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Friday, July 12, 2013


Yesterday, I woke Ella up just after six so she could go to work. 
 As of about a month ago, Ella has a student lobstering license in the state of Maine.  A Maine child is eligible at age 8 if they have someone to sponsor them.  That means she has 10 tags to put on lobster traps that she can fish.  Her grandfather set the traps for her in the reach just off from their house and yesterday was the first day she got to haul them. 

It was a VERY foggy morning.  We literally couldn't even see the Carver's house and we were mere feet from the shoreline.
Uncle Mark, Sandi's dad's brother, decided to come with us which made it all great fun.  I daresay Maya got some of her comedic tendencies from him.  He had us in stitches almost the whole time.  The kids don't exactly know what to do with his dry humor and they don't always know when he is joking.  Like when he pretends to get bitten by a lobster and cries out in pain, hopping wildly from one foot to the other and they just stare uncertainly at him.
Uncle Mark's truck in a would be William Wegman photo shoot:
The bridge from Jonesport to Beals Island in what the downeasters call a "fog mall" or a "fog mull"- I'm not entirely sure of the spelling but it means fog so thick that you can hardly see your hands in front of you. 
Each fisherman's buoy has its own distinct color pattern.  These are Dwight's beauties.

 Lobstering 101:
1. You "gaff" the buoy with this long hooked pole called a gaff.  (And all the nearby seaweed.)
 2. Place the rope in the hauler and let the hydraulics pull the trap up.
 3.  Get excited as you watch your trap surface.
 4.  Pull the trap up onto the side of the boat.   See if you can catch a glimpse of how many lobsters are in there!
 5.  Start counting your lobsters!  You have to measure to make sure that they are big enough to keep and you can't keep any of the reproducing females.  Throw away lots of cool stuff that found its way into your trap.

Check out this giant piece of kelp!
Make sure to throw back the baby lobsters so you can catch them again in a few years.

 6. Band the lobsters so they don't bite you or each other.

 7. Anxiously await hauling your next trap.

8. After you clean out your trap set a new pocket with bait before pushing the trap back into the ocean.  (Handling bait is a stinky job and Ella did a great job.)

Grampy showing Ella the difference between hard shell and soft shell (or shedder) lobster. 
Ella's first catch!
 9. Go back to the co-op and sell your lobster!  Ella made $41 for about 45 minutes worth of work. This is a major pay raise from the dollar at a time she makes at home for chores. That is, of course, because her grandfather absorbed all the expense.

There just aren't enough thank yous to express my humble appreciation for the family we have.  Words are grossly inadequate.  But since there is no room here for interpretive dance, suffice it to say: thank you Gram and Gramp for giving the girls the moon and your hearts. Thanks you, always, thank you.


Emilie said...


Anonymous said...

Wow! What I would have given as a kid to go lobstering AND have a student license. So special. -Chris

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