Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Goodbye STHSTB

What a summer! For the past eight weeks I've been at Piers Park in East Boston. We've had a great summer playing games, going kayaking, catching crabs, fishing, and learning about marine life and the Boston Harbor. I saw smiling faces everyday this summer, by both kids and staff, and am happy that I was a part of something so special. Save the Harbor/ Save the Bay has allowed me to help our Harbor Explorers create some unforgettable memories, and learn some pretty cool stuff along the way.

Everyday at Piers Park, we spend a few hours on the dock, where we've caught a number of different sea critters. As the summer has gone by, I've noticed the changing ecosystem in the cove where our dock floats. At the beginning of the season, we discovered a ton of giant crabs! Both spider and rock crabs came in enormous sizes. Some of them wouldn't even fit into the bucket! Since then, the crabs have gotten smaller by the day and the spider crabs have disappeared completely. We also found a ton of Moon Jellyfish at the beginning of the summer. We'd glide by them on our kayaks and pick them up with our bare hands! Don't worry, these jellyfish don't sting, and the campers raved about this activity.

At the end of July, the fish began to swim into our area. We caught a variety of different species in our crab traps; mostly tautogs, but also some flounder, pogies, black sea bass, and also a striped bass. None of these were big enough to keep, but taste aside, it was amazing being able to see them interact in such a real context. We showed the kids how to identify these fish based on their color, patterns, and body type. The flounder were especially interesting to observe because of their unusual swimming technique. Unlike most fish, the flounder swim horizontally along the ocean's floor.

Recently, we've seen more schools of small fish swim by, which we've been able to catch with dipping nets. A highlight of our summer also happened recently, when we caught two lobsters! One was premature, but the other was big, even large enough for us to bring home and eat if we wanted to. We let them both back into their natural habitats, but before we did, we learned a lot of cool things about lobsters. If you want to see what we witnessed, check out some of my previous blogs.

Today was my last day at Piers Park, and I tried to take in as much as I could: the beautiful view that allows us to see the city's skyline, the great people who have become my friends, the unbelievable opportunity that I was given, and even the feeling of the cold and salty water that I've been working on all summer. Believe it or not, but not once did I go swimming at Piers Park this summer. Even on the ninety degree days, we never took a leap. Well, because the summer was officially over, today, myself and a few other STHSTB staff went for a swim. It was the cherry on top of a terrific summer. I can't imagine saying goodbye in a better way; well, maybe reeling in a monster bass would have surpassed.

I did countless things this summer that I'd never tried before, from teaching a child how to properly hold a crab, to flue fishing at the Fan Pier Tournament. It was a summer of adventure and new experiences. Thanks again to Save the Harbor/ Save the Bay for a summer that I will never forget.


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