After an early morning wake up, we set off to experience the main attraction the Darling Marine Center had to offer, the Damariscotta River estuary. Heading down to the boat, it had already started off rough; rainy and cloudy, but it was all worth it in the end.
This estuary is unusual because most estuaries have a lot of freshwater flowing out into the ocean, but this one has much more seawater flowing into the river. Starting at the head of estuary at the town of Damariscotta, we cruised the length of the estuary, stopping at 6 spots, or stations, heading to the ocean. We pulled plankton nets to catch zooplankton and phytoplankton at each station. We also used a 200-pound instrument called a CTD which is used to measure the conductivity or salinity, temperature, and depth of seawater. Being the techie on the crew, I operated the computer of this fancy device.
Learning to control the winch as we swung the heavy CTD into the water took some time, but we got the hang of it after the second station. As we got to the higher energy wave swells towards the mouth of the river, we had to work quickly to avoid anyone danger or damage from the pitching instrument. Through our time on the boat, we saw seals, and even dancing lobstermen on a float. Some experienced seasickness, and we all got a taste of what life on a boat will be like when we get to the schooner.
A few days later, with some convincing, we went to the Common Ground Fair in Unity, Maine. For some of us it was the first time going, and it was different from the Fryeburg Fair; lots of organic food, people walking around barefoot, flowers and flower crowns. Everyone was smiling at you as you walked by. Being in a whole new setting, and seeing loved ones, caused this day trip to definitely be worth it!