AUGUST - ISLAND CREEK OYSTER FARM

I began farming for Island Creek Oysters (ICO) in Duxbury, MA on Monday, July 31. Below are some images. There's so much to learn.The lobster fishing I experienced earlier this season is what I would say is 2-dimensional work: 1. set the traps, 2. haul the traps. There is, of course, much hard work and lots of activity, but it's a pretty simple process. Oyster farming is a whole different story.

The Farmers

Skip  #islandcreekoysters  photo

Skip #islandcreekoysters photo

Mark  #islandcreekoysters  photo

Mark #islandcreekoysters photo

Joe P.

Joe P.

Ursula  #emmyhagen  photo

Ursula #emmyhagen photo

Ben

Ben

Me  #emfay  photo

Me #emfay photo

Tim

Tim

Shawna

Shawna

Tanner

Tanner

Cory

Cory

Nick

Nick

Hannah

Hannah

Joe R.

Joe R.

Mike

Mike

Cat

Cat

Emily

Emily


The Oysterplex, which is a floating platform and shed use for culling, counting, bagging, and transporting the oysters by mini-barge to a refrigerator truck for delivery to restaurants. We cull, count and bag thousands of oysters a day:

080318 plex2.jpg

The gear shed, adjacent to the dock

080618 gear shed3.jpg
080618 gear shed1.jpg
080618 gear shed2.jpg

THE DOCK

081518 dock.jpg

CULLING OYSTERS

Culling is sorting through a big pile of oysters by hand, to chose the ones that are the absolute best for market. ICO produces a variety of three oysters throughout the bay: Row 34's, Aunt Dotties and Island Creeks. The pile below are the Island Creeks.

Tools used for culling: a 3' PVC ring and a screwdriver.

Island Creek

Island Creeks are culled in five separate sizes. It's taken me awhile to internalize exactly what the correct sizes are, especially the "premium" and "selects", which are the two smaller sizes, the premiums measuring slightly smaller than the selects. The "regulars" are easy, as they measure the diameter of the 3' ring. The "extra large (aka "chuncky)" will exceed the diameter.

081118 prem and select.jpg
reg and xl.jpg

Row 34

Row 34's can be culled directly from their trays at really low tide, eg: "on the tide", or in the Oysterplex

080318 row farm.jpg
081518 morning harvest.jpg

Aunt Dottie


Counting Oysters

ICO oysters are counted 100 per bag:

  • Row 34s (note the bag below that’s inside-out) are culled and counted by two different sizes  - "regular" & "select".

  • Aunt Dotties are pre-sorted for us by "select" only.

  • Island Creeks, are sorted and counted by five different sizes: "jumbo", "chunky", "regular", "select" & "premium":

Row 34: the white tag indicates  regulars  are in the bag; The black tag indicates  selects  are in the bag.

Row 34: the white tag indicates regulars are in the bag; The black tag indicates selects are in the bag.

Aunt Dottie: black  select  tag only.

Aunt Dottie: black select tag only.

Island Creek: the single  regular  and  select  tags work the same as with the row 34's; the double-black tag indicates  premium,  & the double white tag indicates  chunky.  Jumbos aren't tagged.

Island Creek: the single regular and select tags work the same as with the row 34's; the double-black tag indicates premium, & the double white tag indicates chunky. Jumbos aren't tagged.

 

THE TIME FOR FARM-WORK DEPENDS ON THE TIME OF LOW TIDE

The sweet-spot for harvesting Rows and Dotties is an hour or-so before, thru an hour or-so after, dead low.

090118 tide3.jpg
090118 tide.jpg
090118 tide1.jpg
A spring tide is a common historical term that has nothing to do with the season of spring. Rather, the term is derived from the concept of the tide “springing forth.” Spring tides occur twice each lunar month all year long without regard to the season. Neap tides, which also occur twice a month, happen when the sun and moon are at right angles to each other.

Tides are long-period waves that roll around the planet as the ocean is “pulled” back and forth by the gravitational pull of the moon and the sun as these bodies interact with the Earth in their monthly and yearly orbits.

During full or new moons—which occur when the Earth, sun, and moon are nearly in alignment—average tidal ranges are slightly larger. This occurs twice each month. The moon appears new (dark) when it is directly between the Earth and the sun. The moon appears full when the Earth is between the moon and the sun. In both cases, the gravitational pull of the sun is “added” to the gravitational pull of the moon on Earth, causing the oceans to bulge a bit more than usual. This means that high tides are a little higher and low tides are a little lower than average.

These are called spring tides, a common historical term that has nothing to do with the season of spring. Rather, the term is derived from the concept of the tide “springing forth.” Spring tides occur twice each lunar month all year long, without regard to the season.

Seven days after a spring tide, the sun and moon are at right angles to each other. When this happens, the bulge of the ocean caused by the sun partially cancels out the bulge of the ocean caused by the moon. This produces moderate tides known as neap tides, meaning that high tides are a little lower and low tides are a little higher than average. Neap tides occur during the first and third quarter moon, when the moon appears “half full.”
— National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
0625 neap.jpg
0625 spring.jpg

Spring tides happen when the sun-earth-moon are in alignment. Neap tides happen seven days after a spring tide, when the sun and moon are at right angles to each other.


A fews more photos will wrap up August, 2018! :

The "soaker" onboard the Oysterplex stores to-be-culled and culled oysters.

The "soaker" onboard the Oysterplex stores to-be-culled and culled oysters.

The barge, which which transports bagged oysters to the refrigerator truck.

The barge, which which transports bagged oysters to the refrigerator truck.

The refrigerator truck, which delivers our oysters to market.

The refrigerator truck, which delivers our oysters to market.


Working the grader

091618 grader2.jpg
082118 tanner.jpg
082118 seed.jpg

Emily’s holding the type of ring used for measuring the Aunt Dottie oysters.  #emfay  photo

Emily’s holding the type of ring used for measuring the Aunt Dottie oysters. #emfay photo

see you, august!

120218 logo.jpg
120218 logo.jpg
120218 logo.jpg
120218 logo.jpg

SEPTEMBER - ISLAND CREEK OYSTER FARM

What a sweet beginning …

090718 dawn2.jpg
082818 ICO.jpg
090718 dawn3.jpg

Good morning, sunshine!


a peek at island creek from 50,000 feet

What I grow: daughters, oysters, clams, plankton, small businesses. And maybe one day up.
— Skip Bennett, farmer
Duxbury Bay from 50,000 feet

Duxbury Bay from 50,000 feet

1 -Company headquarters, hatchery, and raw bar;  2 -Oysterplex;  3 -Island Creek oysters;  4 -Row 34 oysters;  5 -Aunt Dotty oysters;  6 -The town landing, where we off-load for market;  7 -The Back River where the baby oyster seed nursery is located

1-Company headquarters, hatchery, and raw bar; 2-Oysterplex; 3-Island Creek oysters; 4-Row 34 oysters; 5-Aunt Dotty oysters; 6-The town landing, where we off-load for market; 7-The Back River where the baby oyster seed nursery is located

1) the red arrow points to the location of company headquarters, the hatchery, and the raw bar.  I t’s also the location of where the the skiffs and draggers run in-and-out to the farm; 2) the green box outlines the general area of the Oysterplex, and where the Island Creek and Row 34 oysters live, preparing to be harvested.

