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Old 09-11-2006
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Chesapeake marine life

I know there are more than a few Chesapeake sailors around here, and my question to you is this: What are some of the strange/interesting/surprising marine life encounters you have had on the water?

This summer, while swimming on a sandbar, I caught between my hands a baby seahorse. The critter was about three inches long. First time I had ever seen one outside of an aquarium. And more than once, I have had porpoises swim up alongside of me to check out the boat, which was a surprise to me in the Chesapeake. Anyone else have an encounter to share?
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Old 09-11-2006
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Jotun,

Two to report: one about 50 years ago, the other just this year.

In 1955 I was a camp counselor for the third year at Camp Ernest W. Brown, the Police Boys Club camp located on the Potomac River a few miles inside Point Lookout. I was on the "beach patrol" staff, attending to all manner of water sports.

Unfortunately, Bay Watch hadn't come along yet, so the scenery was OK but not great :-)) I remember clearly that after a hurricane which blew up the bay and went up the Potomac we had hundreds of prehistoric creatures stranded on the beach. These were skates....very common in the Bay (saw some this year near Smith Creek)....but you almost never see them out of the water. Really weird creatures, with long rat-like tails!

This year, sailing into Smith Creek, we saw a lot of Pelicans sitting on the fixed fish trap located between Smith Creek and the St. Mary's River entrance. Must be global warming: normally, pelicans don't show themselves so far north.

Bill
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Old 09-11-2006
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Two or three years summers ago we had several porpoises in the Deale harbor one morning. They were also seen in the connecting Herring Bay for a few more days.

It is not unusual to see a few skates on the surface in Herring Bay during the summer.
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Old 09-11-2006
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Bill: The reason you are seeing Pelicans on the Bay now is not global warming. (A popular myth). It is DDT. Remember that stuff from the 1970's? It almost wiped out the Pelicans and the Bald Eagle to name a few. Both species have made wonderful comebacks in the past 10 years.
A great place to check out Eagles is the Wildlife Preserve behind Cambridge, MD, quite amazing.
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