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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.