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Sunday, December 31, 2006

Thanks, everyone for reading and commenting on my blog. I'll talk to you all next year.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Muskeget Seal Cruise

I went with Captain Blair Perkins aboard his boat, Shearwater, on a seal cruise over to the island of Muskeget this afternoon. Thanks, Blair! I have never been on a seal cruise and had no idea what to expect. We left the Town Pier and within a half an hour or so, we arrived at Muskeget. Blair expertly maneuvered the boat up to the seals without ever disturbing them. We were able to get as close as 5 or 6 feet from the beach and the 700 or so seals which were hauled up on the sand. The seals were completely at ease with us. This is the time of the year when the seals give birth. There were several pups alongside their mothers. The picture I took above shows a pup and it's mother.(click on the pic. for a better view). The pup was born sometime this morning. If you look closely at the picture, it looks as if there is blood on the tail of the mother as a result of the birth. We stayed for quite a while watching the seals on the beach and playing around in the water around the boat. One of the seals looked as if she was going to give birth at any moment but we couldn't stay any longer to see if she would.

here's a picture I took of the seal colony on Muskeget

Thanks for having me, Blair. It was a fascinating experience for me. It was a part of nature and Nantucket that I have never experienced all the years I've lived here.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Nantucket's Youngest Bay Scalloper

I was able to grab a picture of the youngest commercial bay scalloper today. He's only 18 years old. I remember when I was just starting out bay scalloping, I didn't have the luxury of power hoist. I hand-hauled all my dredges. Back then, (late 70's and early 80's) I was only getting $4.50 per pound for my scallops. Today the fishermen are getting $17 per pound. Kids these days have it waaaaaay to easy. ;^)

It's true, the price paid to the fishermen for bay scallops is $17 now. I have never seen it that high.
The price the sea scallopers are getting is $11 for 10 counts. (ten scallops to the pound).

The Ruthie B is still out sea scalloping. I imagine it was quite sloppy where they were fishing today. They are going two handed, Blount and a deck hand. The mate has moved to Costa Rica for the Winter.

The usual suspects were out scalloping today. It wasn't too comfortable out on the water with the strong north wind and temps in the thirties. $17 a pound gives the guys a little incentive to go out and fish all day long for two or three bushels.

I thought work was supposed to start already on the new Children's Beach boat ramp but I have not seen any activity down there yet. I'll check into it.

Dead whale update: I went looking for it this morning but could not locate it. I noticed a vehicle here from the New England Aquarium.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Scalloping On A Cold And Windy Harbor

I shot the above video clip from my boat two years ago.

Dead whale update: I was finally able to see the dead whale up close this morning. It was between Hoicks Hollow and Sesachacha Pond. I was going to take a little video clip and post it here but it was about twenty feet out in the water and not much of it was visible. One of our local television stations has a nice video program of the whale taken on Wednesday.

Seven or eight guys went scalloping today. Some of these guys go every day and are having a pretty good year. With the price at $17 per pound now, two or three bushels is a good days pay. There really is no hot spot out there. They are spread out all over the harbor between Hussey Shoal and the flat off of the east side of Pocomo. Third Bend seems to be producing the highest amount of scallops this season.

The Ruthie B is leaving late tonite for a sea scalloping trip. I hope they are up to date with all their gear work. I'd hate to see them lose another dredge.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

I've been really out of the loop the past two days. The whale I spotted floating around off 'Sconset Christmas day had beached sometime yesterday. I did not learn of this until late this afternoon. The whale was seen in the surf between Codfish Park and the Loran Station. It appears to be a Humpback Whale from talking to the people who went to see it yesterday. I wonder if someone will do an autopsy on it. I'm curious to learn how it died.

Five guys went out scalloping today. The picnic is over for them as the weather has turned a little more seasonable but still way above normal. Did anyone catch the rainbow this afternoon at 3 towards the east end of the Island?

The Ruthie B is still tied to the dock waiting for a good weather window. Looks like we won't have nice weather for a while.

AGM Marine was busy today working on the pilings for the house on Old North Wharf.

Work on the GHYC is slowly progressing. They are working on both sides of the street now.

I almost ran over the Straight Wharf Pigeon this morning with my truck. He is so big now that he has trouble getting out of the way. I wonder if he's able to fly?

