Sunday, June 20, 2010

Torrential rain drumming on taut nylon is actually louder than thunder, in case you were wondering. I, on the other hand, was wondering if the tent was as waterproof as advertised. And if lightening were to hit a nearby tree, would it travel through the ground and if so, would an air mattress be any insulation. Also I was wondering if the storm would ever pass. After what seemed like two hours of wave after wave of downpour, it tapered off to an occasional splatter of drips when the wind jostled the tree above us.

Maybe now I could drift off....until, a half hour later (repeat the first paragraph).

After the second storm passed I spent about 15 minutes trying to convince myself that I didn't have to visit the outhouse, but bladders never listen. I slipped out of the tent and was surprised to find we were not underwater, just wet. On the trail to the outhouse I met a fellow bioblitzer who asked me cheerfully if I was coming to check for specimens on the the shore. It was pitch black. The hour was ungodly. That's when I knew I was surrounded by insane people. Of the best kind.

I was finally able to catch a few hours sleep before my ipod alarm went off at 6:30. The night before I had arranged to abandon the frog hunt and instead tag along on a small fishing boat to find bio-stuff off the shore to add to our species count. I volunteered to deliver the crew (Mary and Grace, left)
to Captain Feather's boat. I dressed as quietly as possible, trying to avoid stepping on the floor, which had turned into a rectangular water balloon (first lesson in tent camping, set up your tarp so the water stays on the earth side, not the tent side) and headed down the ClayheadTrail to my truck, then drove back to Science Central for coffee and excellent bagels before heading for New Harbor. There we met Christian and his 11 year old daughter Stephanie, and after another coffee run to make sure our crew was fully caffeinated, we boarded Captain Feather's boat.
That's not to imply that the rain had stopped, but it looked really pretty on the swells.

I spent the next few hours trying to stay out of the way of the crew, fishing rods, flying fish hooks, crabby pinchers, sharks (ok, a little dogfish) and ferocious saber toothed bluefish. I also tried some sketching, but you know what? It doesn't take long for a drawing pad to become fully saturated on a boat in the rain.

Everybody on the boat was excellent at catching stuff, except me, who just watched. Some of the catch would be taken back to the Blitz, some was set free, and some, I fear, was bound to end up on someone's dinner table.

After catching sea bass, dogfish, bluefish and a skate, Feather then took us on a roller coaster ride at 20-knots over the swells and back into New Harbor where they checked traps, chucking dozens of ugly spider crabs back into the ocean. The 2 lobsters were allowed to stay on board.

Back in the harbor we picked a few more passengers, because there was plenty of room for 2 little girls and me in the cab and four adults, a big dog and equipment in the back, for the trip over the bumpy dirt road back to the Blitz.

The 12 noon closing bell had already sounded, so it was time to pack up our wet tent and head into town to wait for the ferry. I'll leave reporting of the results of the 2010 Bioblitz to the scientists, but I had a great time. With all the rain and hunting for specimins, there wasn't much time to do any artwork, but something will probably develop back in the studio, when I catch up on sleep!

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