Sunday, October 19, 2008

Appalachian Mountain Club

Our final group for the 2008 season was the Appalachian Mountain Club. In what has become a tradition, a group of people new to Sedge joined several veterans for the four day Columbus weekend. On our first day’s paddle we decided to head into the wind by paddling north along the shore of Island Beach State Park. Progress was slow, but by noon we had made it to Tices Shoals where we pulled out and walked across the boardwalk to the beach. On the way home we stopped to clam in Johnny Allen’s cove. Here we were pleased to discover that some of the clams stocked by the Division of Fish and Wildlife were just large enough to keep for dinner.

Our Sunday paddle was more ambitious. First we headed south four miles to Viking Village. This part of the trip was made easier by the wind and the current- both of which were behind us. We walked the docks to check out the Barnegat Light fishing fleet. We then we headed north to the public launch ramp where we landed and walked to the lighthouse. We had lunch and then while waiting for the tide to change, many of us climbed to the top of the lighthouse for a beautiful view of the surrounding area- especially the Sedge Island Marine Conservation Zone. In the late afternoon we paddled back along High Bar Harbor with a stop at Gull Island to check out any remaining birds. We found that most have migrated by this time. After a delicious dinner, seven of the more ambitious members of the group launched “Baby Beluga”, our 22” white canoe, for a night paddle around the island. We were rewarded by a fantastic display of bioluminescence that was so bright that we could see the wakes of fish shooting out ahead of the boat.

After a huge breakfast on the last morning, many of the group paddled toward the western side of the bay and then circled back through the southern end of the Marine Conservation Zone. During this time, I stayed behind to get some work done. I would like to give a special thanks to AMC member Paul Dice who stayed behind to help pull up the buoys marking the northern end of the Marine Conservation Zone. This is hard, dirty work and Paul did it willingly and cheerfully.

Southern Regional High School

Catching, collecting, and then feasting on wild edibles, can best characterize the Sedge experience for the students and faculty from SRHS. Our Thursday night banquet best sums it up. We had grilled Tautog that Mr. Dorris and a student caught earlier that day off the Barnegat Inlet Jetty. We ate raw and steamed hard clams that we dug on our way home from the long kayak trip. We had steamed soft clams drenched in butter. We had both ribbed and blue mussels in marinara sauce over spaghetti. Our vegetables consisted of Salicornia and Ulva salad. Several of us even tried eating raw spider crab. I found this to be mildly flavorful and somewhat watery.

Another high point of the trip was the bioluminescence. The water lit up when the dinoflagilates were disturbed with a hand or net swished through the water. A real surprise came when Mr. Dorris dove off the dock sending an explosion of glowing water into the air.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Nutley High School

The AP Biology class was fortunate to be able to get involved in a Watershed Education Program provided by the NJ Department of Environmental Protection. Sunday evening Howie Nebling and Lynette Lurig introduced this program to the students with a talk about fishing equipment and techniques. The following morning many students got up at sunrise to fish. Some used bait including clams, mullet and squid. Some used lures. They fished deep and near the surface. They retrieved slowly or cranked as fast as they could. In the end, one student caught and released a 16 inch striped bass. He was using a Fin-s, the same kind of lure we almost always use. The following morning many students again got up to fish at sunrise. Again one student caught one small striped bass on a Fin-s. Perhaps we have trained the fish in the vicinity of Sedge fish to hit they lures we most frequently use??

On Sunday a film crew from Ocean County College came to Sedge to video of the Nutley High School water quality monitoring session at Sedge. Students used chemical and mechanical means to measure temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen and turbidity. They then did a biological inventory of the flora and fauna by examining the contents of a seine net that two of the students dragged through the shallows near the dock. Who knows- in the future we may see some of these students on TV again when they are famous marine biologists.