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Every Scallopers Nightmare

There was a bit of drama down at the waterfront early this morning. A boat a diver had been using for scalloping all season sank on her mooring at some point during last nights wind and rain storm. The boat was recently re-powered with a brand new 150 horsepower four stroke motor. Upon hearing of the scallopers dilemma, several fellow scallopers gave up a few hours of their morning and pitched in to help salvage the boat. They were able to pull it up to the beach with a long rope and a pick-up truck. Once on the beach, the owner was able to bail her out and put her on a trailer. When a boat sinks, it is not as bad as you think. If the owner gets the waterlogged engine to a good mechanic as soon as possible after recovery from the water, the motor will be running within a few hours. I know a scalloper who went down to his boat one morning to find it upside down underwater. He hauled her out, flushed the motor and got it running again in time to fish that day and get his five bushel limit of scallops.

I have not heard any news about the whale carcass I saw off 'Sconset yesterday. I went to Surfside late this afternoon and did not see anything. I would think with all this south wind it would've washed up someplace by now.

The usual four or five suspects went out scalloping today. The fog was very thick out there for most of the day. Most guys have GPS chart plotters installed on their scallop boats now. This was never heard of five years ago. It's nice to know exactly where you are on the harbor on days like today. I remember years ago before I had a chart plotter on my boat, I would fish an area in the fog using a buoy and a compass. The idea was to use the buoy as a starting point and a range. You would tow away from the buoy into the fog on a certain compass heading and after a certain amount of time, you would turn around and head back to the buoy in the opposite direction from which you had started. If you did everything right, you would end up right back at the buoy. Well, It sounds easy enough but I usually could never find my buoy after the first tow. When the fog would finally lift, I was quite a ways from my buoy.

I have never seen it this warm during this time of the year here on Nantucket. It almost made it to 60 degrees today!

Someone told me yesterday that the price the scallopers are getting went up to $17 per pound. I have not substantiated this rumor yet. I'll check into it.

Monday, December 25, 2006

New Guys On The Harbor

Here's a picture I grabbed of the new boat and her crew that I spotted last week out scalloping. It didn't take me long to get the scoop on the boat and the crew. The two guys are working hard, staying out all day long. They are doing pretty well even though it's not such a great year.

I went out scalloping today and was all alone for the most part. There was one other boat about a mile away from me. It was nice to fish alone for once. Was able to get a last min. Christmas present for a family member in the form of 3 pounds of fresh scallops. While I was dredging away, I noticed a fair amount of Buffleheads. These are small black and white ducks. I also spotted a few Mergansers and Brant. I did not see one Eider Duck, though. I wonder where they all went the past few years. The Brant are interesting ducks. When they see a boat scalloping, they fly over to it and land downwind. As the scallop dredges stir up the eelgrass, it comes to the surface. The Brant feed on the eelgrass. There was a flock of Brant around my boat today getting a free meal. They make a weird croaking noise when they are feeding. Always something going on out there!

Took a ride out to 'Sconset late this afternoon to attend to a few house caretaking duties. I spotted what appeared to be a whale carcass floating in the water about one and a half miles from the beach. As I trained my field glasses on it, I could see gulls landing on it. They looked to be feeding on it. At first I thought it may be a weather balloon which had gone astray and landed in the water but it looked more like a whale. It was grey and black in color. And I don't think that gulls would be feeding on a weather balloon. The object was slowly drifting south towards the Tom Nevers area. I wonder if this will eventually wash up on one of our beaches or continue to drift around out there. I'll look around for it after work tomorrow. Stay tuned.

Friday, December 22, 2006


A fellow dock prowler and I are baffled at the history of the boat in today's picture. As I was making my waterfront rounds on December 15, I spotted a boat on a trailer at Children's Beach. I have never seen her here before neither has my prowler friend. I did a bit of research on the hull type and found out that she's a 26' Stanley Pulse Craft aluminum boat. Take a look at their website
Her name is Lophius which is part of the scientific name for the Anglerfish. The full scientific name is Lophius Piscatorius. I have no idea why this boat was here and I have never seen her since. If anyone has any information on this boat, please leave a comment in the comment section.

Straight Wharf Pigeon Update: I saw him down there today waddling around getting a free meal. He has gotten a lot heavier since I saw him a few weeks ago. I need to find some fat free food for him as does everyone else who feeds him. (or is it a her? I dunno).