1) the red arrow points to the location of company headquarters, the hatchery, and the raw bar. It’s also the location of where the the skiffs and draggers run in-and-out to the farm; 2) the green box outlines the general area of the Oysterplex, and where the Island Creek and Row 34 oysters live, preparing to be harvested.

This  green box outlines the general area of where the Aunt Dotty’s live, preparing to be harvested …

This green box outlines the general area of where the Aunt Dotty’s live, preparing to be harvested …

… and  this  green box outlines the general area of where the baby oyster seeds live until they are big enough to be planted in Duxbury Bay.

… and this green box outlines the general area of where the baby oyster seeds live until they are big enough to be planted in Duxbury Bay.


September 4 & 10: Saquish

My first trip by skiff to the Saquish area was this week. Subsequent trips during the month were by truck along the six-mile spit of land from Powder Point to Gurnet. Joe R. manages (below) the growth, quality and harvesting of the Aunt Dotty oysters here.

090718 saq7.jpg
090718 saq4.jpg
090718 saq2.jpg
091018 massage3.jpg
091018 massage2.jpg
091018 massage1.jpg

A New Farm-Hand doing His Job

“Yuck” is right!! …

“Yuck” is right!! …

… so we hired ferocious Cujo

… so we hired ferocious Cujo


September 9-18

091018 gale1.jpg
091718 radar1.jpg
091018 gale3.jpg
091718 weather warn.jpg
For several days, the farm was ground-zero for a lot of nasty weather.

For several days, the farm was ground-zero for a lot of nasty weather.

Some minor platform damage after the gale-watch required some temporary modifications to farm operations

Some minor platform damage after the gale-watch required some temporary modifications to farm operations

091318 platform moved.jpg

Cory’s and my make-shift culling station:

091418 cory2.jpg
091418 cory.jpg
091418 cory3.jpg

Ursula, Hannah, Shawna and Emily harvesting Row’s on Hunt’s tidal flat in Duxbury Bay:

091418 picking rows.jpg
091418 picking rows3.jpg
091418 picking rows2.jpg

Kira, my Finnish Lapphund

A shout-out to my loyal pup Kira, who enjoy’s helping me with chores around the dock on weekends. She’s in her 17th year!

091518 kira.jpg
091618 kira on dock.jpg
091618 kira on plex.jpg

MID-september

Fall is closing in …

September 17 - 21

Saquish

Setting out to harvest oysters under moonlight.

092918 darkout.jpg
092918 dark2.jpg
092518 squish oysters2.jpg
Joe R. and Cory working through the daily game plan.

Joe R. and Cory working through the daily game plan.

Myself, Emily, and Shauna … marching into low-tide. That’s Clark’s Island in the distance.  #islandcreekoysters  photo

Myself, Emily, and Shauna … marching into low-tide. That’s Clark’s Island in the distance. #islandcreekoysters photo

Cory (green hat), Shawna (hidden), Emily, and Hannah bagging the Dotty’s back on shore.

Cory (green hat), Shawna (hidden), Emily, and Hannah bagging the Dotty’s back on shore.


September 24 - 28

Hunts Tidal Flat

Wind and rain on the farm will keep nobody down!

092918 hannah2.jpg
092918 farmergirls.jpg
092918 shauna2.jpg

Left-to-right: Hannah, Emily, Ursula, Shawna: what a spirited team, rain or shine!

Setting out for Hunts to harvest Row 34’s in a driving rain. Joe R. was experiencing the same over at Saquish, harvesting the Aunt Dotty’s. It was a real soaker, and no one was worse for the wear!


September 30

Watching the Pats crush the Dolphins and saying good-bye to September at ICO’s Raw Bar with Emily and Shawna.

The caviar.

The caviar.

Emily, taking a winning photo of the caviar

Emily, taking a winning photo of the caviar

Me, taking a photo of Emily taking a photo of the caviar.

Me, taking a photo of Emily taking a photo of the caviar.

Shawna, the line-judge.

Shawna, the line-judge.


A personal shout-out to Mike Fallon, USMC

I met Mike just after Labor Day when he joined the farm crew to work for Joe Pierce’s section (the Back River farm lease). Mike’s a terrific guy and an incredibly hard worker. His last day was on Friday (9/28), and I was able to get together with Mike and his family at Island Creek’s raw bar on Saturday, motored out to the farm, and said our goodbye’s. We had many great conversations, and developed a sincere bond. Mike Fallon is the “real news”. He’ll report for basic training on Parris Island, SC on October 9.

Mike, on his first day on the farm. Besides the Marines, Mike’s a huge Beatles fan!

Mike, on his first day on the farm. Besides the Marines, Mike’s a huge Beatles fan!

Mike and I on September 29 …

Mike and I on September 29 …

So long, September!

092918 partingshot.jpg

FOOTNOTE:

ICO’s “Saltwash Dinner Series”

Joy and I were lucky enough to enjoy the last of three Saltwash Dinner’s of the season. Island Creek’s been hosting the post-labor day event each Monday from SEP 10 thru SEP 24. It was amazing!

An Asian inspired wedge salad …

An Asian inspired wedge salad …

Tuna tataki …

Tuna tataki …

Spicey pulled pork and seaweed taco shells, ramen noodles, and rice bowl …

Spicey pulled pork and seaweed taco shells, ramen noodles, and rice bowl …

Dessert! …

Dessert! …

Saltwash Series fan club …

Saltwash Series fan club …

Joy :) …

Joy :) …

Chef Rob Wong of  Hojoko  in Boston saying a few words at the end of a great evening. Bill and Skip are looking on.

Chef Rob Wong of Hojoko in Boston saying a few words at the end of a great evening. Bill and Skip are looking on.

goodbye september!

120218 logo.jpg
120218 logo.jpg
120218 logo.jpg
120218 logo.jpg

OCTOBER - ISLAND CREEK OYSTER FARM

The chill is closing in and all is well …

Welcome, Cat!

.. to the hatchery and farm ..

110318 cat2.jpg
110318 cat3.jpg
110318 cat.jpg

Scenes and Sounds

100418 seagulls.jpg
1006128 heron2.jpg

The Lunar Tide

100818 new moon.jpg
100818 new moon tide.jpg
102118 white caps.jpg
101019 mud.jpg

Time to go to work

102418 k1.jpg
102418 k3.jpg
102418 k2.jpg

No one said it would be easy

101018 hands3.jpg
101018 hands1.jpg
101018 hands2.jpg

From the Hatchery to the Back River Nursery

Sorting, bagging, un-bagging, lifting, hauling, dragging, getting dirty - enjoying every minute, wind, rain and shine. From the Hatchery to the Back River Nursery is where so much begins to come together, as millions of baby oysters (spat) grow big enough to move out to the Saquish and Hunts flats in Duxbury Bay.

