Forecast: Maine-ly Foggy
20 August 2023
The good news for cruisers and, indeed lobsters, is that the Nova Scotia lobster season is restricted to the months of November through to the end of May. Their lobster boats are onshore or tied up in harbour. All their gear, instead of lying in wait to catch a passing vessel, is lined up in yards and gardens around the country all of which made our cruise up and down the coast a bit less stressful. All we had was fog. In Maine however, according to a Nova Scotian fisherman there’s “a different science”. In Maine, weather permitting, it’s open season on lobsters pretty much year round. That means that during the summer months it’s a bit safer in Nova Scotia, relative to Maine, to mooch around in the fog. Safer for both cruisers and lobsters. However, unlike the lobsters, in Maine we certainly shan’t be shedding our outer clothing. Underneath our summer blanket of fog, it’s freezing.
I say, “in Maine” as we just spent twenty three hours motoring across the Gulf of Maine to land on Mount Desert Island. Twenty three hours through fog and dark and in the last twenty miles, the Maine minefields of lobster pots. Offshore, in the greater depths, the lobstering gear is pretty heavy. Concrete bottomed, steel framed pots buoyed with conspicuous risers and pick-up bouys. Ten to fifteen millimetre diameter polypropylene rope connects the lot allowing the lobster men, that’s men who fish for lobsters, not male lobsters, to haul up their pots. And catch the occasional passing boat occasioning subsequent visits to boat yards or indeed a visit from the lifeboat.
Nearer shore in the shallower waters the pot and bouy density dramatically increases until you’re negotiating a path through a maze of hundreds of little bouys spaced across the bay no more than a boat length apart. This keeps some cruisers away from Maine, especially when you add in the fog.
It doesn’t make it very popular with lobsters either.