Help! I’ve Fallen and I Can’t Get Up

Being a biologist is messy.  Wednesday, we had assignment in ecology to go wade through the marsh adjacent to the harbor to find the abundance of a certain snail species, their average heights, the abundance of spartina (marsh grass), it’s average height, then to find small and large snails and tether them with superglue, dental dam, and string to the spartina to monitor crab predation.

To do all of this, we had to wade through knee deep pluff mud.

Here are some facts about pluff mud wading:  1) It is hard as heck to maneuver through.  Old tennis shoes that are tied tight to your feet are a must.  If you can still feel your feet, your circulation to them has not been cut off and they are not tied tight enough.  2) It smells…bad.  Like rotten eggs.  3) To get unstuck, do not pull one leg out, then set it down and pull other leg out because first leg will just get stuck again.  Sit down in the mud and get free, then crawl on your knees.  4) If you can get enough momentum going, run as fast as you can in the mud and you won’t get stuck as much if you can keep going.  Except, this advice does fail when your feet get stuck and the rest of your body is still moving forward, making you fall to your knees.

Needless to say, we all got engulfed in mud.  I mean, it was caked on.  Hopefully I’ll have some pictures of it up soon.  One girl sunk down so far in the mud where some oysters had made their home and cut herself a nice gash on her thigh.  At least she was excused from going back in this morning.  That’s right, we had to brave the pluff mud again to check the snail predation.  And low tide was at 7:22am this morning.  The best part of waking up is not Folger’s in your cup, but  pluff mud down your pants.  I went about 12 m into the marsh and and got severely stuck.  We had to go 47 m.  Kristin, my partner, was on her own.

Pictures of the mud romp:


Before…Me, Kris, Paul, Sami, Anna, and Lindsay


Lindsay & I


Me, Kris, and Paul cleaning up in the harbor.  I just love this picture of our muddy butts!


In other news, I have one more test to pass before I am boat certified, I survived my students’ griping about my grading of their midterms in biology lab, and the Halloween party is next weekend!  Hopefully, Bekkah is still coming (she is!).  I’ve still got to get my zombie outfit together.  Anyone up for my annual watching of “Army of Darkness?”


3 responses

  1. What do you mean “am I having fun yet?” Doesn’t the above answer that? And we didn’t have to drive anywhere to do that, the marsh was right behind the lab. Also, I got the article from the newspaper Aunt Bobbie sent about you all and city hall. Your part is cut out and on my door!

  2. Wow, Sarah, you weren’t kidding when you said that stuff was deep! It looks like it was all the wait up to your waist. That is crazy! I bet it was fun once you got over how gross and smelly the mud was.

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