her up in black drapes, hence the name "the Lady in Black." David then tells the kids that the Lady in Black haunts the Dark Tunnel in the fort, which immediately makes it the most popular place with the kids on the island.

     The highlight of this week was definitely the fishing derby we held on Tuesday. Everyone got up early (as fishermen do) to meet up at Fan Pier, split into groups, and cast off for a morning of fishing. I was on a boat with Cpt. Tony and his son Tony Jr. We had some luck catching mackerel off the Nahant coast, but apart from those and a few pogie fish we didn't catch anything. The winner of the derby needed to be a "keeper" fish, big enough to take home and eat. It was only at the very end of the derby that anyone caught a keeper. Bruce had put one of our mackerel on a line while everyone was docking and quickly called for a JPA to go help him, which I rushed over to do. Together we landed a 28.25" striped bass, big enough to win the derby. I was crowned the winner of the derby (even though I thought Bruce deserved it more) and was filmed for the Boston 25 news channel. I still can't find the footage on their website, but if any of you readers can I'd be very grateful.
BOSTON, MA. - AUGUST 7: Swampscott resident Colin McRae proudly displays a 28 1/4 inch striped bass that he landed on August 7, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. McRae was awarded a trophy in the annual Fan Pier Youth Fishing Tournament for his efforts. (Staff Photo By Patrick Whittemore/Boston Herald)
The derby-winning fish
BOSTON, MA. - AUGUST 7: Swampscott resident Colin McRae proudly displays his trophy at the annual Fan Pier Youth Fishing Tournament after landing a 28 1/4 inch striped bass on August 7, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Staff Photo By Patrick Whittemore/Boston Herald)
Me with the trophy
BOSTON, MA. - AUGUST 7: Swampscott resident Colin McRae is surrounded by his fellow fisherman while proudly displaying  a 28 1/4 inch striped bass that he landed on August 7, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. McRae was awarded a trophy in the annual Fan Pier Youth Fishing Tournament for his efforts. (Staff Photo By Patrick Whittemore/Boston Herald)
Group picture with the fish
     Wednesday was a particularly interesting day because we had a guest speaker talk with us for an hour: Nick Martin, the Director of Public Affairs & Communications at Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Northern New England (despite the very long title Coca-Cola has given him, he is very modest). Nick talked about his background in public relations working in Mayor Menino's campaign staff, and working as part of the Boston Public Health Commission to mitigate the aftermath of the Marathon Bombings. He's the sort of guy that has done hard work to get to where he is currently: he went to Dartmouth to study government, worked in the public sector, networked, then took a risk in going into the private sector and learned what he needed to along the way. I'd be grateful to achieve half of what Nick has achieved. Nick gave some interesting advice on how to approach college: trying new things and studying abroad were the most important things to do in his mind. I always love listening to the guest speakers Save the Harbor brings in, and I hope I get to listen to another one during my last week of work next week.

Song of the week: Natural by Imagine Dragons

See you in the next blog!
     ~Colin McRae

All access Shenanigans

Well I'm back on All Access and this week we have been assigned to Georges island once again. This time we had a MASSIVE group of people (around 500!) coming with us on the trip. I had to dress up as a pirate to entertain the kids while we were at the Pavilion and on the boat. While acting as a pirate the two questions I constantly got asked were if my pirate sword was a real sword and if I've ever captained a ship. Sadly, the answer was no to both questions but you never know I could be a captain one day.
The best pirate on the 7 seas
When we got to the island I was assigned to fishing so after lunch I would go to the dock and teach kids how to fish and talk to the, about the life in the harbor.  There were a lot of people who signed up so it was really hard trying to make sure all of them were given a chance to fish. Luckily I had my friend and co-worker Lea there to help me out. The kids caught a surprising amount of crabs. Each time we dumped all of the crabs out of the touch tank it would be filled up again in no time. A lot of the kids never had the chance to fish before or never thought of trying it out so it was fun showing them how to put on the bait, cast the line, and when to reel it up. So far All Access has been the best sight for me this summer and I don't see that ending anytime soon.

learning from the best

Seven Fishes Project: Flounder

Today, Save the Harbor staff and Junior Program Assistants learned how to prepare Black Bass Flounder with Basil Freddura, head chef at The Daily Catch restaurant. Today's lesson focused on utilizing all parts of the fish to provide several meals out of a whole fish. This lesson is part of the Seven Fishes project to promote local and sustainable fish consumption. The project aims to increase fish consumption through education materials and cooking classes for each of the seven fish, including: Black Sea Bass, Flounder, Scup, Mackerel, Calamari, Striped Sea Bass, and Blue Fish.

Basil educating staff on Flounder

For the first fish, the lesson began with Basil showing the proper form to filleting a flounder. 

The two large filets were then cut into smaller pieces, seasoned, and breaded. 

