At the south-west tip of the island is Bass Harbor, a well protected inlet where the island's fishermen keep many of their boats moored. On the west side of the harbor is the small fishing community of Bernard, the home of Thurston's Lobster Pound. We visited Thurston's for lunch one day while touring the area and had some BLT sandwiches. That's bacon, lobster and tomato (oh yeah, and a little leaf of lettuce). It's kind of like a lobster roll with a couple of slices of regular bread instead of the roll. The bread is pan toasted then onto it goes 3 pieces of thick sliced bacon followed by a healthy serving of lobster salad (at least as much as
|Thurston's Lobster Pound|
|Typical fishing village|
|Bass Harbor Light|
In the meantime lobster, which was traditionally relegated to feeding the poor and prison inmates, had become a luxury item on city menus and Maine fishermen switched gears. The lobster fishery, along with clams and mussels, is now essentially the only one left in Maine.
|Remnant of an island village|
|Pleasure boaters among the islands|
|Harbor seals sunning on the rocks|
|Bald eagle flies overhead|
|Lobster in the trap|
|Measuring the catch|
So in the trap we pulled there were 9 lobster of which 4 were legal and the rest went back into the water. What happens to them? Well, in the area we were in there are lobster traps about every 40 or 50 feet in all direction for miles. So the critters that are thrown back almost immediately find their way into another trap where they relax, party a little and eat the tons of herring bait placed in the traps, well protected from all of their major predators until the next time they get yanked out of the water. Maine fishermen are only sort of in the business of catching lobster. They are mostly in the business of feeding them.
The result of all of this is that despite record harvests over the last decade, there are now more lobster in the Gulf of Maine than there have ever been. 126,000,000 lbs. of lobster were landed in 2012, up 25% from 3 years before and 700% compared to the 1990s. Unfortunately for the lobstermen, they have become victims of their own success. At the peak of the season last year the price paid to the fisherman for lobster at the dock dropped from $4.00 per lb. to $1.35. They are working harder to bring in more product and taking home less money for it. Obviously some adjustments need to be made.
In the meantime, we continue to do what we can to help relieve the lobster glut. At the motorhome park where we are currently staying, the owner keeps a refrigerated tank stocked with live lobster and for a very reasonable price he will boil them up and deliver them to your rig. Vicki and I each had a 1.5 lb. crustacean for dinner. Life is good.
Last winter we spent three months working on the Navajo reservation in Arizona. After a few months to sort through her feelings about it, Vicki has written up her impressions of the experience which we will be including in segments over the next few posts
Working in Chinle
By Vicki Rains
|For three months this was home sweet home|
water and electricity and finishing the grading. They pointed out where we should go but the dump receptacle would have been right under the rig. When we first arrive
|Hookup were full, if a little spread out|
So what was home for 3 months? A gravel covered lot with no attempt to make it habitable. There were no plants, no decent view, etc. We never put out our rug or chairs because the area was so ugly. The only time we went outside was when we needed to leave or when I needed to take the dogs for a walk.
|Tribal residential area|
There is no barber or beauty salon in Chinle, a town of about 5000 people. Where did we get our hair cut? I got my hair cut when I went back to California and let it grow otherwise. For Roger we had to drive 90 miles to Gallop, NM, the closest barber and closest city.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, we were fortunate that we never got truly cold weather. We had one slight sprinkling of an inch of snow that didn’t last and one significant rainstorm. There was a fair amount of rain with the rainstorm and its consequence was to cause a sink hole about a foot deep and 5 feet in diameter where they had put in our water line. Now we had a lake front property!
|The building behind us is the residential drug and alcohol treatment center. Just beyond that is the youth correctional facility.|