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Day 194 – Monday, April 16th, 2012

“The Setting Of The Traps”

It’s pitch black at 4:45 am.  “Pitch” as in tar black.  What moon there is is obscured  by a dampening rain, light and cool and coming down only slightly angle-ish.  I dragged myself from bed, suited up, and made my way across the catwalk, a small AAA-powered headlamp strapped over my hat.  The 14’ aluminum StarCraft Hardy Boys boat started easily and I headed towards what was clearly an already active harbor.  I was going out to set traps.

Josh Cates, Skipper of the F/V Avery Grace, was allowing me to accompany him and his Sternman, Corey Griffin, on their final setting trip.


I was supposed to meet them at the wharf at five.  About a third of the way in, as I’m hugging the north coast salmon pens a boat heads out of the harbor, search-lights blazing, forward and aft, port and starboard.  I bob my head up and down, alternatively turning left and right in hopes they will see my tiny headlamp, and at least slow enough to reduce their wake.  I also hope that it’s not Josh, but his brother Jeremy, Captain of the F/V Charlene Gail.  They both are generally the first out.

As we pass, me in my little skiff, with my little light, and them in what seems to be a mighty craft and torch, they do slow.  And they begin to turn around.  It’s Josh.


Meeting back at the wharf I want to make it clear I am not late…he left early.  Everyone here knows everything, and I don’t want to be known for not showing up, or showing up late.

It is a spectacular day, and fascinating, and I’m grateful for the experience.  Dawn slowly takes hold of this world, breathing beams of light and warmth.  The boat pitches and rolls as we head to the predetermined point where we will drop the first trawl, each trawl having twelve traps, an anchor on either end, followed by a balloon and then a buoy.

I baited most of the traps before we dropped them and I have to say, even as a seasoned sailor, the combination of a rolling ship and stinky bait takes a bit of getting used to.  I did not “shout at the fishes”.




I am in awe of the men, and women, that fish lobsters.  It is a challenging, and dangerous job.  And it’s not just a job, but an art and craft that takes a tremendously wide range of knowledge, skill, intellect, and muscle.

Just to get a lobster on your table.


The price is paltry.


We laid ten trawls of twelve traps each, and reset one that they had done previously.  I am so grateful for the experience.





On other notes, Norb showed me where a local spring is, where I can get water.  That’s amazingly cool.  Really?  I can just get water, really great water, out of the ground…for free.   What a concept.


Time and tide race on.

Lady Fog retains her grip on this island and I like her here.

Despite ongoing challenges with my MacBook this post is finally up.

Thanks for reading, sharing, Liking and supporting.  The Light is on, the foghorn sounds.  Good Enuf.


15 Responses to “Day 194 – Monday, April 16th, 2012”

  1. elayne kitchen says:

    I truly never eat a lobster any more without saying a little silent , grateful prayer for all those who have made this delicious treat available to me. I still sit at tables with someone saying
    “I wonder who first decided to eat such a strange looking creature “. I myself don’t much care but I am thankful that they did. So happy your life is being enriched with all these new events and especially for the friendships that each day brings. I thank you for sharing it all with me…….what a gift! lymb

  2. Joan says:

    Thanks for the sea pics. I needed a fix. Glad you got to go out setting traps. Great sport. I’ve gotten to do this a couple of times. I really enjoyed every minute of it. Yes, it is hard work and dangerous. Hats off to these wonderful special people. Not an easy way of life.

  3. Bill,
    A little history on “lobstah”. It was first consumed by hungry settlers that found it difficult to get by. “Lobstah” was considered a food of last resort and in fact was only consumed by the “lower strata” of society. In the mid 1800′s prisoners at the state prison revolted because they were “forced” to eat “lobstah” twice a week deeming it cruel and unusual punishment. How things have changed!

  4. Carole says:

    Free water!!! I have to buy water because the drinking water in this part of Maine is down right nasty and vile to drink.

  5. Carole says:

    Bill – you are blessed to have such a good mother. In fact I look forward to read every word that Elayne Kitchen posts. I can see who helped you develop your writing style. Elayne posts are a gift to me, thank you.

    Yesterday I went, drove to one of great beaches we have her in Biddeford Maine for a long walk. Yes, this part of the coast has lobster boats as well as most of the coast of Maine. Any type of commercial fishing is not an easy way to make a living. I have watched lobster traps being pulled and reset in the part of Biddeford we locals call the Pool. (WOW I am no longer thinking of my self as a transplant from CT) Maine grows on some of us and gets into our being, bodies and souls just like ocean waves and air does.

    • Bill Kitchen says:

      yes, i am blessed to have a great mom, and dad too. so glad you enjoy reading, and thanks again for the wonderful precious care package!

  6. Arthur says:

    Eat’in lobst’ah twice a week. Hmmm. I used to lobst’ah years ago, back when them shedd’ahs was 26 cents and hard shell 35 cents. Always had a big jar of meat in the fridge. We ust’ah eat lots of ‘em, those ones just a mite too small to sell.

    Per food historian Sandy Oliver —
    The lobster and salmon story is one of the most frequently told about New England seafood. It generally goes like this: Salmon and lobster “used to be so abundant that, it is said, ” pick one—the apprentices, servants, boarders, lumbermen, occupants, prisoners, and slaves of-pick another—Newcastle, England, Boston or Lowell, Massachusetts, Puget Sound, Bristol, Rhode Island, Islesboro, Maine, the Maine State Prison, Maine lumber camps or the South — refused to eat either lobsters or salmon, more than twice a week. Recent versions of the story usually feature lobster, but the vast majority of accounts prefer salmon.

    All the stories have in common some group of people who have no control over their food choices, people who have to eat what is served them. The stories all explain that these sufferers had a meeting to form a complaint presented to an official in charge.

    The stories appeared when salmon or lobster were becoming historically scarce, when the author wants to recall a distant, more abundant past. Twice a week was for many in early England or the colonies, the number of fast days a week on which one customarily ate fish. As Protestantism neglected religious fasts marked by fish consumption, the idea of having to eat fish more than one’s religion formerly required sounded like an imposition on people who always preferred meat to fish.

  7. Carole says:

    Yes, Arthur we love to read and have enlightened us with both your vast knowledge on many topics and of course your many fish tales.

  8. David Corbett says:

    Great add on to the “Lobstah” tale! (Pun intended) As Paul Harvey always used to say”now you know……… the rest of the story” Thanks for your wealth of knowlege.

  9. Seamond says:

    There is no smell to quite equal that of lobster bait. I can recognize it instantly for sure. Actually when Uncle Tom would visit us after having taken a bath, to me he just didn’t smell like the Uncle Tom I knew (minus the bait smell). As I said to begin with, my friend, your life forever more after this endeavor will be changed.

    • Bill Kitchen says:

      no, no doubt about the smell. and yes, forever changed. thanks seamond. love your letters, packages, comments and stories. you’ve become a special friend too.


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