JPAs helping to season filets

Finally, the filets were cooked in an oiled pan for several minutes on each side, giving them a crispy outer layer. 
The final product of the filet

The second fish lesson focused on preparing the fish whole. First Basil showed proper technique for descaling the fish and removing the head & intestines. 
Next, the fish was stuffed with herbs and lemon for taste, as well as coated in salt and pepper.

The fish was first cooked in a frying pan, then moved to the oven to cook through completely. 

After about 10 minutes in the oven, the flounder was ready. 

The creations were a hit! 

After the feast, vegetables and remaining bones were placed in a pot to create a fish stock for making dishes such as risotto and soup. 

With the left overs, Basil mixed together the fish, eggs, breadcrumbs, parsley, and lemon to create the perfect leftover lunch meal.

Whole fish are often far more cost efficient than precooked fish, or from a restaurant. By utilizing every part of the fish, we were able to create several meals from the fish. 

Thank you Basil for the cooking lessons, we look forward to making our own creations!

Seafood fest is the best!

The Seafood Festival was amazing this year! Coming back for a second time was definitely a good idea. Compared to last year, everything felt a lot more fast pace. It was almost as if every time I looked up for first half, there were two more people for every one. Once it had died down a bit, and we had a chance to catch our breath, I decided to go to the blowup target with felt and Velcro dart things and just got people to try and hit the target! During that time, I had got around 50 different people to try and hit the center. Some had made it, some missed, though nobody was able to get any of the darts to stick to the bulls-eye. Out of the many people that tried, there were a few that really made a strong impression.

What would be the Seafood Festival without fish printing? I personally helped around 2 or 3 dozen people during all three shifts. but what really made this one crazy wasn't the amount of people, wasn't the types of fish, we had flounder and black sea bass, and definitely wasn't the slow pace at the end, but that we fish printed shirts! We ended up making about 5 shirts for people and then made one for the person from the Roseway in an act of friendship because she was kind enough to bring us hats!

The infamous dart board!
The one that may have been the funniest, was probably Captain Jack Sparrow. I had said to him "I bet you couldn't hit the center of the target even if you tried." Now being the mad man he is, Sparrow responded "why yes I can!" and proceeded to walk up to the target and lightly punching the center of the target. At this, a few people were laughing and I had just thrown my hands in the air conceding "well, that wasn't what i was meaning, but i guess you beat me!" Probably after he noticed what i had said, he just said "well, I probably couldn't do it from here, to far." at that point, I was just laughing. Later on though, he did return and tried to hit the target with the Velcro darts. and each time, they just bounced off, and each time they did, Captain Jack accused them of not being able to stick. So every once in a while I would have to take one of them and push it to the target to prove, they do in fact stick.

A second one that left a good impression, was a group who actually plays darts. About half the group tried and most of them were able to get them to stick, but again, when ever they went for a bulls-eye, it just bounced off. Again, when ever they thought it wasn't going to stick, I had to prove they did. And still, even after that, the amount of points that they had got if it was a real game was astounding! They had tried for a few minutes and got so close to the center I almost wanted to say "yeah that's a bulls-eye!" but alas, I could not.

See you next week,

Holy Lobster!!

Everyone was so excited!
Alright, everyone, you're never going to believe what happened last week! I mean really, if I did not have pictures to prove it, you would think this whole blog is a lie. Have you ever heard of a lobster that was too big to keep?! I have heard of lobsters being too small and of course, we let them go every time but I didn't know a lobster being too big was even a possibility!

Our day started with some programming at Atlantic Wharf. We welcomed the South Boston Neighborhood House and through various activities, we taught them about Boston Harbor. We spent the day fishing, drawing a giant sea life mural, setting crab traps, singing sea shanties, and creating fish prints for children to take home. Our day was going great, we could not have imagined it getting any better.

As we wrapped up our activities Boloco delivered lunch for all the children and staff. What a better way than to end your day with free burritos, right?! As we began eating I mentioned the two traps that were still in the water and how we need to remember to pull them up before we leave. Sam exclaimed, "I'll go pull them up now!", and thank goodness she did. 

The claw was almost as big as my head!
She pulled up the crab trap to find nothing in it. We thought, "it is so low tide it is no surprise we did not catch much today". She pulled up the second trap, a circle trap with a net attached to it. The net needs to be pulled up at the right time to trap creatures inside or they will crawl out. As soon as the trap reached the surface Sam was screaming, "You need to get over here right now!". From far away I saw that it was a lobster and was very excited but as I got closer I noticed that it was HUGE! Everyone said the only place they have ever seen a lobster that size was in the aquarium. We measured the lobster and were unfortunately told that from its eye to the beginning of the tail had to be 5 inches. Ours was almost 6! Although it was very sad that we could not keep the lobster it was still amazing to have seen something like that. That day is one that I will remember forever!

This was not our lobster but this is how to correctly measure a lobster.
Unfortunately, this one is not large enough to keep.
Well, I'm off to find a lobster I can cook this time!

Catch ya later!