Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A Dearth of Wind and a Plethora of Lobster Pots

We waited to leave the Sawmill Marina in Bouctouche until the tide had risen to the same level that we entered on, then once again clearing the channel by mere inches departed for Summerside on Prince Edward Island. As soon as we entered the Northumberland Straight, we encountered the lobster pots.

Lobster season opened only a week or so prior, and in the deeper water of the Strait (only about 70 feet) pots are everywhere. Looking out across the horizon it looks like a minefield, thousands of buoys and probably 15 or 20 lobster boats within view. The pots are set only 50 - 100 yards apart, each has two buoys about 5 feet apart with a line between them, and a line going down to the pot. These are not set in strings as seems to be done in Maine, with a buoy at each end (and the lines weighted), nor are they as picturesque; they are plastic buoys which have the appearance of gayly painted trash. 

Ann poses in front of a stack of navigational hazards on PEI

And so with no wind (15 knots forecast….) we motored towards Summerside, making course adjustments often several times a minute to weave between the navigational hazard that is lobster fishing. Some are responsible enough to shorten the line such that one need only avoid running between the two buoys and clear them by a few feet, but many leave an extra 75 feet or so of line which floats on the surface upwind of the buoys, ready to tangle the keel, rudder, or prop if you come near it. Under good light, they can be seen from some distance, however if you are looking into the sun and there is a little chop, they seem to appear out of nowhere 50 ft ahead of the boat. If you tangle one, it could damage the prop or engine, is likely to stop it and require gyrations and machinations to free it at a minimum, and perhaps a dive into the 64 degree water to cut it free. 

We finally arrived at the Summerside Marina, known as the Silver Fox Yachting and Curling Club. They did in fact have a curling alley, or field, or whatever it is called. They also had a lounge that seemed to be the hot spot on a Saturday evening in Summerside. We were directed to the dock nearest the lounge, and so got to enjoy both the loud music until well after midnight, AND the exuberant patrons smoking on the patio outside during the breaks. It was reminiscent of weekends on 'O' dock back at the Port Credit Marina, so I felt right at home. The CCA guide says that the Summerside town center "lacks cohesiveness" which is an apt description. However it does have a bank, propane, a grocery store, a Burger King, and a Tim Horton's all within a few minutes walk of the marina. We did not have time to explore the town any deeper as we had to get the crew to Shediac to meet airline schedules. 

'Anomaly' tied up within shouting distance - and hearing distance - of the Silver Fox Yachting and Curling Club
'Anomaly' is currently lying Souris, Prince Edward Island, Canada

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