Saturday, February 21, 2009


February 21, 2009

“You like this wind?” Alex asked me as we fastened the boat trailer to my truck. “I guess we’ll see what it’s like on the other side when we get there,” I added. Although the west wind didn’t rough up the waters along Snug Harbor, we knew that the growout area, across the bay, would be a different story. But we had RTGs to get back on the bottom and a shitload of oysters to harvest for next week.

The wind did turn out to be a little brisk on the other side, but the dropping tide reduced the effect and we happily worked while passing stories back and forth. One of Alex's tales made me double over and stop breathing. Our system was predetermined: I hauled them up and Alex worked on culling - he had forgotten his skins (the bib outerwear) so he took the boring job today in order to stay dry (it may have been my turn anyway). But it was sunny and somewhat mild and moods improved as we worked. The stories included events from last night – Brooke and I hosted a long-lasting party and he attended one somewhere else with bizarre events taking place at both venues. So we compared notes, then our banter moved around in random direction. And at some point along the way a wave came up and knocked over a full crate of culled oysters - half of them back into the water. “Fuck!” yelled the now bearded Alex, several times. Then he kicked something. Then I yelled "Fuck!" a few times to make him feel better but he was still pretty angry. So I did a parody of Alex yelling all kinds of nasty curse words and then made some attempt at comforting the guy, not sure if I was making matters worse or better, as I intended. It may have worked because then I couldn't stop yelping curse words into the wind and eventually I noticed the smile return to my fellow oysterman's face (he had determined that my mind was lost). We did okay out there, despite the bumpiness, and completed perhaps half of our week's time on the water in a few hours.

Fish? One winter flounder visited us: 6” and shocked to see us. It was returned unharmed to the bay. A few small horseshoe crabs, one green crab (not looking good), and that is about it for wild life. There are still plenty of geese and ducks on the bay. In a couple/few weeks I expect to see a gannet or two, and then we’ll know that the winter is getting ready to leave for good.

Back at Matt. Court we ran into Jon Nash who quickly filled his bucket with our oysters and dashed off as promptly as he arrived. Also along the shore were Dicky Beers and Jake Emerson. The wind diminished as the last crate was offloaded and the boat was pulled out of the water. And it turned out to be a nice day. The sun was now getting low and the reds and blues were becoming sharper along the bay. The bottle of beer that Alex provided me from his truck went down well in my driveway as I unloaded my share of the catch. I paused, looked around at the colors of the marsh and the treetops and could feel the season changing. I am sure that we’ll have at least one more dump of snow this winter, but the days are now noticeably longer and the sun higher. Milder weather is here and probably to stay.

I can’t wait to go out for the first fish of the year. Does anyone out there remember the Gunster?

Monday, February 16, 2009

Uncle CJ

A funny thing happened to me early this morning on the way to the shop. See below:

Frame 1: What are we laughing at?

Frame 2: It might have something to do with CJ.

Frame 3: Yes, indeed, it does have something to do with CJ.


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Late Tides

I am upset that I really didn't (couldn't) take advantage of this month's good tides. I was busy on some desk work. But I got a walk or two. The spring tides (or also called moon tides) are special. They drain the bay, they flood the bay, they allow you to explore places never seen before. They allow some of us to access shellfish that are usually under water. They create a landscape that is kind of freaky. And this only lasts an hour or so.

Watching the bay drain out is one of life's best experiences.

Atypical moring

An early bag delivery can be fun. Seeing Cory, CJ, and random guys around the shop only confirms that this is the right thing to be doing, at the right time. A nice reward.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Nutz

The following link will take you to Jeff Smith's videos from last summer. The 2008 summary movie is quite nice: tuna action and some interesting striper releases. Check it out and get hot and bothered.

(I recommend blowing up the video to full screen - button on right of status bar - and if you have trouble with skips in the stream then just take the HD HD)

George and Caitlin

February 7, 2009

Today I was visited by my brother-in-law's nephew George and his girlfriend/other/? Caitlin. They came down from UNH to check out the oyster farm because their background is aquaculture and marine biology. I am twice their age and remember when George was born and it was great to have him pay a visit and see how things work on Duxbury Bay (in the winter). We went out to Goose Flat and dragged up about ten bushels of oysters in an arctic scene: ice was everywhere and it actually limited us a bit. But it was fun and I believe they enjoyed themselves. The temperature was tolerable. We also stopped by the nursery area and discovered leaks in our waders and the true temperature of the water. Not as fun as I envisioned. Anyway, here are a few shots from the day.

More Scenes from the Waterfront

February 4, 2009

Pete C. coming in for the day.

Anyone home?

Gregg is about to put a shovel to work, with a smile.

Gregg and John just getting in.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

On the Way to Saquish

Yesterday looked like this at Matt. Ct.:

That's right, it was blissful, mild, and calm. I spent yesterday at my desk working on some reports and missed the nice break in the weather. But I managed to get down to Matt. Ct. to find Gregg Morris, Scotty Doyle, and Don Merry pull out there boats (and product) in front of the storm we had today. It was really nice....

....compared to today:

But today was also great. After spending most of the day working on reports and data analysis I took off for Duxbury Beach. I head out there often throughout the off-season because that is when you can actually walk and think and see cool things without a soul around. I did see one soul: Billy Bennett. And we joked around as usual about the weather and the bay. Man, I see him every time I head out there. So the walk was cold, windy, and eye-blinding. But I managed to snap a few shots off my new Olympus.