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Saturday, January 20, 2007

Windy Waterfront

It was very windy around the waterfront today. I shot the above picture from Jetties Beach looking out over the west jetty. Notice all the seabirds feeding there. I spotted several species including Eider Ducks, Herring Gulls, Brant, Black Ducks and Sandpipers. The Gulls were picking at the sweet meats which had washed ashore. The Eiders were pulling mussels off of the rocks and the Brant were eating eel grass.

The M/V Eagle did not miss a trip all day today. I would not want to be on her on a day like today. The M/V Grey Lady made most of her trips with the exception of the late afternoon and evening runs. I don't think the wind ever topped 50 mph as was forecasted.

No new fishing boats came in last night or today. The guys were busy doing gear work today to the boats that are here now. Most likely they will be able to leave late Sunday night or early Monday morning when the winds lay down.

Other than that, not much going on around the waterfront today.

Here are a couple of pictures I took from Madaket late this afternoon. It looked like a mini sand storm with all the sand blowing around out there-

The ocean was in a fury at sunset-

Today's High & Low Temps
High 35.6
low 24.3

Friday, January 19, 2007

Busy Day At The Docks

It was a busy day down at the docks today. If you are fan of fishing boats, this blog entry is for you. A steady stream of boats trickled into the harbor today. The final count as of late afternoon was 5 sea scallopers and one dragger. All were western rigged with the exception of one eastern rigged steel sea scalloper. Here's a listing of their names. Madi J, Ila Brava, Humbak, Vila nova do corvo, Vila nova do corvo 1 and Vila nova do corvo 2. I thought the two scallopers in the above picture were sisters. They both have the same name but if you look closely at their hulls, they are different. The guys on the Vila nova do corvo 2 were busy doing gear work. They were using cutting torches to cut the chain bag off the dredge. Sea scallopers go through a lot of chain bags, sometimes one per month or more especially when they are fishing rocky bottom. In comparison, I change out the chain bags with new ones on my bay scallop dredges every 10 seasons or so. Here's a picture of the crew doing gear work-

And here's a picture of a big dredge partially raised up off the deck ready to be worked on-

The scalloper, Vila Nova do Corvo 2 has a very interesting set up that I have never seen on a scalloper before. She has the standard western rigged wheelhouse up forward. But behind the main wheelhouse was another one. And the winches were positioned up on the roof of the cutting house. Usually the winches are mounted on the main deck. I'm thinking that the little wheelhouse behind the main one is used as a station for running the winches. I wonder if there are redundant steering and throttle controls up there as well. Here's a picture of the set up-

As for the local bay scallop fleet, three guys fished today including a frogman. I was talking to the frogman yesterday and he told me that there is still a huge amount of eel grass covering the scallops in certain areas of the harbor. We haven't had a good gale lasting through at least two low tides to clear this grass off. Hopefully we will get some wind before the season is over so we can get these scallops which are unavailable now.

No work was done for the second day in a row at the new Children's Beach boat ramp. I would have thought that the coffer dam would have been in place by now. I'm not sure what is holding this project up. Work is continuing along at the GHYC job site.

I fear the Straight Wharf pigeon is either deceased or has flown south for the winter. Hopefully the latter. I have not seen him or fed him for a long long time.

Today's High & Low Temps.
(Unavailable. I forgot to reset my thermometer. Sorry)

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Cold And Calm Waterfront

I went for a walk around a very cold and calm waterfront this morning. It was only 19 degrees when I was down there. Slushy ice had formed overnight in the Boat Basin. First ice I've seen in the basin all winter.-

This gull seemed to be cold-

No sea scallopers or draggers came in overnight. The Madi J left as well as the Ruthie B. It'll be interesting to see how many boats come in here this weekend as there is a gale approaching. If we get more than one day of wind, most of the guys will spend the extra five hours steaming home to New Beige and not layover here.

The bay scallop fleet was able to get out this morning. They just made the cut-off time of 10 am. I counted around 4 boats out fishing.

A tug and barge loaded with aggregate for Glowacki arrived overnight and tied up to Steamboat Wharf.

Work was halted today at the new Children's Beach boat ramp. Not sure why they took the day off. If the ramp is to be completed by Spring, these guys better get cracking!

Today's High & Low Temps
High 38.1
Low 13.6

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Fly-Along With George

I took the above video clip of Muskeget from George Riethof's airplane this afternoon. George invited me to go along with him and two people who were conducting a seal count. We left the airport, flew along the north shore , over Madaket Harbour, then over the south part of Tuckernuck Island and finally over to Muskeget Island. We made a couple of passes around the island as the girls counted the seals. We were able to fly low and get a great view of everything. I was surprised at how far inland on Muskeget the seals actually go. I always thought they hauled up a few feet on the beach. A lot of the seals were several yards into the terrain of the island. We left Muskeget and headed back towards town, along the harbor, over to Coatue, then up to Great Point and down along towards Sankaty. I saw the 'Sconset erosion control project that I mentioned yesterday. The project looks much bigger from the air. I spotted two Bobcat machines busy moving sand around. I could also see the fiber mat material they are putting up against the bank. They are using a huge amount of it. Much more than you can see from land. We then flew along the south shore and finally back to the airport. I had a great time seeing parts of Nantucket from the air that I have never seen before. Thank you very much, George, for having me along!

