|Homer Smith is a great marina, and often has fresh off-of-the boat shrimp. Yum!|
|I never understood why you have to go super fast to go fish!?|
Later in the day, as we are cruising off the coast of Cape Hatteras, we can see a pack of these boats returning to Morehead City to have their catches weighed.
|Bravo is the red boat, and pretty soon we were surrounded by sport fishing boats.|
This year the prize-winning marlin in this tournament was in excess of 495 pounds! Michael Jordan also participated with his 80' Viking sport fishing boat named "Catch 23", and they caught a 442 pound blue marlin. But it wasn't big enough to be on the leader board.
|These fish are seriously big! But this was not a prize winner at a mere 415 pounds!|
|These dolphins are great entertainment, and they're like the synchronized swimmers of the sea.|
Batten Down the Hatches
After a few hours of this pounding, we decide to alter our course, get closer to shore and calmer seas. Much better ride.
|Nora's at the helm with her Schooner Zodiac shirt. The Zodiac is a wonderful schooner in Bellingham, WA.|
A bit short of our original goal of Cape Cod Canal, but the offshore conditions were too much “rock and roll” for our tastes. Tomorrow is the trip up the East River past Lower Manhattan and through Hell’s Gate to Long Island Sound.
|You really need to be fully engaged as you navigate your way through the waterways of New York City.|
The night before the trip, Nora enters a detailed course from Sandy Hook to Port Washington, New York into Bravo’s navigation system. This track helps us stay on-course following many red and green buoys and prevents any wrong turns. The harbor and river contain many side channels and there are no signs mid-stream saying, “Long Island, Next Left Turn”.
The iconic orange Staten Island Ferry departs its lower Manhattan Terminal and dashes across the bay.
|We see quite a few of the Staten Island Ferries, and we steer well clear.|
|Fireboat passing under the Brooklyn Bridge.|
We also see a ship that could possibly be a “stretch Nordhavn 62”… and a ship that did not make it out of New York!
|This looks like a Nordhavn 62, with an additional hundred feet or so.|
|In typical New York City fashion, there's even graffiti on the bow of this rust bucket.|
|It's really an awesome & memorable sight to come into NYC by water, and to be greeted by the Statue of Liberty!|
|The Statue of Liberty was definitely positioned to welcome boats as they arrived to New York City.|
|When we photographed Ellis Island in the 70's it was abandoned, crumbling, and and overgrown.|
Now, thankfully it's back to it's original glory.
|Before the lighthouses were automated, lighthouse keepers lived onsite to keep it running.|
Port Washington, NY
|We exit the narrow channel that leads to what is known as the "Great Salt Pond" anchorage in Block Island.|
|The weather quickly changed. ...Again!|
Unfortunately, the clear day quickly turns foggy and we plod along to our anchorage just south of the Cape Cod Canal entrance. Not too much to look at. Just grey, grey, grey outside our windows. In the pilot house, watching radar and AIS for navigational aids and other boats also moving carefully around in the fog.
|We're approaching the Sagamore Bridge in the Cape Cod Canal.|
|And here we have an example of your classic lighthouse style.|
|Just looking at this picture has me reaching for my sunglasses!|
Lobstah, Lobstah, Lobstah!!!
The plethora of lobster buoys never ceases to amaze us, and we certainly appreciate the delicious outcome of all this hard work! We are always thrilled to arrive in Maine and enjoy lobster every week. Whenever in town, we seek a local source for fresh lobster and corn on the cob.
|The only time it's cheaper is if we're able to buy right off of the lobster boat.|
Lobster, Homarus americanus, has been commercially fished in Maine since the mid-1800’s. 90% of US lobster currently comes from Maine. Last year, 4,500 Maine lobstermen caught 120 million pounds to be shipped and eaten all over the world! People eat lobster, but what do lobsters eat? Lobsters are nocturnal and hunt at night for crabs, sea stars, sea urchins, fish, clams, mussels, worms, and sometimes each other!! Lobsters are left or right-handed and have a heavy claw for crushing and a narrow claw for cutting. Lobstermen have a special tool to put a strong rubber band on each claw as soon as they are removed from the trap. It protects the lobsterman from the lobster and the lobsters from each other!
|Lobster boats at the ready for the morning catch.|
|We love the humor in the name, and check out that exhaust!|
|This lobster boat was named "Bonnie's Brats". Glad we didn't meet the kids!|
Where ever we go, we talk to the locals and learn more and more about lobstering and its impact on life in Maine. Friends recommend books and websites to expand our knowledge and appreciation for lobster. Nora especially enjoyed, The Secret Life of Lobsters by Trevor Corson, telling the story of lobster fishing families on the Cranberry Islands. Our “home bases” in Rockland and Southwest Harbor put us in the epicenter of the Maine lobster industry providing easy access to Cranberry Islands, Isle Au Haut, Stonington, and Penobscot Bay.
|We visited Little Cranberry Island, which was picturesque.|
Lobstering is second only to the timber industry in Maine. However, lobstering is many small family businesses with each boat typically carrying only a captain and a stern-man. Some captains fish alone, but that practice is considered very dangerous. Average income for a Maine lobsterman is $43,000. Overhead is high with traps costing about $100 each; bait is $30.00 a barrel (5-8 barrels a day); plus boat, fuel, and 20% to the stern-man. Boat and trap maintenance are formidable annual expenses. Fisherman estimate 15-20% of trap gear is lost every year due to boat traffic.
|New lobster pots ready to go.|
|Some slightly used lobster pots.|
Up to 800 traps are permitted with a commercial license. Licenses cost between $167-$501 plus .50 cents for each trap tag. To obtain a lobster fishing license, you must be a Maine resident, and the waiting list is nearly 10 years long. Non-commercial licenses for 5 traps are available for Maine residents beginning at 8 years old. Many a Maine youngster starts earning their way at an early age! Traps can be set at any time, but they can only be hauled between sunrise and sunset. Additionally, between June 1 and September 1, no traps can be hauled between sunset on Saturday, and sunrise on Monday. Buoys mark the set traps and the color scheme is unique to each lobsterman as noted on their license.
|These buoys are old, but you can see the variety of color schemes.|
|We saw this on a remote beach. Pretty cool!|
To help maintain this valuable resource, Maine has some of the most conservation-oriented lobstering regulations in the industry. Even though Maine lobster season is open 12 months a year, most of lobsters that show up in a trap are immediately released. Legal lobsters are only those measuring between 3¼-5 inches of body length and are not “V-notched” females. “V-notched” females are egg-carrying lobsters marked by the fisherman with a notch in their tail. They are always thrown back to continue producing more baby lobsters in the cold rocky Maine waters.
It takes 5-7 years for a lobster to reach 1.5 pounds and 15-20 years to become 3 pounds. To reach minimum size, lobsters shed their shells 20-25 times growing 20% larger each time they molt. Most of this molting or shedding occurs during the summer months. Therefore, soft-shell lobster is the variety available during tourist season. Hard shell lobster is typically available after October and before May.
If you would like to know more about Maine lobsters you can check out The Lobster Conservancy at lobsters.org, lobstermanpage.net, or lobsteranywhere.com, and another fun book, The Lobster Chronicles by Linda Greenlaw.
|Even though cruising through the fog can be challenging, it does make for some great photo ops!|
|This bizarre looking boat appeared out of the fog. I can't imagine that there is more than one of these!|
|Time to relax and have a glass of wine. ...or two!|