Friday, July 25, 2014

The Eww Factor: Part 1 (Community Boating)

What makes something disgusting? The way it looks or feels? Or tastes or smells? At my two sites we apparently handle a lot of disgusting things. But something that’s disgusting can also be really cool, and we don’t mind getting our hands dirty. Here are some of the most interesting and gross things we have come across at Community Boating Incorporated:

Glove covered in eel slime

Eel Slime:

If you’ve ever touched an eel, you will know that they are very slippery. Part of the reason they are so slippery is because they are slimy. If you’ve ever touched an eel that’s been out of water for a little while, you probably got some eel slime on you.

The slime on an eel is not just there to gross you out. It is helpful to the animal in several ways: it can move faster through water because it is slick, pathogens and parasites are suffocated in the slime so the eel is less likely to get sick, and it can transition between freshwater and saltwater without too many issues.

Eel slime is clear and very sticky. It is hard to get off your skin. Once it dries, it becomes a thin white film that you can easily peel off, just like glue!


We often use fish as bait to entice creatures to get stuck in our traps. Some creatures are very clever and will eat our bait and then escape our trap! Last week we baited an eel trap with a whole herring and came back after the weekend to find nothing in the trap except an almost perfect herring skeleton. You could see all the ribs, the spine, the skull- even the lenses of the eyes were still in there! 

Herring Skeleton

Most kids thought the skeleton was creepy but it was cool to see that something had eaten our bait so meticulously. The explorers learned about fish bones and anatomy from our well-preserved but eerie skeleton. 

Fish poop pellets


At Community Boating, we catch a lot of sunfish. When we catch the fish, we like to put them in our touch tank and then release them when we are done fishing so we know how many we caught. The fish don’t seem to be big fans of the tank, however, because all they do in there is poop!

Every now and then we will see little pellets at the bottom of the tank. We try to clean it out with a net, but it usually just breaks up and floats around… and then the fish eat it. If the water gets too murky and the fish look like they are not doing well, we will send them back to the river, and rinse out the tank for our next aquatic visitors.

Those are some of the nasty things we deal with at Community Boating. Stay tuned for some disgusting but fascinating things from Courageous Sailing Center.

Keep getting your hands dirty,

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