Topic: Never a dull moment
Well, even though I obviously have a million things I should be doing, I thought the best way to try to stay in touch with friends and family was to start a blog. As I am running 9-10 web pages, the least I could do is have one for me
I'll be putting on slide shows, links to my other web sites, friend's websites, and tidbits about my life. As usual here on Nantucket there is never a dull moment, even on a holiday weekend. Although relived that tourists and vistors are starting to return to "America" (the mainland), we still have our hands full here.
As an example, this past Labor Day, I participated in a marine mammal stranding on a 9 ' 7" bottlenose dolphin which had beached itself several times the day before on the north shore (near John Kerry's place, obviously a republican dolphin). On Monday morning a group of Nantucket Marine Mammal Stranding Team members with assistance from the New England Aquarium (over the phone) and a local vet from the MSPCA had to euthanize this beautiful animal, which had lodged himself into a mosquito ditch in a large salt marsh called the creeks. There was no way in which the animal could be turned around or swim out on its own accord and typically an animal strands multiple times only when there is something medically wrong. At low tide, the dolphin was almost completely exposed, and although it was easy for it to keep its blow hole clear for breathing, sunburn and exhaustion would soon take its toll.
It is very hard to euthanize a dolphin, difficult to find a suitable vein to administer the poison used to humanely kill it ("blue juice"), and hard on the animal, and the volunteers and vets, especially when you are attempting to administer aid while straddling a deep mosquito ditch in 2 feet of salt water underlain by quicksand-like viscous mud (fortunately, I have always like the smell of sulfur, draw your own conclusions - I tend to think that makes me a natural chemist). By the time the animal had expired (1040 am), the tide had gone out which meant we could not extricate the animal, and it was difficult to extricate ourselves. Our departure from the site involved some low impact marsh bushwhacking, which fortunately I have a lot of experience in doing through my research (comical pictures of that will be posted soon-very comical ones Emily has will be deleted).
Later the evening, during the high tide, I had my first chance to go kayaking (yes I have loaner kayaks here at the field station I never use) because we had to use kayaks to tow the creature out into harbor. So my first kayaking trip involved a surreal slalom course as MMST member Bob and I used a 2 person ocean kayak hooked up to Edie Ray's one person kayak to tow the Soprano-like dead weight out into the harbor into deep enough water where a crane or hoist could be used to haul it onto land. We had a lot of help and encouragement and few catcalls, everything went very smoothly considering the situation. Once again I am impressed by the stranding team members dedication, come join us in January when it is really fun!
We are grateful for the help of Adam Ray and his co-worker for their assistance to bringing a boat closer into the area and for Blair Perkins who was able to hoist the animal onto a payloader and into a waiting truck. The next step, was to perform a necropsy (animal autopsy) on Wednesday with experts from NEaq. We then must find a suitable location to bury the animal as it cannot be put back to become food for the life-cycle because it not die naturally and had poison in its system. Unfortunately, my work schedule kept me from helping or observing the necropsy.
.........and that is just one part of my weekend. Saturday involved a one hour Clean Team (www.ackcleanteam.org) clean up on Hummock Pond Rd (35 volunteers! we almost ran out of places to clean), a TV appearance on the Morning, Noon, and Night Show on plum tv (http://nantucket.plumtv.com/ for multiple videos and http://nantucket.plumtv.com/stories/bobwright for Saturday's show) and then 2 hours of knotweed and rubble removal for an invasive plant species project with the invasive plant species committee (subcommittee of the Nantucket Biodiversity Initiative) and last but not least driving our UMass Boston BIO instructor (the lovely and talented Beth Boyle) to the ferry (all done by 2:00 pm). whew.
This weekend will also be busy. The Clean Team will attempt to Clean up Milestone road, we have more knotweed to wrangle, and the return of our Fall series of the Nantucket Poetry Slam featuring Victor Infante (and hopefully some poetry too from his SO Lea Deschenes) from 2-4 pm this Sunday (9th) at the Field Station. This slam is in memory of our master of ceremonies and very good friend Jim Nettles who passed away in early August.