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The Tides: My Summer Fishing the Bay of Fundy, Term Paper Example

Pages: 1

Words: 1027

Term Paper

Introduction

I have always thought of my life as being landlocked. It’s not because I live close to Lake Michigan. Indeed, the lake is vibrant, from its ever-changing colors from the way the sun shines upon its water. It’s sparkling blue during three seasons of the year while during the winter the sunlight hitting the snow and ice changes the terrain to look like shining diamonds. But for all practical purposes Lake Michigan and the other Great Lakes are just stagnant water.  Like any inland pond the lake just lays there. Freshwater fish move about and during warmer weather a few pleasure craft can be seen. But the seas are vibrant; its waters are constantly moving and they play host to a variety of living things just not found in the Great Lakes.

Body

When I was in my late teens my parents took me to visit New England.  I was able to find my way to the beaches of the Atlantic Ocean. For the first time in my life I experienced the Earth’s tides. My father explained to me that the tides are formed by changes in the gravitational pull between our planet and Earth’s moon. Without getting too scientific, one moment I lay on the beach enjoying the sun in late July; a half hour later I was soaking wet and fighting the ocean’s currents just to maintain my own safety. I thought there was a storm coming up but several friendly New Englanders were quick to explain that the tide was coming in. A few hours later the tide would go out and the beaches would miraculously reappear. My parents told me the tides were here when the first human set foot on Earth and will be around until some cosmic cataclysmic event puts an end to our beloved planet.

Toward the end of that summer and when I was already back in Michigan, my dad told me he wanted to speak to me. Dad had a friend, John Goodlad, who owned an up-to-date fishing vessel that plowed the seas along the New England coastline, usually cruising from Maine south to North Carolina. Mr. Goodlad had three sons who were approximately my own age, and his fishing vessel was most aptly named, The Goodlads. One of Mr. Goodlad’s crew had recently quit and since I was so impressed by the sea, my dad asked his friend if I could replace him. It was an ideal time of my life: I had just graduated from high school. Having been the football team’s captain, I was physically fit. I was also unsure of what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. Working for Mr. Goodlad (John) gave me the opportunity to study the sea and perhaps to find a new interest in my life. Working for John sure beat the minimum wage jobs that were usually open to kids my age. That summer my friends flipped burgers, vacuumed popcorn off theater floors—and I became a fisherman.

As luck would have it, that summer several severe hurricanes and other tropical storms blew into the Central Atlantic States. I thought my fishing experience was doomed! But John had been fishing for several years and he knew where to safely take his boat. John took us to the Bay of Fundy, a coastal area just north of Maine and slightly below Canada. The Bay is by far one of the most pristine places on the Earth. It is also some of the highest tides recorded on any of the Earth’s oceans. The Bay has 500 separate species of sea life, yet it is one of the cleanest inlets in the world. John explained to me that because the tides are so high and often so violent in the Bay of Fundy they perform a “clean sweep” of the sand beneath the Bay. Both living and dead organisms are swept out to sea when the tide departs; new and fresh sea life is brought back each time the tide returns. When the tide was in, fishing nets were set to catch Cod, Halibut, and Flounder. Salmon were caught in specially designed cages. Tuna were caught on long lines. When the tide was out plentiful sea life included shrimp and lobster, shellfish that normally dug themselves into the sand.

Life on the sea was hard. We worked from very early in the morning to late in the evening. The work was heavy. I had to be wary of the weather. My hands were raw from sliding across heavy ropes. I always had to be alert for slippery surfaces and others who accidently plowed into each other while carrying heavy loads. But the food was good, the company was entertaining, and I earned more money that summer than almost all of my friends put together.

Conclusion

Following that summer I returned to my home in Michigan. With boredom I watched the lake that never moves. I listened when my friends told me how elated they were when they dropped a hook from the dock and pulled up a fish. I watched the boats cruising leisurely on the lake and I watched the thrill seekers pulling their friends on water skis. The lake is beautiful and I often think how blessed I am to sit on the shoreline and marvel at God’s creation. But then my memory takes me back to that summer on the ocean, to the waves crashing on the shores, and to the Bay of Fundy filled with so many delectable fish that most of us take for granted.

Over the years I lost track of John Goodlad. I don’t know if he is still alive. I don’t know if his sons eventually became part of the family’s business. I don’t even know if his ship, The Goodlads, still cruises the ocean. However, I vividly remember the tides and the fishermen who depend upon them to earn their living. Someday when I have children of my own I know I will be remiss if I don’t take them to visit the ocean, to see Nature at work, and to find out for themselves how the hundreds of fish we enjoy make their way to our plates.

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