From Lake Erie to the Long Island Sound

by Michael Southard

As a fairly new resident of Long Island, I am constantly on the lookout for new ways to explore everything there is to see. Having the opportunity to go aboard Christeen was a truly incredible way to explore my new home. I had the opportunity to see a whole new side of Long Island by experiencing what it is like to be out on the water. I was amazed by the views I was offered along the shoreline and by all of the history I learned while under-sail.
Additionally, being aboard a Marine Education Sail allowed to me to learn so much more about the fish and wildlife that calls Long Island Sound home. Coming from Western New York, I was more aware of the freshwater ecosystems of Lake Ontario and Lake Erie. This was one of my first experiences with a saltwater ecosystem. It was fascinating to see our Education Director, Cameron, pull in the plankton tow and put the samples under the microscope!
My favorite part of the sail was when the educators pulled up the dredge. Some of the animals were ones I had never seen before, let alone held or had the chance to examine. It was amazing to see the several types of crabs, snails, oysters, sponges, and clams that were pulled in. They pulled in the largest spider crab I had ever seen. It was easily two or three times bigger than the ones I was used to seeing in the tanks!
I consider myself very lucky to have experienced this and am very grateful for the opportunity to hop on future sails this season! I would also like to offer my sincere thanks to the captain, crew, and educators who made my first experience aboard Christeen so memorable!