Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Strange Sights and Sounds

New Bern, NC


We are back on the boat after nearly 2 weeks on shore. Yesterday it was 72 degrees and today it will be 75, but this afternoon it will blow 45 and winter weather will return. Brrrrr

Last night, about an hour after sunset, I was up on deck. I heard a very strange loud sound. I looked all around, especially up in the sky, and saw nothing. A few seconds later I turned around and saw a huge disturbance in the water. It looked like the continent of Atlantis was trying to surface. OK, now is the time to insert the Twilight Zone theme music. I couldn't figure out the cause. A minute or two later I heard the noise again. I whipped my head around in time to see it. It was an incredibly dense school of fish who were getting excited about something. Wow! We have never seen anything quite like that in nearly eight years on the water.

Then I noticed another coincidence. A brilliant and nearly full orange moon was rising in the East. Then I remembered some local history that I read recently. It was about the native Indians who taught the black watermen how to fish the North Carolina inland waters. One key trick they taught them was which moon brought in the annual schools of shad, and which moon brought the schools of menhaden. I don't know which kind of fish it was last night. I bet that some blog reader could tell me. Anyhow, I now think that the time of year, the full moon and the appearance of that school of fish are a pattern, not a coincidence. Awesome!!!

That 50 foot wide school of fish was so impressive. My mind boggles at the thought of the enormous schools that populated these waters in colonial times. My they must have been impressive. My mind also boggles at the accounts of dinner plate sized oysters. How sad it is that the pressure of seven billion people on this planet has so drastically suppressed other species.

1 comment:

  1. are there any dinner plate oyster shells on exhibit in the natural history museums there?


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