Re: NANFA-- collecting mishaps stories....

Bruce Stallsmith (
Sun, 02 Jan 2000 22:59:32 EST

My most bizarre moment in field work happened on Nantucket. I was teaching a
two week section of a Coastal Ecology class at UMass/Boston's Field Station
in the summer of 1995. After a morning of using a dinghy to make plankton
collections in Nantucket Harbor off of the field station, I talked two
students into helping me return the dinghy back up a salt creek in the marsh
and tie it up at a safe mooring post. I didn't think exactly what the tidal
cycle was, so that by the time we had rowed about 3/4's of the way back up
the creek we were stuck in mud in the middle of the creek channel as the
tide deserted us. This is a salt marsh creek, so the sediments are extremely
fine particles saturated with water--you can't walk on it except up to your
waist. After about 30 minutes sitting in the boat we decided to try to
flounder our way out of the boat to more solid land. Bad mistake, we spent
the next 45 minutes flopping about in the mud before all of us made it out.
This is all under a midday June sun, clear skies. The field station director
was sitting out on his back deck 50 m away shouting derisory advice and
playing his cassette tape of wolves howling at loud volume (that added a
certain je ne sais quoi to the proceedings). If you're caught in a boat in
mud at low tide, wait several hours for the tide to come back in. I've been

--Bruce Stallsmith
Huntsville, AL (no salt marsh here!)

>Hi ... I've been watching too much Steve Irvin lately, and
>it's made me want to hear some crazy collecting experiences
>y'all have had, especially those close calls and daring
>feats--those crocodile hunter-type moments! It's just for
>entertainment purposes, to amuse and enthrall us all. (But
>it might also be a "warning" to someone on this list who
>has something I want but won't give me... you know who you
>are... next time you go collecting, you be _real_ careful.
>dainger dainger dainger.
>- shireen

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