This morning my legislative committee had a work session at the Great Bay Estuarine Research Center at Sandy Point. It was raining throughout my drive, and I hoped our promised boat trip in the Great Bay wouldn't be cancelled.
We gathered in the newer building pictured above, where tables were set up and breakfast foods and coffee were waiting for us. The staff were very welcoming. They treated us to an informational power point presentation on all the wonderful work that happens--a collaborative effort. We heard from the Director of Marine Fisheries of the Fish and Game Department, the Manager of the Reserve, one of the F&G Law Enforcement Officers, and a Wildlife Biologist. Also present were a Marine Biologist and the Education Coordinator at the Center.
During our morning indoors, the sky cleared up and the sun even showed its face.
After lunch, we explored the trails and the boardwalks from which one can see the woodland vernal pools, the saltmarsh, and the waters of the Bay. Sample osprey nests and other educational objects are there.
And some birch bark wigwams. I liked this one best.
Here's the wigwam interior.
Father along the boardwalk. The big tree is a black gum, around 230 years old.
Its age was of great interest to me, because we have a larger one at the edge of our woods here at the Lodge. I've always wondered how old it might be, supposing it to be the oldest tree on our property. They aren't very common.
During our stroll I spotted a duck in the Bay, a warbler darting among the trees, and redwing blackbirds soaring over the reeds, chattering away.
Here's a view of the marsh. And the Great Bay beyond.
In the morning lecture on fisheries and fishing stocks, horseshoe crabs were mentioned. I can't help cringing at the thought of them...lingering fright and trauma from my youth on a Southern seashore. As a child the sight of them terrified me. For no particular reason, apart from the fact that they look creepy and dangerous.
Inside the building with all the educational exhibits, there was a "Hands In" saltwater pool filled with living creatures: winter and summer flounder, mussels, oysters, a sea squirt.
Oh, yes--and a male and female horseshoe crab.
The Education Coordinator asked if I wanted to hold one. I decided that at my age it's silly to harbour a childhood terror. And next thing I knew, I was cuddling a she-crab.
The result: I'm no longer afraid of horseshoe crabs.
We left Sandy Point and drove to the Great Bay Marina.
Where we boarded Endeavor.
We headed out, past these rocks covered with cormorants.
It was a wonderful excursion. The Fish and Game staffers were so informative, and our committee chairman has lived in the area all his life, and shared a lot of lore.
We met a sailboat.
And some sea kayakers.
We saw a couple of terns clinging to a buoy.
And, most thrilling of all, as we headed back to the marina we passed a seal! Or rather, he passed us. Well, we passed each other--he was headed in the opposite direction. Didn't attempt to photograph because I was occupied with viewing him through binoculars.
Returned to the Lodge in time to feed the dogs their supper. I then potted up two roses--lovely standard rose trees I scored in a two-for-one deal at Jackson and Perkins.
We had a simple supper after this long and busy day. Pizza.
I'm a bit weary, but exhilarated. What a Great Day on the Great Bay!
Believe it or not, I've got another field trip later in the week!