A good amount of bay scallop boats were out. 15 in Town and 4 in Madaket. I know one guy made the journey all the way from Town to Madaket in his boat early this morning. I'm thinking he did not find anything out there because I saw him steaming along the north shore headed back to Town at around 10:30 am. He was still out at 4:00 this afternoon. Thats a long way to go in search of scallops. And an expensive boat ride seeing that the price of fuel is over three dollars a gallon now. I was speaking to a scalloper at noontime today and he showed me 3 sea urchins he had caught in his dredges today. I've only caught one sea urchin in all the years I've been scalloping. To catch 3 in one day is rare. He also caught two really nice old bottles. I wonder how many years those bottles were on the harbor floor.

The Ruthie B is currently sea scalloping. She left sometime yesterday as there was a good weather window. You need to keep a good eye on the weather and pick your days to fish this time of the year. They are steaming 8 hours to reach the grounds. You don't want to be down there when it's blowing hard. Although the captains of the big New Bedford boats would not give it a second thought. It's amazing the slop some of those guys will fish in.

I noticed Brant Point CG moved their fleet of boats into the Boat Basin today. That is always a good sign that a lot of S or SE wind is approaching us.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Head Of The Harbor Scallops

I took the above picture while scalloping at the Head Of The Harbor a couple of weeks ago. For a larger view, click on the picture and a new window will open up for a closer look. An area finally opened up there and I was able to get my five bushel limit in no time. The stock was of decent size but the weight was way off compared to previous years. When I fish up there I can always expect to get between nine and ten pounds to a bushel. This year I only got 6 pounds. Quite a difference. I hope this is not the case next year and the yields will return to normal.

Only a few guys went out scalloping today. I counted only four or five. I think the wind held a lot of them back. It was blowing pretty hard out of the west for most of the day. I know one boat pulled up to the dock at 3:30 this afternoon with four bushels. And that was with two people on the boat. That's a long day on a windy and rough harbor! But I guess if you love what you are doing, it doesn't really matter what time you get in or how many bushels of scallops you get.

While driving past Slosek's Farm on the Polpis Road today I noticed a huge flock of Canda Geese grazing on the grass in the field there. Around six or seven Snow Geese were among the Canada Geese. The geese may have been feeding on corn left over from the Summer as well as the grass.

AGM Marine was busy working in the Easy Street Basin today setting the pilings for the house which is on the road at North Wharf.

This past November, there was a very tame pigeon hanging around Straight Wharf particularly in the area of the Hy-Line office. The girls in the office there fed him on a daily basis. Whenever I was down there, I would feed him too. He would hop right up on a bench and sit with you. I noticed he was getting a little chubby as the month of November wore on. I haven't seen him for a long time. I wonder where he ended up.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

New SSA Fast Ferry

I got a call at work this morning from Jo Perkins telling me that the SSA's new fast ferry was coming here today. I had no idea the boat was coming today. Thanks for the heads up, Jo! I was at Brant Point when she came in and grabbed the above video clip of her. I must say, she doesn't look anything like a ferry. More like a luxury yacht. I will say that she looks much better than the Dead Cloud, though. I'd be interested to hear from anyone who was lucky enough to go onboard her today and have a look around. I'll wait until the public is invited for a look sometime in March.

I counted 15 boats bay scalloping today. That is a lot from previous counts. A lot of the guys came out of the woodwork today to get a few scallops for Christmas presents. It was a fine day for it, albeit a little chilly. I noticed an addition to the bay scallop fleet while I was making my rounds early this morning. Someone rigged up what appears to be a 19' Seaway boat with a Mariner outboard engine. Not sure who the captain of the boat is but I'll find out soon enough. I wish the guy luck. Scalloping is a tough racket to get into especially this year seeing that it's a lean year.

