Saturday, June 19, 2010

When Lobsters Molt, Think of Something Else

The molting, as I’ve written before, is a time of soul searching. It is a time of traps being heavier because there is nothing inside to eat or sell. Yesterday seemed like the beginning of the 2010 molt. Something like three quarters of the traps were empty, whether bait stayed on or not.

Early in the journey, I was sailing around Wheaton Island- a transit even quieter than rowing- when there was a solid fwushmmph behind me. I was startled and suddenly aware of the tiny size of my wood survival zone. Some sea creature had surfaced and disappeared, leaving an upwelling of water 50 feet behind me. Maybe seals and porpoises just sound a lot bigger in a small quiet craft. Maybe it’s like Lydia said: A Giant Squid.

The southwest wind at 5 to 10 knots called for felt a lot more like northwest 10 to 20. At one point, it was so laborious moving forward that I decided to give up and sail back to the harbor after finishing half my gear for the day. My sail trimming and steering skills are green enough that I slipped sideways and wound up at Two Bush ledge, where I decided to take the sail down before the boat struck rock. I stopped almost on top of one of my 5 buoys and, after a hem and a haw, decided to pull those since I was already there.

After crossing over to the Beach Ledges, I tied up to a buoy to reassess, give the lobsters a break by putting the crate overboard, pump out the boat and have a bite. The wind and waves seemed to have settled enough that I decided to go back out to Two Bush Island, where I’d surrendered earlier to have another try. It was a wrestling match because I left the lee and worked directly in the wind. Pulling up and tending each trapped allowed me to slip 50 feet or so downwind so I had to claw my way back each time. When those were done, I only had five left, very much in the lee, 25 degrees warmer and much easier work.

All these mini adventures had a common thread. Empty traps, one after another. The only real satisfaction was getting them baited, getting back to the harbor, cleaning up and putting things in order. Having brunch tied to a lobster buoy 50 feet from the easterly beach ledge on a summer day was pretty cool too.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Nat,

    I wondered if you could tell me who built your boat? I really enjoy your blog, being a former islander from Vinalhaven. Hope you have a good fall.

    J McDonald