Register by Aug 11 for 39th Annual Clean Harbor swim (kids and adults) held @Niles Beach August 19th

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REGISTER BY AUGUST 11 for 39th Annual Clean Harbor Swim- 

“New since 2015 is the Clean Harbor Kids swim, a 500 meter swim along the shore of Niles Beach for 8-12 year olds. This is a wonderful way to introduce kids to the sport of Open Water Swimming.”  And to talk about the history behind celebrating a clean water swim here in Gloucester harbor, the natural world ‘all about us’, stories of conservation, and work of naturalists like Sarah Fraser Robbins.

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Post storm Hermine: see the sea of seaweed and mosses on Long Beach

During the last days of summer, the sands at Long Beach shift to form a ledge that we affectionately call the ‘August shelf’. The slant is a challenge walking or running and a ramp or jumping platform if the tide is right.  Children engage in all manner of parapet building and collapsing. The ocean remains warm and the waves can seem bigger. These marks –annual gifts from nature– gently nudge us to fall. This year, as a result of tropical storm Hermine, there is a bonus shelf of seaweed brought in by majestic tumultuous waves. Don’t miss a fantastic chance to inspect species common to Gloucester, Cape Ann and the East Coast. Seagulls and clothing pop against a uniform blanket of red.  From a distance, the deep color of the seaweed seems the natural inspiration  for the architectural details of Cape Ann Motor Inn.

Look closely as there are so many species intertwined and clumped together teeming with texture and color! Be inspired to create: the Cape Ann Museum includes volumes of pressed seaweeds and mosses. Learn more: Isabel Natti did the algae plant drawings for The Sea is All About Us, a pioneer book on local marine life and shores by Sara Fraser Robbins and Clarice Yentsch. Visit Maritime Gloucester to learn about life at the shore. Garden: a friend collects some seaweed for her beds. Eat: I haven’t tried making my own seaweed salad but I have eyed Irish moss pudding recipes. Pudding anyone?

Irish Moss pudding:  1 cup (dead, rinsed, cleaned, possibly soaked) moss with a quart of milk in a double boiler for 15 – 30 minutes, strain out the moss. Add sugar to taste, and optional flavoring (citrus, coffee, vanilla, green tea, whatever you like). Pour into mold and refrigerate or blend a health drink. The consistency is thicker relative to time.

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a few seaweed examples I teased out from the pile

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And they’re off Clean Harbor Swim

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Joey’s 2009 interview with Richie Martin

 

Related posts:

8/13/16, race above same day: And they’re back

8/12/16 Gloucester’s Clean Harbor: H2O No No’s are in the past – some history of the swim

8/10/16 Accclaimed writer, Gloucester resident, and one of the trio that inspired the Clean Harbor Swim Sarah Fraser Robbins excerpt ( the title of her classic book The Sea is All About Us was a nod to Gloucester summer resident TS Eliot’ Four Quartets)

8/6/16 litter 1978 Crackdown at the quarries 

8/4/16 history of the swim and news about 2016 Celebrate the Clean Harbor Swim

RIO WATERS CAN GET BETTER! THANKS TO DOGGED NATURALISTS, WE CAN PUT OUR HEADS UNDER WATER IN GLOUCESTER. REGISTER NOW FOR THE AUGUST 13 CLEAN HARBOR SWIM

 

 

Naturally beautiful 6 layered rock. Sarah Fraser Robbins excerpt.

20160810_111305Black rocks are slippery and demand respect. Dreaded barnacles may be near. For the uninitiated, advice helps: Tread slowly. Crouch low. No flip flops. Maintain 3 or 4 points of contact. Walk like a crab. The rocks feel sticky, maybe dry. Caution: things change quickly if you’re wet.

Still, people fall. Hard.  I have witnessed spectacular slides down cliffs, torn and stained swimwear, bruised backs, skin scraped raw and red, stubbed and bloody toes, one gashed head, and a fractured wrist.