AGM Marine moved their barge from Polpis Harbor to Easy Street basin sometime yesterday.They finished rebuilding the wooden bulkhead between East and West Polpis Harbors. This project was way overdue. I have never seen the bulkhead in anything other than a horrible state of disrepair. It will be interesting to see the new one. Looks like they are going to drive the pilings for the house that was moved onto the roadway at Old North Wharf. A scalloper told me this afternoon that work on the Children's Beach boat ramp will begin shortly although I have not seen any activity down there as of late. I'm not sure who will be doing the work but my guess is that it'll be AGM Marine. The handful of scallopers who launch and haul their boats on a daily basis down there will be given free slips at Grey Lady Marine during the construction of the new boat ramp so I'm told.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Morning Commute 12/11/2006

I shot the above clip on 12/11/2006 when I was headed out to the scalloping grounds. It was taken with my digital camera. To post it here on my blog I had to compress the original file. That is why it is of rather poor quality. The original file is much sharper. Anyway, hopefully you'll get the picture (or video in this case) :^)

While making the rounds at the waterfront this morning, I noticed the Ruthie B was in. She left the day before yesterday presumably to go to New Bedford to pick up another scallop dredge to replace the one she lost. The western rigged dragger, "United States" was docked along side the Ruthie B. I'm thinking the United States is sea scalloping now because I see her here every other day or so. I haven't had a chance to go down and check out the Ruthie B or the United States to see what they are up to. Maybe tomorrow.

As for the bay scallopers, I counted 8 boats fishing in town and another 4 fishing Madaket. Two of those boats were up at Tuckernuck. It was a little breezy early in the morning with the wind out of the north but by early afternoon, the wind went almost to calm. I know one frogman that gets his 5 bushel limit of scallops every day. He goes to the same place every day. I have been thinking of learning how to dive for scallops. It seems like the best way to catch them nowadays.

I was talking to a charter boat captain down at the dock the other morning and he told me that he does not see as many sea ducks out on the harbor as in years past. I have noticed this as well. I remember back in the 80's and even in the 90's thousands and thousands of sea ducks while I was dredging the harbor for scallops. I saw mostly Eider ducks and Buffleheads with a few Brant thrown into the mix. Now I'm lucky if I see a few of these ducks here and there out on the harbor. I wonder where they all disappeared to?

Monday, December 18, 2006

GHYC Heavy Equipment

Today's picture was taken at Great Harbor Yacht Club. For a larger image of any picture I post here, just click onto it and a new window will open up with a larger picture. If any of you have been down around the GHYC area, you will no doubt notice all the activity there. Late last week several pieces of equipment were brought in. I noticed AGM Marine and Lawrence Lynch setting up shop on the other side of the street from where the old shipyard was located. I have never seen such huge machines used on Nantucket as they are using at GHYC. Lawrence Lynch has a big dump truck that you would see being used in a quarry. And AGM Marine has a crane with a very long boom. I don't know how they were able to move the crane across the road and make all the corners unless it comes apart in sections but it doesn't look like that is the case with this crane. I'm not sure what they are constructing there but the site is one big muddy mess. Come to think of it, how many construction sites have you seen that weren't a muddy mess?

Around 10 or 15 guys went out scalloping today. It was a nice day for it. A little rain in the afternoon but not much wind. I talked to one guy at noontime today and he told me that he spent the whole morning testing. He went all over the place eventually working his way outside. He went all the way down to Murray's cottage and said he only got 6 seed and not a single adult scallop! Not a good sign. I remember years ago spending a whole month outside getting my limit every day. We fished from the cut all the way down to fourth bend. It was an interesting place to fish. It was like a whole different world compared to inside. It was much cleaner and the grass was bright green and healthy. Everyone who fished out there caught not just tons of scallops in their dredges but other things as well. Anything from fishing lures to sunglasses to snorkels and masks. Too bad there wasn't scallops out there anymore. It would take a lot of pressure off of the inside. Hopefully in a few years it will come back and we'll have another huge set of scallops out there.

You have probably heard by now that the Ruthie B lost her sea scallop dredge late last week. I haven't heard how it was lost but they spent 7 hours with a grappling hook trying to recover it with no luck. I heard that a sea scallop dredge costs anywhere between 4 and 8 thousand dollars.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Scalloping At Dawn

Welcome to the maiden voyage of my blog, Nantucket Waterfront News. I have wanted to do this for a long time. I visit the waterfront on a daily basis, usually several times a day. Spending so much time down there, I see a lot of things going on and talk to a lot of people. I decided to keep a daily journal of the goings on around the waterfront and share it with you here. I also take several pictures with my digital camera on a daily basis. I have an extensive archive of waterfront pictures which I will post. I hope you will find my new blog interesting and a place where you can drop in and get all your waterfront news. Feel free to e-mail me with any thoughts or comments. Thanks.