Here's a shot of some seals hauled up on the beach at Muskeget-

And another-

Here's a shot of East Pond, Tuckernuck Island-

And finally, a shot of the main channel with Brant Point on the right and Coatue Point on the left-

As always, click on any picture I post to the blog and it will enlarge.

Getting back down to earth now. Nobody was able to go bay scalloping today. The temperature never made it to 28 degrees. I'm sure the guys welcomed a day off as most of them have been going hard at it every day. Looks like they will able to get back out on the water tomorrow as it's forecasted to be in the thirties. They will probably get a late start, though.

As for the big boys, A western rigged sea scalloper named the Luzitano came in late last night due to the wind. She's a big boat. 84' As soon as the wind laid down this afternoon, I spotted her headed right back out. The Madi J was in as well. And the Ruthie B. is at the Town Pier still. I'm thinking she'll be able to make a trip starting tonite. The wind isn't going to be a factor for a few days. We'll see.

Today's High & Low Temps
High 31.6
Low 14.7

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

'Sconset Erosion Control Project

I took a drive out to Baxter Road in 'Sconset this morning to check out the erosion control project that has been going on there for a long time. I shot the above clip of the site. Workers were busy moving dirt around with a Bobcat machine. A fresh load of dirt had just been dumped over the bluff. I have been following this project closely ever since they started it. I cannot tell you how many dump truck loads of dirt have been dumped over the bluff just to be washed out to sea by the next storm. It seems like hundreds of loads. Here is a picture of the fiber they are using to keep the dirt against the bluff-

When I drive the beaches, I notice this fiber all over the place from Great Point to Smith's Point. Seems like every time we experience a minor storm, all the work that has been done at the site is destroyed and all the dirt and fiber and wooden posts are washed out to sea. The next day, the workers are right back at it replacing what was lost. Here's another shot I took today out there-

I'm no expert on coastal erosion or rebuilding bluffs but it seems to me that this is not working very well. I will say, though, that I give these guys a lot of credit for trying.

A little western rigged sea scalloper named "Madi J" came in at some point during the night and tied up at the east face of the Boat Basin. Her crew was doing gear work this morning. The Ruthie B is still tied to the dock. It is going on three weeks since she's made a trip. I'm not sure why they haven't gone out in so long. I'll ask one of the crew members. That's a long time to be tied to the dock and not fishing.

As for the bay scallopers, 5 guys went out today including one frogman. The Summery weather we have been experiencing the past few months seems to be over. These guys will most likely miss tomorrow. I'm thinking the temperature will never make it to 28 degrees by 10 am.

Today's High & Low Temps
High 50.7
Low 30.7

Monday, January 15, 2007

A Work In Progress

While I was down at the Town Pier the other day, I noticed a little sailboat tied to the dock named Quahog. The owner of the boat is David Wiley. You probably have seen this boat in his driveway on Union Street for several months while David did a lot of work to her. He splashed her in late September and kept her on a mooring out in the harbor. He figured he better bring her into the dock in anticipation of winter storms. I'm not a big fan of rag boats. Does anyone know what type of boat this is? Click on the picture above for a larger shot. As always, you can click on any of the pictures I post on the blog and they will come up larger.

Five or Six guys went out scalloping today. A couple of them are steaming way up into the head of the harbor to fish. I heard that one scalloper fell out of his boat into the icy water this morning. Luckily someone saw him go in and rescued him. The water temp is around 44 degrees now. With heavy oilskins, several layers of clothing and a pair of boots on, one would not be able to jump back into a boat without help.

No work was done at the new Children's Beach boat ramp today other than AGM Marine delivering a barge and crane there.

Work continued today at GHYC.

Over in the F/V Regulus thread, I asked what the insignia was on the bow of the boat located down by the waterline. Two people left comments thinking it was a Plimsoll line. Recently, a reader posted a comment saying it is an indication that the vessel is equipped with a bulbous bow. I'm thinking this may be correct seeing that the insignia looks like a bulbous bow.

In case you're wondering what a bulbous bow is

Today's High & Low Temps.
High 51.4
Low 41.7

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Seal Cruise To The East Jetty

I went out on a VERY foggy seal cruise in my boat today to the east jetty. There were around 100 or so harbor seals lounging on the rocks. I spotted one horsehead seal in the mix. All the seals appeared to be healthy except for the one I took the picture of above. He looked to be sick and he has some sort of injury to his right eye. I hope the poor little guy makes it. Here's another shot of the seals-

Sorry about the poor quality of the pictures. It was so foggy out there, I could hardly see the seals. And I had my camera on full zoom without a monopod making matters worse. I did a little work on them in Photoshop to clean them up a bit. Anyway, I hope you "get the picture."

While I was out there cruising around, I noticed the #2 buoy at the entrance to the main channel was recently replaced with an odd shaped one. I have never seen this type of buoy here before. Here's a picture of it-

Does anyone know why the old #2 buoy was replaced with this new one? Please answer in the comments section.

Two boats came in early this morning. The United States and the Luso American. Both are sea scallopers. When I was down there at the dock checking them out, They were both boarded by the Environmental Police and the Coast Guard. It's nice to see both of those agencies doing their job checking these fisherman out and making sure they are playing by the rules. I did not see any violations being given to either boat.

Today's High & Low Temps.

High 49.6
Low 41.4