The trip from the hatchery to the Back River Nursery.

The trip from the hatchery to the Back River Nursery.

The trip from the nursery to the farm, about 6 weeks later.

The trip from the nursery to the farm, about 6 weeks later.

hatchery to table.png

Oysters are filter-feeders, feeding on phytoplankton and other nutrients from the ocean water. From the hatchery, adult female and male oysters are put into breeding trays where they spawn. Several hours later, the fertilized eggs hatch the larva. By the time they’re about 6 weeks old, they’re ready to leave the hatchery and moved to the upwellers. In a month-or-so, the baby oysters (spat) will be big enough to move from the upwellers to the Back River Nursery where they continue to grow. After about six weeks, they’ll be ready to be moved into the bay.

What is an upweller?

110418 upweller.jpg
110418 upweller2.jpg
An upweller is a system of tanks that flow seawater over the oyster spat so that it receives a good flow of nutritious water for it to filter and feed on. The oysters filter out the plankton, digest it and use the nutrition to grow. A typical upweller contains the oyster spat in containers with screen bottoms. The water is forced up through the screen bottoms around the oysters and out the top where it is returned to the ocean or estuary.
— massoyster.org

miscellaneous photos from the dock

Joe: the man, the myth, the legend, the River Boss.

Joe: the man, the myth, the legend, the River Boss.

Me.  #emfay  photo

Me. #emfay photo

Nick: always getting it done until it’s done.

Nick: always getting it done until it’s done.

Bags pulled from the nursery waiting to be off-loaded and graded.

Bags pulled from the nursery waiting to be off-loaded and graded.

Re-bagging the seed after grading, for their trip to the bay.

Re-bagging the seed after grading, for their trip to the bay.

Grading baby oysters: meet Bubba

Bubba is the large grader, and is used to grade Row 34’s.

Bubba is the large grader, and is used to grade Row 34’s.

This is a smaller grader, and used to grade the Island Creeks and Aunt Dotties.

This is a smaller grader, and used to grade the Island Creeks and Aunt Dotties.

100418 grader1.jpg
100218 grader tunnel.jpg
100418 grader2.jpg
102118 bubble.jpg
101718 stack2.jpg
101718 stack1.jpg
101718 skiff to br.jpg

A trip to the back river nursery

101518 br1.jpg
101518 br2.jpg

The summer sun is fading as the year grows old ...
— Moody Blues

Breaking it all down for the fall and winter

BEFORE

BEFORE

DURING

DURING

102518 float2.jpg
102518 float3.jpg
AFTER

AFTER

102818 crane7.jpg
102818 crane9.jpg
103018 upweller1.jpg
103018 upweller2.jpg
102818 crane1.jpg
102818 crane2.jpg
102818 crane3.jpg
102818 crane10.jpg
102818 crane10.jpg
102818 crane12.jpg
102818 plex2.jpg
102818 plex3.jpg

This season’s first nor’ easter

It was relatively puny, and with most of the gear contained it couldn’t have come at a better time. Cleanup was minimal.

102718 w2.jpg
192718 w1.jpg
102718 w3.jpg
110418 wind scale.jpg
102718 w4.jpg
110418 wind scale.jpg

Saquish: 31 October, 2018

103118 squish1.jpg
103118 squish2.jpg

island creek’s 2018 fishing tournament

October 6

Hi All-

I hope everyone is excited for the fishing tournament tomorrow! The weather forecast is looking great. A few rules to go over before you get out on the water:
1. Meet at the dock at 11:30am, lines in the water at noon
2. VHF channel 87
3. Chris will be picking up sandwiches to take on the boats
4. The competition is individual although people will be paired or grouped onto the boats
5. Take a photo of each fish with the provided tape measure, except for quantity of catch- just keep a total count. A catch = hook out! Use the graphic below for measurement guidelines.
6. If you have extra gear, rods, tackle, etc., please bring it to spread around for those that might need to borrow.
7. Any striper that is over 28” save and bring in to cook.
8. Be back on the dock by 4pm, ready to compare catch!
9. The prizes are for individuals, not teams.
Smallest fish
Biggest fish
Quantity of catch
Diversity of catch
Tautog or Sea Robin
10. Have fun and be safe! The party starts at 5pm on the raw bar patio. If you don’t win a trophy you can always try for a raffle prize!
~Tay
— Taylor Plimton, October 5

The teams:

  • Chris Sherman, Sean Telo, Miche Wong

  • Skip, Ben Caliendo

  • Mark Boutlillier (won biggest fish), Colby Connell, Anna Priester

  • Bob Mills, Dave Schneller, Matt D’Amore (won smallest fish)

  • Tommy Reale (won quantity of catch - 18 stripers!), Jon Gomer, Joe Gauthier

No one caught Tautog or Sea Robin, so no awards given …

We all had a great time, and the weather was perfect!

My team:

Dave

Dave

A slightly younger me

A slightly younger me

Matt

Matt

Our team fished from noon until 4:00, and this is where we fished. The blue asterisk is the ICO dock, our team’s beginning and ending point. Matt landed the only 2 stripers on our boat, and we all caught a picture-perfect day!

Our team fished from noon until 4:00, and this is where we fished. The blue asterisk is the ICO dock, our team’s beginning and ending point. Matt landed the only 2 stripers on our boat, and we all caught a picture-perfect day!

Gurnet (from the ocean-side), near the spot where Matt caught striper #1.

Gurnet (from the ocean-side), near the spot where Matt caught striper #1.

Clark’s Island (from the north-side), near the spot where Matt caught striper #2.

Clark’s Island (from the north-side), near the spot where Matt caught striper #2.

Matt, and the smallest striper.

Matt, and the smallest striper.

Chris, Michelle, and Sean, who’ll tell you a tale of the one that got away.

Chris, Michelle, and Sean, who’ll tell you a tale of the one that got away.

Mark, and the biggest striper.

Mark, and the biggest striper.

Mark and the winning striper. Instead of fishing all afternoon he, Anna, and Colby steamed down to Plymouth for an afternoon of bar-hopping. On their way back from getting hammered, Mark thought he’d drop his line in the water just so he could say he actually fished, and BOOM!!

Mark, Anna and Colby’s fishing ground.

Mark, Anna and Colby’s fishing ground.


The cat in the hats

102918 let it be2.jpg

So long, October!

#hannahpearson15 #seanmaioranophotography  photo

#hannahpearson15 #seanmaioranophotography photo

so long, october!

120218 logo.jpg
120218 logo.jpg
120218 logo.jpg
120218 logo.jpg

NOVEMBER - ISLAND CREEK OYSTER FARM

As November approached, I hardly imagined there would be as much to write about or take photos of as there had been through the summer and early fall. To the contrary, there was - in many ways - lots more happening. In addition to working the oysters throughout the Bay and the Back River Nursery, there was the breaking down, pulling in, and organizing of thousands of pieces of gear & equipment throughout the month, in preparation for the winter. The month was consistently cold, windy and wet. It wasn’t until the final week that - FINALLY - I figured out how to stay reasonably dry and warm. Most of the oyster-work for me was spent on the Saquish lease with Joe R. on point - who also supervised us getting gear out of the water, to be stacked on dry land.
— oatbay
112918 rain1.jpg
#google

#google


welcome, tim mahoney!

