We departed Boston for Portsmouth, New Hampshire on the most beautiful day. We could clearly see that we were surrounded by lobster pots. Everywhere.
Eventually we picked our way up the Piscataqua River against a strong outgoing current. There was one anchorage we were looking to settle in for the night, on the Maine side of the river. When we got there we discovered it was covered end-to-end with lobster traps.
We found a spot in the middle and dropped the hook. It didn't grab, which is highly unusual. We backed up a bit, being mindful not to back over any lobster trap floats, and never did hook. It was marked on the chart as "hard". I believe it may have actually been granite. So with nothing to hook onto, we called the nearby yacht club and asked to rent a mooring ball for the night.
|One morning we awoke to find this lobster pot in the MIDDLE of the mooring field. Minerva barely had enough room to swing and miss it.
The mooring balls are completely round, and spin wildly against the strong current. The mooring ball we were directed to had wrapped its pennant line all the way around its rode, giving me about 2" of line to try to grab with the boat hook. Lance was having a very difficult time keeping Minerva still in the current and wind, and it took me several tries to finally tease out enough line to pull back towards the bow.
Twice the boat hook was ripped out of my hand. Twice we had to chase it downstream and retrieve it with a backup hook.
|Many houses in Maine are decorated with the tools of the trade.
Finally I caught the looped line with the boat hook and teased out enough of it to almost reach Minerva. In my right hand was my bridle line, connected to Minerva's bow. In my left hand was the looped pennant line. I was just about to loop my bridle through the pennant when a gust slapped Minerva to the side and tried to rip the mooring line out of my hand. But we'd worked so hard to get to this point, I was NOT going to let it go. All I needed was to just get my right and left hands a tiny skooch closer. Then the current caught Minerva and started pulling her away again. I was still determined not to let it go, but my hands were getting farther apart until another shifty gust caught us and then I was violently slammed against the rail. I was still reeling from the shock and trying to catch my breath when Lance shouted "LET IT GO!" and I did. Odd that it never occurred to me until right at that moment. He told me later it was like watching a horror show in slow motion and he thought for sure I was going to get pulled over just like the boat hooks had been.
So I earned some new bruises. And the folks sipping cocktails at the yacht club on the hill got a show. Probably one they've seen before, I expect they have a scoring system setup at the bar.
Once we were safely secured we caught a ride with the water taxi to the Maine shore and had a lovely lobster dinner on the patio. We find Maine to be weirdly uptight about some things, such as dogs at outdoor restaurant patios, and unusually loose about other things such as letting the kids run through the restaurant and bar, BYO alcohol to restaurants, and forgetting to ask for money at their restaurants. We've had to chase down more than one waiter to settle up.
|The locals know: bring your own table mat, place setting and alcohol. Order the lobster from the restaurant. Relax with friends. Let the kids run wild around the patio.
Finally, we made it back to Maine. One year and a couple months later than planned, the lobster is just as sweet.