Hurricane Island

Day 3

22 June 2022

Quote of the day - “Wait…I’m finding cool stuff.” - Aniyah

By Wednesday, were getting settled in nicely.  Everyone loved the food, the cool nights with amazing stars, and the routine of exploring our little island.  Wednesday started with a little less adventure than Tuesday, but fascinating nonetheless. We were going in the lab.


Plankton is best known as the lovable antagonist from SpongeBob, however we found out that these unicellular organisms are so crucial to life that they provide half of the oxygen in Earth’s atmosphere.  Before we could do anything else, we had to go collect plankton.  Doing a plankton tow requires a net small enough to capture these microorganisms connected to a collection jar. We headed down to the dock to collect a sample and then went to a small pond on the island to collect a
 freshwater sample.



Then it was off to the lab to see what we could find under the microscope and hopefully identify the various types of plankton that call the Gulf of Maine home.  Plankton can be broken down into two categories, zooplankton and phytoplankton.  Some types of plankton spend their whole lives as plankton, others are just plankton until they grow into larger organisms like the scallops we examined yesterday.  We found copepods, hydras, insect larvae, all types of plankton.


The rest of the morning was in the tide pools.  If you’ve never been tide pooling, go, go explore what lives in the ITZ, the intertidal zone between the water and the beach.  That zone is a harsh environment, dry half the day, under water the other half.  Poking around, there was a lot of sea weed, but also sea urchins, periwinkles, crabs.  An important reminder when tide pooling, you can only keep shells when no one is home.




While plankton provide half the oxygen we breathe, they can also be an indicator of other things.  We mentioned yesterday that the Gulf of Maine is the fasting warming body of water in the world due to climate change.  With our snacks, we began reading and discussing a research paper that examined the warming gulf waters and its affect on plankton.  Certain planktons need certain temperature ranges, and if the water is too warm, that will affect plankton blooms.  Since plankton are the base of the ocean food chain, if plankton are affected by warming ocean waters, everything else, up to and including giant whales (in the research paper’s case, right whales).


After lunch it was time to get back out on the water, this time for rowing.  As we filed into our row boats, our guides Tigris and Robin instructed us on how to row as a team.  This is a highly coordinated process.  Once we were successfully in the water, we were all determined to NOT have to be rescued, towed back to dock, like a rowing team from another group that was on the island was yesterday.



We had to take a short detour from lobstering to tow that boat back.  Learning sea shanties and making up our own kept us all in line while we rowed around.  The crew of Robin’s boat, Mr. Pope, Rubi, Michael, Lorelei, and Briannalynn were able to out-sing the crew of Tigris’s boat.  Captaining a rowboat can be difficult, you have to steer and keep all crew in line.  Robin must of gotten a little tired, so brought up Rubi and Lorelei to take over as captain for a little while, both of whom did a fabulous job.



We could not get enough of the water.  Upon our return, we all had rushed to get changed and jumped off the pier into the clear but cold water.  Wednesday was not a shower day, so a dip in the ocean did us all some good.


“Soooo, are we going to cut this lobster open or what?” - Jaden

A little exhausted from rowing and swimming, we sat down to a nice dinner of soup.  To our surprise, our lobster guide Kyle came into the lab with a plate of fresh lobster.  She cooked up the lobsters we caught yesterday for us!  She normally only does that when there is enough for everyone in the group.  We only had two lobsters and there were nine of us that could eat it, but she cooked them for us anyway.  I guess they kind of liked us.  We each only had a few bites of fresh lobster that we caught, but it was heavenly.