I thought I would be writing about Christmas trees and snowmen (made from white lobster traps, ahem!), but instead I had a different kind of holiday encounter! The shrimp season opened on the 19th, and I was lucky enough to witness a 55 ft. shrimp boat coming in to unload its catch. This is a winter activity for Maine fishermen. The shrimp are caught in nets, far out to sea. These shrimp were caught 17 miles out from shore! What beauties they are! I remember the first time I saw them, and I was astonished at their color. I'm told they are white when caught, but change to the bright reddish color when hauled on board. This time I was able to get up close and personal to view their bulging black eyes. We also bought a bag of them for $2 and steamed them for dinner. Quite a treat! The shrimp season extends for several months. Of course, the weather determines whether the boats go out or not. Remember the winds of last week? There would be no shrimping on those days, but a snow flurry wouldn't keep them in port.

These shrimp were brought in at Seahorse Wharf at Carrying Place within walking distance of my home in West Point. I always get the feeling that this is a real fisherman's haven. Families share the work, buying lobsters and crabs caught off shore. As I explored the world of shrimp, I had to maneuver around bins of Pollack heads waiting to be used as bait. I also stopped to check a bin of crabs, there for the buying. Of course, there were lobsters, most of which are trucked into the cities for sale or even shipped overseas. There are fewer lobster boats that go out in the winter, and those that do, have to set their traps in deeper waters where these delectable crustaceans move seasonally.

I don't know about you, but witnessing the activity on a year-round, busy wharf is an eye opener. The creatures of the sea are diverse and beautiful. Next time you eat a crab cake or dine on shrimp salad, remember where these came from. Even the Pollack heads are recycled to bring lobsters to your table. I know it is the holiday season, but I like to take time to absorb the marvels of nature right here in my own Maine backyard.
12/20/04 Shrimply delicious....Ronnie