Earth Day: The light flickers

Sammy (age five), who knows about layers of the ocean

For a hundred fathoms the sun rays penetrate
The sea is warm and full of life
Phytoplankton turn the sun’s energy into food.

The sunlight zone is what we know
Where the dolphins play
It’s the ocean blue.

Varying by season and latitude
Fish and seagulls, squids and jellyfish
Tiny copepods feed giant whales.

Below is the twilight zone
Worthy of Rod Serling
It’s dimly lit and cold, but still supports life.

Bioluminescence
Fish eyes are large, directed upwards
Food silhouettes.

Then there is the deep, the midnight zone
Constant darkness, except what creatures themselves provide
Crushing, almost freezing.

Thousands of feet down
The water’s weight presses down
Yet the sperm whale can dive here.

He searches for food
At depths we can’t imagine
He recycles and moves nutrients.

His carcass stores carbon
Providing habitat and food for others
He’s an ecosystem engineer.

He lights up our life
When he leaves the page
We discover the real darkness and cold.

Skerwink Trail

Sea stacks

Sea stacks

We just walked the beautiful Skerwink Trail, which is reachable by a short path from our house rental. The trail loops around Skerwink Head, a rocky peninsula between Port Rexton and Trinity East, Newfoundland.

The peninsula is mainly sedimentary rock, especially sandstone. It’s been shaped into fantastic cliffs, sea stacks, arches, and beaches by the Atlantic storms and freeze/thaw cycles.

Along the walk we saw whales and seabirds, wildflowers, mushrooms, edible wild berries, and a variety of habitats, including determined plants on steep cliffs, mixed forest, craggy meadows, tuckamore, bog, freshwater pond, birch tree clusters, and gravel beach.

The early day was foggy and drizzly, but by late afternoon the sun was shining. A gentle breeze turned into a stronger wind than I liked in the exposed areas.

The trail is considered moderate–difficult. Numerous steps, boardwalks, and rails are what makes it moderate. There is also good signage, including several “Caution” or “Danger: Unstable cliffs.” As an accomplished acrophobe, the recommendation for caution was unnecessary for me. I could easily see the danger, and instead wished for a “Turn back now!” sign.

We celebrated the end of the walk with a dinner of fresh mussels purchased from a roadside truck at Trinity Bay, where they’re farmed. Steamed in white wine and accompanied by some garlic mayonnaise, they were delicious. It didn’t hurt that the price was a little over $1 (US)/pound.

You can see some of the sights in the slides below and on the Skerwink Trail site.

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Ballston Beach breakthrough, 2015

Ballston Beach in Truro had another breakthrough with this recent storm, effectively making North Truro and Provincetown into an island at high tide.

You can see some photos we took at low tide yesterday afternoon (click to enlarge) and below that a dramatic video taken by Bobby Rice of Truro.