At 6:00 this morning harbours and breakwaters around the region were emptied as lobster boats headed out on the first day of the new season.
Months of working on boats, and traps, and ropes, and bait, and crews led up to the moment a Fisheries representative gave the signal and they could finally start.
Even though it’s a 6 o’clock start, the boats begin to line up at the entrance to Head Harbour by about 5:15. If they were stock cars they’d be revving their engines.
Give me enough years to practice and I’ll master the whole it’s dark/but there are floodlights/damn it the boats don’t stand still/shaky hands reality to taking these pics.
The season was delayed by two days because of the weather – the good news is that they can finally set their traps this morning. Some will go pull them up and reset them tonight. Most will try – they get the majority of the catch in the first couple of weeks.
Later on the traps will be left for sometimes 3 days in the hopes of getting as many of the beasts as possible.
They all want to set as many traps as they are permitted and do it immediately. For that reason some of the boats were loaded with more than 400 really heavy cages – they don’t want to take a chance of losing the spots they prefer by taking them out a few at a time. Just as well there’s almost no wind this morning.
I’ve learned a few things about fishing now. One of the most important is that it takes just as much work to catch a few as it does to bring in a lot. Another key lesson is that nobody knows until they haul in those first traps whether or not they’re going to catch anything.
This Island – and all the fishing communities here and elsewhere – live on hope. Well, hope and bank loans.
I wish them well. I also hope they are successful but mostly I hope they’re safe. I know some of you watch the TV show about fishermen off the coast of Alaska. Now imagine you’re on a much smaller boat, in worse seas. They’re all nuts. 🙂