I have a copy of The Sea is All About Us in a guest room for family and friends. I can’t say that it will ward off all evil falls, but it’s helped. The granite galvanizing, seaweed section quoted below is one of the oft read passages I share. What a teacher! She lived in Gloucester and wrote about it.

If you read it once, I guarantee that it will change how you see the colors of our rocky coast, and sea all about us.

 

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From 1973 The Sea is All about Us by Sarah Fraser Robbins and Clarice Yentsch. Back cover: Yentsch and Robbins (first author-holding horseshoe crab)

The Rocky Shore 

The Black Zone

Plant and animal life on the rocky shore can be separated into six general zones, beginning with the Black Zone, which marks the average high point that the sea reaches upon the land. The Black Zone is covered by microscopic blue-green algae, which are so dense that they make a black line of varying widths along the rocks. These blue green algae exist at high-tide level all around the world wherever the sea meets the land on the rocks. 

Just below the Black Zone lie

The Periwinkle Zone and The Barnacle Zone.

named after the dominant animals. There is no definite territorial line for these animals, and indeed the zones often intermingle with each other. Barnacles and periwinkles can be found penetrating the Rockweed Zone (the next zone seaward) and sometimes into the edge of the Irish Moss Zone. Both periwinkles and barnacles are equipped to withstand desiccation (drying out), and can live very successfully in an area that is dry up to 70 percent of the time.

The Rockweed Zone

lies in the middle intertidal area, and is characterized by the brown seaweeds that live there, such as the sea wrack, Fucus, and the knotted wrack, Ascophyllum, which are long, brown seaweeds with conspicuous float bladders that are firmly attached to most of the rocks. They hang limply when the tide is out and float upwards as the tide rises until they are completely erect at high tide. They sway back and forth, dampening the effect of wave action, and providing a sheltered environment for many intertidal plants and animals.

The Irish Moss Zone

is down lower from the high tide line and is exposed only during the very low tides which occur twice a month. The short, dark red tufts of Irish moss, Chondrus Crispus, cover the lower rocks like a carpet, in sharp contrast with the brown Rockweed Zone, the white Barnacle Zone, the Periwinkle Zone and the Black Zone above. 

The Laminarian or Kelp Zone 

is exposed only at the very lowest tides, which occurs four times a year. This zone extends down as far as light usable for photosynthesis can penetrate–about 30 meters in Folly Cove, and 200 meters in very clear tropical water. The Kelp Zone is the dwelling place of many animals that can survive only continually submerged in water; sponges, hydroids, anemones, certain mollusks, echinoderms, arthropods, tunicates, and fish. Many of these animals may be found higher in intertidal zones, but only in pools that never dry up.

On tide pools- “AT TIMES IN AUGUST THEY ARE REDUCED TO A CRUST OF SALT CRYSTALS”

Tide pools occur in all zones. The upper pools in the splash area or Periwinkle Zone are sporadically replenished with sea water, and consequently are subject to variations caused by land temperatures. They may freeze long before the ocean does. They evaporate in hot sun and strong winds, and thereby concentrate their salinity, that is, become saltier than the sea. At times during August, they are reduced to a crust of salt crystals. After heavy rains and floods they become much less salty. Some tide pools in the middle zones will contain animals and plants characteristic of a deeper zone because the conditions present are similar to those in the zone below. Tide pools in the Irish Moss Zone often contain kelp and associated animals. Tide pools are always a good place to explore. 

The edge of the tide is a fragile environment which in its delicate natural balance can easily be destroyed by interference. The building of piers, jetties, and sewage outfalls, and the dumping of trash or industrial wastes into the ocean can be devastating. Overcollecting can be destructive. In the intertidal areas, look and touch only. Examine plants and animals carefully. Overturn stones to see what is clinging to them or living underneath, but always turn that stone back. To leave it overturned alters the environment completely and needlessly kills many organisms. Take photographs or make careful drawings for your notebook, but collect only dead material. Use unbreakable plastic containers from which to observe the organism and then return them to the tidal pool. 

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Dry scurry as you like