THE BIG DRAIN!
Last Friday, I headed over to the campground just after breakfast since I had heard that it was time to drain the lobster pound. The weather was mild, and the tides were extra low. Here is the cove where the lobsters have been kept since last October. There had been several scheduled dives to reduce the number as the demand (and price) for lobsters was right. Now it was time to lower the water and pick up the remaining crustaceans. Yes, it was time to pick them up! In the picture to the left, you will see the cages in which to put the lobsters. Where do you find them? See those round puddles on the left of the picture? These were hollowed out by lobsters. They remained in a comatose state during the worst of the winter, and now could be found by reaching in those round puddles and picking up the animals.
In the picture to the right, you see two lobsters in one of those holes. They do look a bit muddy, but they are alive and well. Some had lost their rubber bands, and were downright nasty! Lobsters also were hunted down under rocks and in the edges of the dammed cove. Some would be missed and traps will be set to catch them later. We all walked up and down the cove picking up lobsters. I used my bare hands since the water was not too cold. Others used rubber gloves or rakes to capture the rather sedentary animals. Some lobsters had remained sedentary for so long that seaweeds had grown on their backs! What fun it was! I had such a ball, that it was like having my team win the NCAA's! I have been waiting to experience this activity for years. Usually I am out of town, but this was my year!
This picture shows some of the gang busy at lobster capturing. That's Nick to the left with the high boots, Roger in the middle reaching into the blue bucket while placing his lobsters into the cage, and Dick on the far side contemplating a lobster hole. Donny and Chris joined in, to help beat the returning tide. Look at the beauty Chris found! Surprisingly, it wasn't as muddy as I expected. I had low boots, and managed quite well. It was a beautiful warm day, and before long, we were shedding our coats!
Chris was also active picking up Quahogs since he is starting to keep and raise these clams as well as scallops with help from the Darling Marine Laboratory. Oysters may also get his attention in the lobster cove waters.
Everyone seemed to agree that the lobsters did very well this winter. You may remember that last year the pound was not stocked. It is a risky endeavor, and there are losses, but remember we are talking about thousands of lobsters.
Some of you have gone on animal hunts with me at low tide. We carefully lift rocks and seaweeds in our searches for sealife. It was the same in the lobster pound. Here is one peaking out from under a rock where he had dug in. You will notice he still has his rubber band in place. These may be hard to extract without hurting the animal, but we had a few muscular hunters to carefully lift the rocks.
Nick noticed that I had been helping most of the morning and paid me off with a lobster which I willingly accepted for dinner. Here it is......maybe some mud is still on the animal, but I enjoyed the meal! No doubt these Small Point lobsters will end up on someone's dinner plate -let's see, in Georgia as they celebrate the winning of the Final Four?! (I'm not sure if lobsters mix with basketball, but who knows?).
So there you have the drainage of the Lobster Pound. I hope someday you have a chance to see this. Bring your boots! Meanwhile, spring is making an appearance in Maine and that will come next. Stay tuned!
3/25/07 Muddy and funny with lobsters, Ronnie