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Journals 2003/2004

Elaine Amaral
Portsmouth High School, Portsmouth, Rhode Island

"Long-term bottom trawl survey of Narragansett Bay"
R/V Cap'n Bert Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island
Various dates throughout summer

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I am two for two weather wise. It is another splendid summer day. Today two friends of Tom's join us for the boat ride. One of them is a science teacher at Portsmouth Middle School. I have never met him before and I have been at Portsmouth High School for 10 years. I find it ironic to be meeting him here for the first time. We cast off and head for Fox Island. We drag and haul our net in. There is not as much fish as I expected and I ask Tony if the numbers are down. There are a lot of skate, some lobsters, butterfish, tautog, scup and lots of crabs of various varieties. Mainly I see flounder, four spotted flounder, and summer flounder. We begin the job of sorting and counting. This requires a fair amount of time on your knees leaning across the dividing boards. At first I am amazed once again to be seeing the large squirming mass of marine life before me. However, they begin to lose their charm when after 15 to 20 minutes of bending and counting a large blue crab grabs tight hold of my gloved finger. It hurts like hell! Now my back and finger are aching, and it has gotten very hot in these slickers and I am thirsty. Science research always looks more enticing on the Discovery Channel.

We finish our count and throw everything back to the sea. We are now headed for our second site, Whale Rock. The seas pick up a bit, as we are closer to the mouth of the bay. One of our passengers is suffering the effects of being on the water. Tom is impressed with my ability to adapt to the boat ride, in light of the fact that I have had little to no experience on the water. Little does he know I have an enormous case of dock rock when I go to bed a night. I rather like it though, it puts me right to sleep.

""Little drops of water, little grains of sand,
Make the mighty ocean, and the pleasant land.
So the little minutes, humble though they be,
Make the mighty ages of eternity."
Julia Carney > Little Things

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