… to the farm crew

“To be, or not to be - that’s the question” …  (I met Tim a couple of years ago at the Winsor House, and we’ve been buds since!).

“To be, or not to be - that’s the question” … (I met Tim a couple of years ago at the Winsor House, and we’ve been buds since!).


Early November

110718 plex.jpg

Pulling gear and stacking equipment

110518 bags.jpg
110718 plex2.jpg
110818 gear1.jpg
110818 gear2.jpg
110818 powerwash.jpg

Joe & Nick, pulling the empty grows* from the Back River Nursery, with Tim standing by to receive them.

  • Grows are large floating trays that contain six large black mesh bags (see the photo above of bags about to be power-washed) of thousands of baby oysters per tray, safely growing in this excellent tidal zone Spring through mid-Fall. When they baby oysters are big enough, they’re planted in the Bay to become Island Creek, Row 34, or Aunt Dotty oysters.

111418 br2.jpg
111618 pontoons stored.jpg
112018 grows1.jpg
112118 truck.jpg
112018 grows3.jpg
112118 stack.jpg

Nick & Tim, racking and stacking the grows on ICO’s Washington Street property.


ICO’S HUNTS LEASE: night farming

120218 hunts.jpg
110818 team.jpg

Me, Cory, Emily, Ursula, Tim, Hannah (behind the camera), Skip (behind Hannah, farming!). Absent from the photo are Shawna, Cat, and Nick, who’s silhouettes are somewhere in the lower-left picture below. #hannahpearson15

111118 nite3.jpg
The  Orion  constellation, setting SSW at around 5:00am.  #wikipedia

The Orion constellation, setting SSW at around 5:00am. #wikipedia

111118 nite1.jpg

Ursula showed us the way of oystering under a canopy of stars and constellations on a rare & beautiful moonless night, followed by a spectacular dark/clear morning. Temps were in the upper teens on the Hunts lease, and I wasn’t 100% dressed for it!

the Orion constellation

Orion is big and obvious. He rises from the East late at night, and sets to the West early in the morning. He is lovely and bright, and dominates the night sky, our protecter.
— oatbay
Orion is a prominent constellation located on the celestial equator and visible throughout the world. It is one of the most conspicuous and recognizable constellations in the night sky. It was named after Orion, a hunter in Greek mythology. Its brightest stars are Rigel (Beta Orionis) and Betelgeuse (Alpha Orionis), a blue-white and a red supergiant, respectively.
— Wikipedia

Mid to late November

ICO’s Saquish Lease

120218 saq lease.jpg
Map of Saquish Neck showing
Saquish Head, sometimes called Saquish Beach or simply referred to as Saquish, is located at the end of the peninsula at the entrance to the confluence of Plymouth and Duxburys Bay in Massachusetts, and is a headland and the small private settlement located on that headland. It is located east of Clark’s Island and west of Gurnet Point. Its only access by land is from the Powder Point Bridge at Duxbury Beach 5 miles to the north by foot or by 4-wheel drive beach buggies, but access is restricted to property owners, residents and their guests.

Saquish was likely an island at the time of the arrival of the Pilgrims. The prevailing story concerning the name “Saquish” is that it derives from a Wampanoag name meaning “abundance of clams”, but one writer says he believes it to mean “small creek”.

Today, many summer cottages line the beach. Because there is no electrical connection with the mainland, houses operate under solar, wind, or propane power. The nearest retail and service area is in Hall’s Corner, Duxbury. Catholic mass is held weekly on the beach on Saturdays from Independence Day to Labor Day. Entrance to the Gurnet Point and Saquish is guarded by security services and it is required that visitors check in prior to entering the beach.
— Wikipedia
“Road From Saquish” by Bettina Lesiur, Duxbury artist

“Road From Saquish” by Bettina Lesiur, Duxbury artist

This weeks were a daily bumpy ride out to the Saquish lease, with Joe Rankin behind the wheel negotiating every pothole. We experienced consistently unsettled weather every day.

This weeks were a daily bumpy ride out to the Saquish lease, with Joe Rankin behind the wheel negotiating every pothole. We experienced consistently unsettled weather every day.

111718 storm2.jpg
111718 storm1.jpg
117818 storm3.jpg

Joe, considering the options on a particularly stormy day.

111718 storm7.jpg
111718 storm6.jpg
The green dot marks Duxbury.  It was a bit windy over the weekend.

The green dot marks Duxbury. It was a bit windy over the weekend.

This was taken from Saquish Head, more ore less facing Kingston.

This was taken from Saquish Head, more ore less facing Kingston.

This is a watercolor i did in 2001 from a memory of a line of squalls off of Cuba that slammed into the 36 ketch I crewed on, for delivery to Ocho Rios, Jamaica.

This is a watercolor i did in 2001 from a memory of a line of squalls off of Cuba that slammed into the 36 ketch I crewed on, for delivery to Ocho Rios, Jamaica.

Duxbury Beach - 2nd Crossover

Duxbury Beach - 2nd Crossover

Yours truly  #shambs715

Yours truly #shambs715

From the shore of the Saquish lease looking west toward Clark’s Island.

From the shore of the Saquish lease looking west toward Clark’s Island.

112018 beachbags2.jpg
112418 N2.jpg
112418 N1.jpg
112018 beachbags1.jpg

After a week of high winds out of the east, Nick and I were tasked with returning hundreds of Back River oyster bags into the bay. It was heavy work. Nick grumbled to me: “to bad we don’t have a dolly …” Low and behold, my brother-in-law David has a dolly for his dingy at the family cottage right next door. I pulled the dolly from the garage and gathered some old boards lying around ICO’s wood shop. Nick then lashed them on the dolly to transport the bags.

late november

112118 rain.jpg
112118 rain2.jpg
112118 rain3.jpg

Shawna, Hannah, Cat, Emily, Matt, and Tim off-loading oyster trays that they had stacked on ICO’s barge to transport from the Hunts lease to the dock.

the crummy weather is winding down

112918 bluefish1.jpg
112118 bapka.jpg
111418 endofday.jpg
6:30am, from the dock.

6:30am, from the dock.

6:37am. That’s Joe, with Bayside Marine and Duxbury Bay Maritime School in the background. Note the split wood on the deck.

6:37am. That’s Joe, with Bayside Marine and Duxbury Bay Maritime School in the background. Note the split wood on the deck.

6:45am from the skiff. The Oysterplex will be pulled from the Bay early December.

6:45am from the skiff. The Oysterplex will be pulled from the Bay early December.

november 30: cold, calm, and perfect

The Bennett camp near the Saquish lease.

The Bennett camp near the Saquish lease.

