Friday, May 27, 2016

Exploring South Florida, Part II: Boating + Fishing + Beaching

(Beaching is definitely a word.)

As I mentioned in my last post, I spent an extra week at school to complete the labs for my summer Environmental Science class. After adventuring in the Everglades, which was a total blast, we made another fun outing to the Rookery Bay National Estuary. There, we went boating on the beautiful water, trolled for critters ~ and definitely caught some cool ones ~ and walked across an island to the beach.

Keep reading for stories and pictures from the expedition!

On the Water
As you can see, the water was absolutely beautiful ~ and it was a perfect day for boating too! We saw dolphins and manatees (two of my favorite animals) swimming in the water, which was amazing!

Catching Critters
We fished with a net that came off the back of the boat and dragged across the bottom of the water (I think the technical term for this was trolling? I don't know these things, haha.) After dragging the net underwater for about five minutes, we brought it in, sorted our catches into bins and jars, and looked at what we'd caught.

As you can see in the top photo, we caught a baby seahorse! Oh my gosh, it was so cute. We actually caught quite a few baby fish (like, baby fish) ~ and they were all so unbelievably cute.

As you can see in the second photo, we caught some sea stars, which was cool! Also featured in the second photo, as well as the bottom two photos, is a polka dot batfish. This fish was so weird, but also pretty cool. I even mustered up the courage to hold him!

Beach Time
After trolling, we parked our boat alongside an island in the middle of the estuary, and waded our way across it through water that ran through the mangrove trees. We were met by a beautiful beach on the other side! There we hunted for seashells, got our feet wet in the amazing blue water, and enjoyed a picnic lunch. Then it was time to head back in and call it a day.

Do you enjoy boating or fishing? Have you ever been to an estuary?

Sincerely,
~Stephanie

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