Sunday, August 18, 2013

One Fish, Two Fish, ...

… Red fish, blue fish! Just kidding. No red or blue fish, but it was certainly a fish-filled week at both Piers Park and McDonough Sailing Center. Let’s start off with a recap of our fishy endeavors at Piers Park:

Fishing patiently 
Normally, our catches at Piers Park consist of green crabs, green crabs, and more green crabs (with a few red rock crabs and lobsters in between). But that has never deterred our Harbor Explorers from baiting their fishing lines and patiently waiting for any tugs. We see lots of minnows cruising near the surface of the water and our underwater camera has shown us that there are some medium-sized fish swimming under the dock; however, we had yet to hook one…until Tuesday! One of our oldest Explorers, Michael, became the hero of the day when he caught the first fish of the summer at Piers Park. Even though the fish wasn’t any bigger than my hand, it was a hit amongst the Explorers and it gave everyone renewed hope that it was possible to catch fish. With a new confidence in his abilities, Michael reassuringly told his younger cousin, “Don’t worry, Nicholas. I’ll help you catch a fish tomorrow.” And lo and behold, who should catch a fish the following day? Nicholas! Seeing the beaming smiles on Nicholas and Michael’s faces was just as rewarding as seeing the fish swimming in our touch tank.

Michael with his catch of the day! 

Moving on to the McDonough Sailing Center. The Southie Explorers have had better luck fishing and over the course of the summer a handful of kids have pulled up a variety of small fish (including a tiny sculpin! So cool!) However, by far the neatest thing we caught was this past Wednesday when Leah pulled up a crab trap to find a strange looking critter. At first, she started screaming, “Sarah! Sarah! I caught an eel! I can’t pick it up! Come help me!” As I am not a fan of eels or anything that resembles snakes, I quickly delegated the job to one of my fearless JPAs. However, upon further inspection of the catch, we noticed that it didn’t look quite like an eel. It had the long, slender body of an eel, but it had a fish-like tail and a head similar to that of a seahorse. We consulted our Fish Guidebook and identified it as a type of pipefish, a relatively uncommon species in the Boston Harbor. The pipefish is a close relative of the seahorse and was unlike anything most of the Explorers (including myself) had ever seen. Leah turned our cooler into a home for her pipefish and proudly paraded it around the sailing center, showing it to anyone who crossed her path.

Fishing off the pier at Castle Island
Leah with her pipefish

Until next time, 
-Sarah C

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