Billy Bennett’s farm (Skip’s Dad) abuts the same Saquish lease that ICO farms.

Billy Bennett’s farm (Skip’s Dad) abuts the same Saquish lease that ICO farms.

The hobo fire pit we fired-up today kept us warmer and drier while we were bagging Aunt Dotty’s.

The hobo fire pit we fired-up today kept us warmer and drier while we were bagging Aunt Dotty’s.

Joe and Nick were inspecting the   grows and found some company doing the same.  #farmer-rankin

Joe and Nick were inspecting the grows and found some company doing the same. #farmer-rankin

a footnote

xiamen, China

the suminoe oyster

Joy’s and my friends and neighbors, the Scanlons, live right across the street from us. Megan travels a lot for work, and earlier this month she was in Xiaman, China. At the same time I had been reading “The Geography Of Oysters” and had just finished a paragraph on the Chinese oyster Suminoe (Sumo for short, as in those huge wrestlers). Meg’s Instagram message below is what caught my attention:

111218 megdux.jpg
Xiaman oysterplex …

Xiaman oysterplex …

… culler

… culler

… and farmer.

… and farmer.

This Chinese oyster is sometimes known as the Platter oyster, due to its size and flat profile, but considering its Asian name of Suminoe, its propensity to get immense is quite obvious!
— Rowan Jacobson - "A Geography Of Oysters"
111219 suminoe.jpg

I did a little research and learned that Xiamen is a highly industrialized bay, so I gotta wonder about the size of these oysters. Are they mutants ;-/ …?

november - the end!

120218 logo.jpg
120218 logo.jpg
120218 logo.jpg
120218 logo.jpg

DECEMBER - ISLAND CREEK OYSTERS

121918 yellowballs.jpg
  • More nights on Ursela’s ‘Hunts’ lease

  • Farmer-athletes

  • More days on Joe’s ‘Saquish’ lease

  • A visit to Clark’s Island

  • Changing skyline at the dock

  • Holiday Hustle / ACDC


more nights on URSULA’S hunts lease

A shout-out to Emmy Hagen of ICO’s media group for her photo’s!

122120 hagen.jpg
As the evening tide goes out we pull empty trays to stack on the barge for transport to the property for winter storage. We pick, cull and in the dark, Ursula will motor full orange bins across the bay to the Oysterplex for counting and bagging tomorrow. Through all of it, she is on-point, doing what she loves to do best.
— oatbay
@instagram.com/emmyhagen

@instagram.com/emmyhagen

@instagram.com/emmyhagen

@instagram.com/emmyhagen

@instagram.com/emmyhagen

@instagram.com/emmyhagen

Almost the whole gang was out on this particular night. From the Hatchery was Hannah, Shawna, Emily, Cat, and Nick; from the Farm was Skip, Ursula, Cory, Tim, and me. Joe worked all day but had to head to BU for his MBA class. Emily Hagen was behind the camera.

@instagram.com/emmyhagen

@instagram.com/emmyhagen

122118 trays.jpg

By the end of December, over 2,000 trays like these will have been moved onto the property for winter storage.

@instagram.com/emmyhagen

@instagram.com/emmyhagen

@instagram.com/emmyhagen

@instagram.com/emmyhagen

@instagram.com/emmyhagen

@instagram.com/emmyhagen

When the sun goes down, we’re surrounded by sights and sounds that few get to enjoy. Yes .. temperatures can be in the teen’s and twenty’s. Our chilly bodies and cold, wet fingers aren’t exactly what I would call fun and are hard to ignore. But that doesn’t matter to Island Creek oyster farmers; nights like these are rich to the senses. When we get back to our warm gear shed, there is a heightened feeling of accomplishment and pride.
— oatbay

… picking at night:

@instagram.com/emmyhagen

@instagram.com/emmyhagen

@instagram.com/emmyhagen

@instagram.com/emmyhagen

… and culling in the morning:

Everyone’s a bit quiet and sleepy, a by-product of the night before.

Everyone’s a bit quiet and sleepy, a by-product of the night before.


fARMER-ATHLETES

Below is an average December work week from an exercise (and weather) standpoint, so-says my Fitbit - which I’m thinking represents a general benchmark-week for Island Creek farmers (fellow farmers are half my age and twice as strong, so my guess is that their step/cardio benefits are a lot higher).

#keeponshuckin’

121118 weather1.jpg
121118 weather2.jpg
121618 steps2.jpg
120818 steps.jpg
121618 cardio1.jpg
121618 cardio2.jpg

more days on joe’s saqiush lease

If there is such a category as “The Most Pleasant Place To Farm Oysters In Single Digit Temperatures”, the Saquish farm wins. The stark beauty from Skip’s cottage on over to Clark’s Island is something else ...
— oatbay
123118 frozen marsh.jpg

A view of the commute to Saquish from “The Ford”:

120918 coldday1.jpg
120918 coldday3.jpg

A view of the commute to Saquish from “The Carolina”:

Cat, preparing to bag some Aunt Dotties:

121418 cat4.jpg
121418 cat2.jpg
121418 cat3.jpg
Oyster farming in winter temperatures and winds isn’t exactly easy, and what surrounds us is breathtaking. A double positive :)
— oatbay

a visit to clark’s Island

Duxbury Rural Historical Society, ca. 1775

Duxbury Rural Historical Society, ca. 1775

CLARKS ISLAND

The Duxbury Rural Historical Society owns approximately 17 acres of land on Clark’s Island, located in Plymouth Bay. These holdings include land on the west shore, the eastern shore, Pulpit Rock, a boat house called Hop House, and the house property known as Cedarfield (built in 1836 and the second-oldest house on the island). The property was donated to the DRHS in 1969 by the Pilgrim Rock Foundation. The property had been part of the estate of Sarah Wingate Taylor (d. 1964). Sarah’s summers, since infancy, were spent at her ancestral home on Clark’s Island in Plymouth Bay. During her time, eight of the Island’s ten houses were still owned by her relations, the Watson and Taylor families. Her most precious possession was Cedarfield, the second oldest house on the Island and nearby Election Rock where the Pilgrim explorers spent their first Sabbath. There she directed the Pilgrim Rock School for American Studies beginning in 1963, inviting talented students and scholars to engage in discussion and advanced learning. Notable visitors to the island throughout the history of the house, include Henry David Thoreau, Louisa May Alcott, and Truman Capote.

Each year in July/August, the DRHS invites the public to join us at Cedarfield for a picnic, followed by a gathering at Pulpit Rock for a historical perspective on the wonderful island. Pulpit Rock has sometimes been called “the real Plymouth Rock” and was the location at which the passengers of the Mayflower held their first service in the New World, before venturing further into the harbor.
— Duxbury Rural Historical Society
Skip Taylor’s father, Bill Taylor, was a boatbuilder who owned Long Point Marine. The largest boat he built (and the largest sailboat built in Duxbury in the 20th century) was the 50-foot schooner Mya. It was designed by Duxbury’s own Ray Hunt and was in Duxbury harbor when I was young. Ownership moved around but the Kennedy family in Hyannisport has had her for the past few decades.
— David Corey

A short skiff ride to the Taylor property

The arrow points toward the     Taylor farm, which is where Joe, Nick, Tim, and I pulled and stacked the  grows  (floating trays) after thousands of baby Aunt Dotties were moved to the root cellar on Washington Street for a winters nap.

