Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Our Afternoon Faithful

Andy at our "secret
At Courageous Sailing in Charlestown, we dedicate the majority of our blogs to our kids in the SSS or the Swim, Sail, Science class, therefore this is a blog dedicated to our faithful members of the extended day program at Courageous. As the SSS kids trickle out and head towards the Harvard Kent school, we at STH anxiously await the second portion of our afternoon. As the hustle and bustle of sail boats being docked, life jackets being put away, and strewn bags being collected by their owners, our STH team plots what to do with our afternoon faithful. As 3:30 rolls around the majority of kids have since signed out and headed homeward, we are greeted by our hardcore extended day-ers. These are the kids that can't wait to explore, get messy, bait hooks, pull trap, and have an all around good time. The energy and passion these kids have for fishing and lobstering is infectious, and gives us STH staffers a second wind. A standard extended afternoon consists of us walking fast to get our life jackets on (no running for safety purposes!), grabbing handfuls of bait and rods, and making our way down to the dock. As we head down to the end of dock, our now not-so-secret fishing spot, we make sure to pull every lobster trap up along the way: a total of 5 traps in all. After all the traps have been pulled, with every echinoderm, arthropod, and mollusc removed and released to the great blue (the tunicates stay as they are to tricky and numerous to peel from the traps) we make our way down, with sore arms, to the best fishing spot around.

Even the tiniest of crabs is released
With the hooks baited and the rods cast, we wait patiently for our fish friends to take a bite. We in our hardcore fishing club then take this time to have conversations about the marine world around us. Today's conversation was all about the American Lobster. After pulling up a large and legal size lobster, we talk about how to tell the difference between a male and a female (hard claspers closest to the head in males, soft in females) and why its important that we only consume the males. This is due to the fact that female lobsters of legal size are fertile and must be left to ensure future generations of these delicious crustaceans. It hits me that my knowledge of these important creatures is limited, so I took out our STH crome book (thank you Bruce!) and decided to consult the world wide web for more facts on these prehistoric looking organisms. With a maximum weight of 44 lbs these creatures take the title of the heaviest crustacean in the world! While it takes about 6 to 7 years for a lobster to be of edible size (a minimum of 3.25 inch carapace length), it is estimated that they can live for up to a hundred years. My favorite fun fact that I came across was that of all the lobsters that come across our traps only 10% will enter, and of that 10% only 6% will remain in the trap long enough to be caught. That explains why we are only getting about a lobster a day!

Ahmed getting goofy with the traps
 At the end of the day once everyone has been picked up, we clean and pack up our gear, and already start to anticipate what will be in store tomorrow for our afternoon faithful. And as always, take chances, ask questions, get messy!-Sarah B

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