PJ, what great news!
Bernie, company is fun, but it's nice to have your house back, eh?
Yesterday was a different adventure. A boat cruise from Portland to Bailey Island Maine. We saw a good deal of light houses.
Note the lobster boat near this one to get an idea of the size
I'm thinking I could live here:
This is NOT a light house, it is a monument to all the sailors lost at sea. As well, it is also a sanctuary. Notice the door in the bottom of the spire, it is stocked with food and water and a fireplace. There is a story of one sailor living on this island for 2 1/2 weeks before they built this sanctuary.
Here is a cute little gazebo on a point of an island. Notice the coloring of the rock shore line. It has iron ore in it and is rusting.
This is the world famous cribstone bridge, constructed of granite in 1927 connecting Orr's and Bailey islands. The only thing holding the cribstones together is gravity. They are just laid, one upon another.
And you thought those Lincoln logs of your youth wouldn't get you an engineering degree?
We did get to see some porpoises, but I didn't get an pictures of them, just happened too fast. We saw plenty of seals, herons, ospreys, and even an eagle.
And here is the smallest lighthouse in Maine
Now for something different. This is a lobstering area.
A lobsterman may have as many as 800 lobster traps in the water. He'll harvest 400 every other day. From each trap, he can expect one keeper lobster to sell. I was watching and they threw a bunch back, either too small or too big. Occasionally, they'll catch an egg bearing lobster, they'll go back overboard as well, regardless of size. I am told that they snip a V-notch out of the tail, which remains a notch, even after molting. This identifies her as a female and she will always get thrown back. They need the females to propagate the species.
The amount of gear required to harvest lobsters is amazing. You have the traps costing over $50 or $100 each
With brick, to make them sink
You can see the way the netting is held in place to trap the lobsters. Each trap is attached to some 100 feet of rope and a buoy.
You can see all these buoys in the water near this boat.
The purpose of the sail on the rear of the boat is to ease handling the boat. Every time they stop to pull a lobster trap, they do not anchor, they set the idle just enough to hold them against the tide or current, the sail keeps them pointed into the wind, a crude auto steer, while they empty the traps, re bait them and toss them back. A winch does the trap pulling for them, basically a motorized wheel that they hook the rope over and it pulls the trap up.
Take a look at this boat, you can see the buoy in the water behind it. Notice that it matches the buoy mounted on the top of the boat. He is only allowed to pull his own traps, identified by the buoy. Quick easy recognition.
When I first moved to Maine, lobster wars were not uncommon. People would pull other's traps, cut their lines, costing others their expensive traps, taking shots at each other (Yes, with guns!). They had to get the marine patrol out towards Rockland some decades back, IIRC. Things have long since simmered down, but occasionally you'll hear of an argument about people some guys putting their traps right on top of someone else's. Everyone has a certain territory they lobster from.
Lobstering is an expensive investment, the boat, the traps and buoys, the rope, the baiting, actually going out there and getting them. This is an all weather profession. The boats are often longer than needed, as when it is time to bring the traps to shore, they need the deck space. In winter, the lobster move to deeper water and due to ice, it is difficult to trap them in shallower water, so some lobstermen move their traps to deeper water, with longer ropes. Winter lobster always cost more, as a result. Much of winter, most lobstermen repair their traps and gear.
On a good day, a lobsterman may come back with 400 lobster, which he'll sell for several dollars per pound (The smallest weigh a pound, the largest can push 5 pounds). Out of this, he has to pay for and maintain all his gear and boat, as well as pay himself. You can understand why lobster is always the most expensive item on the menu.
Anyways, yesterday was a great day on the water, a bit different than I am used to!
Have a great day all!