The arrow points toward the Taylor farm, which is where Joe, Nick, Tim, and I pulled and stacked the grows (floating trays) after thousands of baby Aunt Dotties were moved to the root cellar on Washington Street for a winters nap.

Duxbury Rural Historical Society, ca. 1903

Duxbury Rural Historical Society, ca. 1903

Walk in the Wood

120918 clarks2.jpg
120918 clarks5.jpg
120918 clarks1.jpg

Taylor Homestead

121618 cedarville2.jpg
121618 cedarville1.jpg
121618 cedarville3.jpg
122618 cedarfield.jpg

Pulpit Rock

121618 pulpit rock2.jpg
121618 pulpit rock1.jpg
ON THE SABBOTH DAY
WEE RESTED
20 DECEMBER
1620
— Pulpit Rock

CHANGING SKYLINE at the dock

Out of harms way for the winter

123018 skyline.jpg

Mark with Cory wrote, choreographed and implemented the final removal from the bay of at least twelve more platforms and houses - in just one day. It was a pretty awesome undertaking …

122019 mark.jpg
120512 push2.jpg
121418 mark.jpg
121218 crane2.jpg
121218 crane3.jpg

holiday hustle

Thousands of holiday orders: How do Island Creek Oysters get from here to there?

Cooperation, and timing!

122518 tags.jpg
1221518 tomarket.jpg

Come and ride with Joe, Nick and me on a 90 second commute from Duxbury’s town landing -delivering oysters to Island Creek’s new operation/distribution center:

- ACDC -

#icooperationsrocks!

120918 DC.jpg
120518 tomarket2.jpg
121018 cory.jpg
010219 me.jpg
122320 Ops1.jpg
122318 Ops2.jpg
122318 truck.jpg
It’s was coordinated mayhem around campus during the week prior to the holidays. On December 17 alone, Ursula and we farmers delivered about  1,200 fifty-count bags and 1,200 twelve-count bags *  to Operations for holiday shipments to places like the one above.  *  … translates to around 74,000 oysters that were counted, bagged and zip-tied by Farmers, then tagged, boxed and staged for delivery by Operations.

It’s was coordinated mayhem around campus during the week prior to the holidays. On December 17 alone, Ursula and we farmers delivered about 1,200 fifty-count bags and 1,200 twelve-count bags * to Operations for holiday shipments to places like the one above.

* … translates to around 74,000 oysters that were counted, bagged and zip-tied by Farmers, then tagged, boxed and staged for delivery by Operations.


december 31

So long, 2018

122918 skyline.jpg
120218 logo.jpg
120218 logo.jpg
120218 logo.jpg
120218 logo.jpg



JANUARY - ISLAND CREEK OYSTERS

The front-half of January was busy as usual. While we continued to harvest oysters the usual way, that task was winding down. At the same time, we accelerated getting the remaining oyster trays out of the mud, and out of harms way - plus we bagged a few thousand oysters for pitting.

By the end of January, general work was reduced to about 50%, while other activities picked up a bit - like odd jobs assisting with the continued demolition and carpentry at Island Creek’s new state-of-the-art Hatchery.

Although I’m still challenged with many aspects of farming, I continue to learn about overall operations - from farming, to market distribution, to how the hatchery works, and more. It’s been great.
— oatbay

HAPPY 2019 oyster lovers!

122618 mule9.jpg

  • sea foam farming

  • the big chill

  • Pitting

  • a primer on oyster seed production

  • Growing an oyster hatchery, pt. 1


sea foam farming - january 14

An interesting day on the Saquish lease

This is not snow - it’s frozen sea foam that’s deep and heavy. Joe, who manages the Saquish lease, was through this last year, and knew exactly what we had to do to extract over 800 pounds of Aunt Dotty’s. It took four trips: thought that I was going to DIE!! Truth be told, I sat out the last run - my excuse being someone had to record this epic effort ;-)

011519 mush!.jpg
The tray Tim is lifting is called a “holding car”. When full of oysters it weighs about 80 pounds.

The tray Tim is lifting is called a “holding car”. When full of oysters it weighs about 80 pounds.

Joe, Nick and Tim taking a breather.

Joe, Nick and Tim taking a breather.


THE BIG CHILL - january 21

Feeling cold is relative. To my Facebook buddy Michael Irving of Prince William Sound Alaska, our kind of cold weather must feel kind of nice. The little guy above that payed us a visit at Saquish on this day was unfazed.

Feeling cold is relative. To my Facebook buddy Michael Irving of Prince William Sound Alaska, our kind of cold weather must feel kind of nice. The little guy above that payed us a visit at Saquish on this day was unfazed.

0112219 freeze4.jpg
It’s rare that the term “dangerous cold” is employed in Boston and along the coast, but today is one of those rare moments. It’s the combination with wind that creates a dangerous component by introducing wind chill factor.

Today’s wind chill values of -20 for many is sufficient to cause frostbite in only 30 minutes of exposure ...

— Matt Noyes, Boston 10
012218 freeze3.jpg
012219 freeze2.jpg

It was too cold to work on this particular day, but not cold enough for a few pictures :-)

The Oysterples, which is active all winter - culling, counting and bagging oysters.

The Oysterples, which is active all winter - culling, counting and bagging oysters.

Snug Harbor looking out toward the bay and the Duxbury Bay Maritime School

Snug Harbor looking out toward the bay and the Duxbury Bay Maritime School

DBMS.

DBMS.

DBMS, facing Bayside Marine. Island Creek’s 11 acre campus is just on the other side of those wrapped up boats.

DBMS, facing Bayside Marine. Island Creek’s 11 acre campus is just on the other side of those wrapped up boats.


pitting oysters

PITTING
- verb
1. the act or operation of digging a pit
2. the act or operation of placing in a pit
— Dictionary.com

Island Creek employs pitting this time of year. Skip and Mark watch the forecast constantly - every morning and every night - and when it looks like it's going to be 20 degrees or below for four nights in a row with a whole lot of wind, it's time. Ice and wind means mangled gear and oysters scattered all over the bottom. It's not an issue of oysters per se (Island Creek's survive our winters on the bottom). It's the Row 34's, Aunt Dotty's, and thousands of pieces of gear that would be at risk; therefore, every last one of those little sweeties - in the hundreds of thousands - are placed in root cellars on campus and over at Saquish for a winter's nap in cool damp, root cellars. As far as I know, growers have been pitting oysters since the 1800's (Henry David Thorough observed and wrote about pitting in his book "Cape Cod").

When the first big tides in March or April roll around Favorable temperatures matter), the oysters will come back out of their cellars and return to ICO's grants.

012319 pit2.jpg
012319 pit4.jpg

These pitted oysters are alive and well in the root cellar, however dormant.

