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Day 223 – May 15, 2012

“Fishin’ and Huntin’”

Waking yesterday to a cup of French Press Sumatra and a lemon scone, I did my requisite first scan of the ocean and noticed a well-defined and ominously thick fog bank hanging heavily over Canada’s Grand Manan Island.  Grand Manan rests in the midwestern end of the Bay of Fundy, a body of water between the provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, and home to some of the strongest tides in the world.  She lies about ten miles across the water from this front yard and on a clear day, I can see her towering 300 foot cliffs.  Today was not such a day.

With a population of only 2,500 Grand Manan is surprisingly large, measuring 53 square miles.  It’s a wonderful destination for whale watching, bird watching, hiking, and of course, Lighthouse visiting.  You can learn more about their Lighthouses by checking out the archives at Lighthouse Digest Magazine here…

By 9am I was decidedly engulfed by nothingness, and the chatter on the VHF told me the fishermen were none too happy about it either.  Not usually a big deal but when coupled with the fact that they’re not catching much yet, it is wearisome, and costly.  A number of them have told me that they don’t remember the last year that the lobsters have been so late.  Especially after a mild winter.  It literally is a marching migration of millions, over and along the bottom, for miles.  The parade still hasn’t arrived.

Here’s a snap of the harbor, with the “F/V Kadie & Kari”…






I did some work on the wharf in the afternoon and shot some cool snaps of action.  This is bait tubs – red fish and herring.  Red fish costs twice as much as herring, currently running about $40 a bushel compared to $20.  Between fuel, bait and salt prices, all at or close to record, and an already low dock price for your catch, these guys are still losing money on every trip.




I love this captured moment of Norb Lemieux heading out to his F/V Christina Marie






The fiddleheads are out forming little forests of fancy, as are the budding maple saplings.  Spring is slowly taking hold of this island.  And I took the Christmas lights down today, from the Tower, Keeper’s House and porch railing.  And while I for one favor the rule that they don’t have to come down ‘til Memorial Day, not everyone agrees.









Now for an update on the sneaky squirrel saga… I’m hunting.  With a Havahart trap, I hope craftily baited with peanut butter and granola, and positioned in the upstairs hallway, as I know it’s running between rooms.  As much as I try however, I have only seen him once, although hear him day and night.  At least I’m hoping it’s a him and not a her, nesting somewhere I have yet to discover, with babies on the way.

I want to again thank Adam Meyer and Brad Cates for helping me get the first pellet stove off the island, and Kathleen Finnegan for returning it to EBS.  And also a special thanks to Brent and EBS for their patience.

Finally, while on the dock I noticed a very strange, slightly translucent creature about six inches long, and skinny as a pencil slithering snake-like below the surface.  You have to look closely, and double click it to enlarge.  If anyone can identify this I’d love to know.





That’s all for now.  Thanks for stopping by.  The Horn is sounding and the Light is on.  Good Enuf.


9 Responses to “Day 223 – May 15, 2012”

  1. Mary-Adair Macaire says:

    2 questions Bill:
    1- Where are the lobsters migrating from? If the parade has yet to arrive, where might they be?
    2- How bad is the fishing industry there? You mentioned fisherman losing money against expenses … How is the community dealing with that? Do most fisherman there have other jobs too? Or, is this just a “bad season” – meaning that people assume the next one will be better. I’m interested because I’ve gotten to know some of the fishermen here – who are working with a local marine biologist on renewing the local shellfish population. Nantucket has the oldest, most continuous scalloping business in the NE.

  2. Carole says:

    I am no expert on fishing or lobstering however I live on the coast of Maine south of Portland. This part of the state is and has experienced an early soft shell lobster season. Soft shell lobster do not ship nearly as well has hard shell lobsters.

    The part of the Maine coast line I live in is much different than what you find Downeast up in Cutler. However we Mainers need to remember that we are all Mainers.

    One thing to understand is that at least down here in this part of the coast we have a large amount of tourists. Portland gets many folks who visit for just a few days. Portland tourists come from all over the United States as well as many other countries. Portland is a place people want to visit because it is on Casco Bay – you can get around it in part by walking and over looking the ocean. As you go south of Portland you have many, many summer homes. Old Orchard Beach get many, many people from Canada who come to eat, drink, have fun and lay on beach. Wells, and the towns south of it get many folks from other parts of New England who vacation for a week more or less. Most of the tourists I have talked want to buy and eat lobster rolls, steamed lobsters. These fine people come to Maine and want to eat lobster and they really do not care how much it costs. So the lobster people around here get the highest prices in the summer.

    One thing I just found out is that lobster meat comes in different grades. I never thought of this – to me a lobster was a lobster. I have a local place that I get all of my lobster sandwiches from – clear meat of course. The price is the same year round.

    The bottom line is the business of fishing is hard work and it is an expensive business to be in. I am sure that other people could post with more knowledgeable answers to your questions than I did.

    • Bill Kitchen says:

      thanks carole. always love your additions and insight.
      good luck on your event the 20th, if you’re still doing it.

  3. Arthur says:

    The lobster people who get the highest prices in the summer are not the lobstermen but the retailers selling to the tourists.

  4. Arthur says:

    The List of Lights for CG District 1 (Maine to NJ) lists eleven lights having a continuously operating sound signal. Nine are seacoast lights and only two are harbor lights — Little River and Deer Island Thorofare. The sound signals at the many other lights in the district are activated by fog detectors except for Whaleback that is activated by marine radio signal as needed by boats passing this light.

    I wonder how overnight guest react to the Little River sound signal continuously emitting a 1 second blast every 10 seconds.

    • Bill Kitchen says:

      thanks for the info arthur.
      as for the horn, only a few have a big issue with it. most like it. it does disappear after a bit. as for me, i love it. i don’t think about it much except for two reasons – one, my mind plays a trick on me and i think it stopped. it hasn’t. two, i am reminded just how blessed i am to have gotten 10 more seconds on this island.

  5. Carole says:

    Just in case anyone wants to know. In today’s, Thursday May 17TH the Portland Press Herald has done a story with pictures and a video of some of what is going with lobstering so far this season.


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