Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Out Lobsterin' #1

We venture out on a lobster boat, in Boothbay Harbor, Maine, to celebrate a little boy's eighth birthday! It is early August, an overcast day, but the air is warm(ish!)

Sea Swallow

I've observed countless lobster boats over the years, just like the Sea Swallow. I love the familiar and practical shape designed solely for the business of hauling in traps and setting the line, over and over again. Sometimes the boats are tied up at a wharf, offloading their catch to a restaurant with long wooden tables and hungry tourists nearby. I see them out on the water every day. I often hear the diesel engine first, followed by the cries of seagulls attracted to the bait on board. The work of hauling traps is rhythmic, almost graceful. I can only imagine this job on a squally raw day in open ocean. After all these years, this is my first trip out on a lobster boat.

Report all Injuries

Lobsterman'a gear hangs neatly on a hook near a warning to "Report all injuries."


At last our captain and sternman arrive. After a brief "hello" the two vigorously hose down the boat and most of the equipment. A large crate of frozen and fresh bait are put on board. It smells authentic. Sleepy children watch with the dawning realization that this will not be the usual boat excursion.

Cage, the sternman on the Sea Swallow

Fresh Bait!
Fresh herring for bait

...and we are off!

...and we are off with strongly worded instructions, from Captain Clive, on where we are allowed to stand and a dire description of what might happen if we get caught up in the trap line coiled near our feet. Everyone cooperates, we are model passengers after that!

Haulin' Traps

The first trap is hauled on board the Sea Swallow.

More posts soon!


  1. Hello Carol:
    What a wonderful experience both for you and your son. This brings back so many childhood memories of 'going out' with the fishermen into Swanage Bay, off the Dorset coast, and beyond, to place and retrieve the lobster baskets way back in the 1950s. Then, of course, the boat was not nearly so streamlined as the 'Sea Swallow'.

  2. Hello Jane and Lance! I love your nostalgic description of lobster fishing in the 1950s. I agree, equipment has changed a lot. Gone are the beautiful old wooden traps, made into ubiquitous coffee tables for Maine cottages and beyond which I used to think were so tacky, but now miss. Fiberglass rules as low maintenance and the industry is choked with ever increasing regulations. Even the fishermen are being driven back from the shore with sky rocketing real estate prices.


Older posts you might enjoy....