Temperature and humidity is important. This picture was taken on one of the single-digit mornings. The root cellar was at 34 degrees with a relative humidity of 80%. That’s pretty darn good!

Temperature and humidity is important. This picture was taken on one of the single-digit mornings. The root cellar was at 34 degrees with a relative humidity of 80%. That’s pretty darn good!


growing an oyster hatchery, pt. 1

Screen Shot 2018-11-03 at 8.11.16 AM.png

Although they much prefer the hatchery-side of the business, this crew is as much farmers as the farmers are! While the hatchery’s been under construction, they’ve worked alongside us out on the bay - working the same hours, the same routines, the same weather - whenever additional support was needed. Their passion runs deep, and their positivity is infectious :-) …

Hannah Pearson, Hatchery Manager

Hannah Pearson, Hatchery Manager

Shawna Chamberlin, Hatchery Technician

Shawna Chamberlin, Hatchery Technician

Emily Fay, Hatchery Technician

Emily Fay, Hatchery Technician

Cat Fillo, Hatchery Technician

Cat Fillo, Hatchery Technician

Nick Keohan, Hatchery Technician

Nick Keohan, Hatchery Technician

Monika Shmuck, Hatchery Technition

Monika Shmuck, Hatchery Technition

Out with the old

Last July, Island Creek’s hatchery closed-shop at its former location on the Maritime School’s campus. Every single piece of gear and equipment was from there to Island Creek’s new facility. It was a painstaking process for the hatchery crew that continued through the early fall. They did it all.

@schambs715

@schambs715

@schambs715

@schambs715

@schambs715

@schambs715

This  was  the former hatchery! @schambs715

This was the former hatchery! @schambs715

In with the new

Construction had to start somewhere, and everybody pitched in. The new hatchery building formerly served as a science lab for Battelle, a global research and development organization, researching marine life sciences here in little ‘ol Duxbury Massachusetts. Battelle sold the 11 acre property, including buildings and facilities to Island Creek in 2017. Battelle’s former research building was completely gutted last fall; construction commenced in December.

120518 wall3.jpg
120518 wall1.jpg
120518 wall2.jpg
#emfay

#emfay

Yours truly, having a little fun.  @emfay

Yours truly, having a little fun. @emfay

#emfay

#emfay

Putting Things Together

122618 hatch4.jpg
122618 hatch8.jpg
122618 hatch7.jpg
122618 hatch2.jpg
122618 hatch1.jpg
122518 emcat1.jpg
122518 emcat2.jpg
122518 nicktim.jpg
011519 teflon4.jpg
011519 teflon5.jpg
012219 nick.jpg
012319 myinvention.jpg
020119 hatch1.jpg
020119 hatch2.jpg
011819 hatch2.jpg
011119 hatch2.jpg
011819 hatch3.jpg
012319 chris.jpg
011819 hatch1.jpg
012319 downstairs2.jpg
012319 downstairs4.jpg

Starting Fresh

012219 algae2.jpg
020319 hannah.jpg

Growing microalgae - oyster food - for the new hatchery

“Broodstock oysters (above and below) are adult oysters (2–3 years old). Male and female oysters are fooled into thinking it’s springtime, because of the temperature-controlled tanks they’re in. They are fed the algae that is grown here,

@schambs715

@schambs715

There’ll be much more cool hatchery stuff to share in upcoming february posts!

hatchery to table.png

so long, january!

cory3.jpg
cory3.jpg
cory3.jpg
cory3.jpg




FEBRUARY - ISLAND CREEK OYSTERS

021318 winter1.jpg
021319 winter2.jpg
021419 joe.jpg
021318 winter3.jpg

  • back to school

  • shellfish harvest classification

  • CCB 45 & 47- ico’s shellfish farming areas

  • growing a hatchery, pt. 2


back to school

I don’t have the financial bandwidth nor, at 66, the time on our beautiful planet to even consider getting into the oyster farm business as a sole-proprietor/operator. However, going back to school (so to speak) would allow me to experience vicariously what it would take, and is something that I can do. Two colleagues of mine at Island Creek, and RWU graduates, sensed my interest in wanting to learn more and got me hooked up with a Roger Williams University 15 week applied shellfish farming course, which happens every Tuesday night for 3 hours on campus, or via a live webinar - which I opted for.

Fifteen weeks + fifteen topics = lots to learn, from shellfish biology to site selection and business management, plus everything in between. I think I’m going to like it.

IMG-6942.jpg
020919 rwu.jpg
020718 webnote.jpg

SHELLFISH HARVEST CLASSIFICATION

… good to know!

If you consume shellfish, you’ll want to learn about the steps the Division Of Marine Fisheries takes to ensure Massachusetts shellfish growing areas are sanitary.

Overview
Here at DMF, one of our top goals is public health protection. That is why we conduct sanitary surveys of shellfish growing areas. These surveys determine whether an area’s shellfish are cleared for human consumption. The principal components of a sanitary survey include an evaluation of pollution sources that may affect an area ... (plus) an evaluation of physical characteristics of the coastal area and weather conditions that may affect distribution of pollutants

— @massmarinefisheries.net
SHELLFISH HARVEST CLASSIFICATION

Approved
A classification used to identify a growing area where harvest for direct marketing is allowed.

Conditionally Approved
A classification used to identify a growing area which meets the criteria, except under certain conditions described in a management plan (e.g. rainfall closures).
Restricted: A classification used to identify a growing area where harvesting shall be required by a special license and the shellstock, following harvest, is subjected to a suitable and effective through relaying or depuration (to make free of impurities).

Conditionally Restricted
A classification used to identify a growing area meets the criteria for the restricted classification except under certain conditions described in a management plan.

Prohibited
A classification used to identify a growing area where the harvest of shellstock for any purpose, except depletion or gathering of seed for aquaculture, is not permitted.
— Roger Williams University, Bristol RI

CCB (CapE Cod Bay) 45 & 47 - ico’s shellfish farming Areas

Okay, I saw a few farmer and hatchery crew members wearing navy blue hoodies and/or baseball caps with “CCB-45” in white block lettering stamped on the back. I didn’t give it much thought, but figured it had to do with the Coast Guard. But when I got around to asking Hannah what CCB 45 stood for, she told me “ … It’s Island Creek’s shellfish classification area”. I did a little digging on CCB-45 and came up with the below.

