SHRIMPS FOR DINNER?
The shrimping season has been on for quite a while, but yesterday I was lucky enough to catch them unloading these small crustaceans on the wharf at Carrying Place in West Point. These shrimp were caught with the net you see rolled on the stern of the boat just visible on the water's edge. They must have brought in 6-8 tubs of these animals that were quickly iced and readied for trucking to the market. I am always amazed at the vivid color of these small edible animals. They almost match the rubber gloves on the worker. Do they look appetizing to you?

The trawler that netted these animals did not go far out to sea. Its home port is Cundy's Harbor. I was told the captain hangs up his shrimping hat at the end of February and will head down to Delaware with his boat to drag for scallops. What an interesting life! I wish I could go out on one of his expeditions.......

On my way out to view the uploading of the shrimp, I had to climb around bins of bait waiting to be loaded for lobstering. They didn't appear to need any refrigeration, since it was well below freezing outside. I do like the way these remnants are recycled as food for the lobsters. Perhaps the missing fillets are on our plates. Another bin was loaded with fish heads, which are also stuffed into bait bags to attract hungry crustaceans.

I've always assumed that clamming goes on without interruption throughout the winter. I've learned differently this year. The clam flats are now covered with icey chunks, and to get through to the sand or mud would require considerable effort. The flats near the Kelp Shed look like this. I walked out a ways, wondering how the clams were faring under this ice. The ice stretched out beyond the small island off shore, and this was at low tide.

I had an interesting conversation with Chris and asked about how the lobsters were faring in the pound. They are getting ready to harvest/dive for the first ones to go to market. I shall be on the lookout for that activity, and you will be the first to know when it happens! I have to admit to never having watched them dive for the first lobsters. They hire a commercial diver for that responsibility. Of course the cove is quite shallow at low tide, but the water is still frigid.

We also talked about the high number of deer on the island, and how the foliage of shrubs and trees is suffering as a result. Chris counted 14 deer down in the grassy area where there are apple trees. I know from seeing their tracks and trails that there are many finding cover on the island. Another friend told of having one deer give her a threatening look and stamping its feet! They must be "from away"!

2/3/07 Ronnie, not a shrimp (my Dad used to call me that when I was a kid!)