Saturday, September 2, 2017

Three Million Lobster Pots

That's approximately how many lobster pots are in Maine and we feel like we have dodged at least half of those in the two months we've been here. They're literally EVERYWHERE!

From the narrowest guts to the widest sounds, and everywhere in between, there are lobster pots. In harbors, in deep water, in shallow water, close to shore, or miles from land, there are lobster pots. They're even on shore hanging from trees, houses, and fences as decorations.
We've heard Maine is beautiful, but we rarely enjoy the scenery because every sail goes sort of like this:
"Steer between those two red buoys while I raise the main". "You got those two orange ones on your side?" "Yep." "How 'bout that green one." "Does it have a toggle?" "Yes, go right a little." "See those three pink ones? You have searoom on this side of you need to turn." "Crap, these all have toggles and they're perpendicular to our route." "Quick! Turn downwind!" "Okay, we're clear." "There seems to be a clear spot just to the right of those yellow ones." "Okay, I got it." "Quick, turn left. There's a submerged toggle!" And finally, "Drop the anchor right next to that green buoy."
We're no experts, but here's what we've learned:
Single buoys have only one float coming up from the trap. The buoy stands up straight and is usually easy to see and avoid. Like the one on the left below.
Traps with toggles are more difficult to avoid because for some reason know only to God and the lobsterman, they have two floats. One, often white and small, comes up from the trap, and the second more colorful buoy floats downwind ten to twenty feet away. It's usually laying on its side making it more difficult to see. The connecting line floats about three feet below the surface, the perfect distance to get caught on your rudder or prop.
Sometimes when we're not sure, we just put it in neutral and hope for the best. And so far, so good.

As much as I curse the lobster pots, Maine just wouldn't be Maine without lobsters, lobster pots, and lobster boats. It's a $300,000,000 industry and it not only brings revenue to the area, but it also adds color and character to the state and helps draw visitors. And the lobster industry is so pictureseque which draws artists from all over the world. See what I mean?
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