@massmarinefisheries.net

@massmarinefisheries.net

CCB 47 - ICO’s Back River Nursery Area

Charts on this left-side are screen-shots of ICO’s shellfish classification areas

CCB-45, Back River nursery  @massmarinefisheries.net

CCB-45, Back River nursery @massmarinefisheries.net

Charts on this right-side are nautical charts of the same areas

The blue arrow points to the Back River nursery where seed oysters until their big enough for planting on the bay  @noaa.gov

The blue arrow points to the Back River nursery where seed oysters until their big enough for planting on the bay @noaa.gov

CCB 45 - ICO’s Hunts and Saquish Farming Area

CCB-47, Duxbury Bay @massmarinefisheries.net

CCB-47, Duxbury Bay @massmarinefisheries.net

The green arrow points to the Hunts farm; The red arrow points to the Saquish farm  @noaa.gov

The green arrow points to the Hunts farm; The red arrow points to the Saquish farm @noaa.gov


growing a hatchery, pt. 2

MAKING OYSTERS

During January, I spent a fair amount of time helping the hatchery team with clean-up chores in preparation for oyster spawning. During that time, and into February, I learned a lot about how the hatchery works - which is where everything begins. Thank goodness for me that Hannah and her team (not to mention Ursula and her team on the farm!) have the knowledge and patience to pass along a bunch of really great stuff about the interesting world of oysters! Google and RogerWilliams Univeersity, too …

Life cycle of oysters:

#google images

#google images

FROM LARVAE TO SEED

Larvae (fertilized eggs)
Oysters spend about 14 days as larvae. Larvae are microscopic and free-swimming. Two days after fertilization, oyster larvae already have shells.

Larvae at the AIC are raised in filtered, sterilized seawater so microalgae must be added daily as food.

Juvenile oysters (“spat”)
After about two weeks, larvae are ready to metamorphose, or change, into “spat”, or juvenile oysters.

Newly-metamorphosed oysters are barely visible to the naked eye and are raised in filtered seawater in the Hatchery “downwellers,” where they are fed cultured algae and grown to a more manageable size (about the size of quinoa). After about two weeks, they are moved to “upwellers” in raw seawater and feed on whatever food is naturally available.

Seed oysters
Juvenile oysters are regularly sorted by size, counted, and re-distributed in the upweller nursery to optimize growth and survival. Depending on their intended use, they spend several weeks to several months in the nursery system before being moved as “seed oysters” out to the bay.
— Roger Williams University

Before and after images:

020819 tankroom3.jpg
030119 tanks.jpg

Tank room, which houses plenty of filtered seawater (left) and larvae-rearing tanks (right), among other things.

Oyster food - algae

The specifications of algae grown in the hatchery are that of the specific varieties of algae within Duxbury Bay that Island Creek Oysters eat.

030519 flaskroombefore.jpg
021619 algaeflask.jpg

Flask room - the first step in algae production.

021619 carboy-before.jpg
020919 carboys.jpg

Carboy Room - the second step in algae production.

021619 kroom-before.jpg
030119 ktubes.jpg

K-tube room - the final step in algae production.

021619 tempingwater.jpg

Preparing the oysters to spawn - water temperature is critical.

021619 anticipation2.jpg
021619 anticipation3.jpg
021619 hatchcrew.jpg

Waiting for the big boom!

Top image: male oyster has released his sperm. Bottom image: female oyster has released her eggs. The gametes will be combined in specific proportions, then later stocked into the larvae-rearing tanks.

Top image: male oyster has released his sperm. Bottom image: female oyster has released her eggs. The gametes will be combined in specific proportions, then later stocked into the larvae-rearing tanks.

so long, february!

120218 logo.jpg
120218 logo.jpg
120218 logo.jpg
120218 logo.jpg




HENRY B. BIGELOW - NOAA SURVEY CRUISE

Newport, ri to Cape Hatteras, NC

March 7 thru March 21, 2019

NOAA Ship Henry B. Bigelow (FSV 225)

Henry B. Bigelow supports NOAA’s mission to protect, restore and manage the use of living marine, coastal, and ocean resources through ecosystem-based management. Its primary objective is the study and monitoring of northeast and mid-Atlantic marine fisheries and marine mammals, ranging from Maine to North Carolina. The ship continually reports weather, sea state, and other environmental conditions while at sea. The Henry B. Bigelow contributes data to the Shipboard Automated Meteorological and Oceanographic System (SAMOS) every day the ship is at sea.
— National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

NOTE TO FAMILY & FRIENDS ANNOUNCING CRUISE

Hi Family!
- I’m aboard the NOAA research vessel Bigelow as a volunteer to work alongside scientists for two weeks.. We’re departing from Newport at 3:00 this afternoon, and will be returning on March 21st. Rather than explaining how-and-why I’m doing this, I’ll simply fast-forward to this one fact: I am a very fortunate person!!.
- I’ve opened up my photo-blog as a place to dump my pictures, and will begin to post stories shortly :) You can check it out at https://www.oatbay00.com/news

See you when I get back!
— Bob

Are you crazy?

me.jpg

“Are you crazy?” I hope not. “It’s gotta be a mid-life thing” Impossible. I’m too old!! What sort of experience do you have?” Very little. “Then why are you doing it?” Well … it’s kind of a long story, so let me begin with what I said on NOAA’S Volunteer Application Form “Comment” section below:

I was born in Newton, Massachusetts, grew up in southern Berkshire County, and spent every summer from when I was a little kid through my college years, catching striper, mackerel, and cod from my Gramp’s boat, the Laurie Joan, out of Ipswich, Massachusetts. I’ve always had an affection for the sea and it’s beauty. I’ve done extensive sailing throughout New England, and crewed on a 38 foot ketch for delivery from NYC to Jamaica. I retired from Panera Bread last January and have been farming for Island Creek Oysters in Duxbury since last July. Prior to farming, I was a sternman on a commercial lobster boat for four months out of Scituate, Massachusetts. - Side-note: My great grandfather was a commercial fisherman out of Lubec, Maine; his wife worked in one of Lubec’s sardine canneries.
— Bob

First Impressions

journal entry, day 1

March 7. Drove to Falmouth 545am with all my gear to hook up with a bunch of other volunteers, techs, and scientists for an hour’s ride to the Newport Navy Yard where the Bigelow was waiting. Found a bakery in E. Falmouth and got coffee to-go. Loaded gear into van then headed out. Boarded around 930am. Bunkmates are Joe, Justin & Paul - all very nice. Everyone I’ve met so far are relaxed and welcoming. Getting acclimated to ship, living quarters, etc. Cold day around 19* plus big winds. There’s not a whole lot to share about day-1, except that I was blown away with excitement and anticipation when I walked up the gang-plank and onto this amazing vessel. I was naturally disoriented and lost sight of the rest of the crew as they made their way to check-in and drop their stuff off in our assigned state rooms - much smaller that a college dorm room yet very efficient. My room sleeps four of us in two separate bunk beds. All state rooms have plenty of space for stowing gear, plus a work-station with TV/Computer and a head with toilet, sink and shower. Apart from a general orientation to the ship, and a discussion of protocols, etc., not much happened for the rest of the afternoon. We were supposed to cast off today, but as it turned out, our departure was postponed until 3:30 on the 8th. Most of the science crew drove back home for the night. I was happy to stay behind to get more comfortable with all the passageways that go to all corners of the ship. The Bigelow measures 206 feet and has four decks, so there was lots to see, and lots of places to get lost.
— Bob

Welcome Aboard

boarding2.jpg
boarding.jpg

Passageway To State Room 1-32-1

State Room.jpg
toroom3.jpg
toroom6.jpg
toroom4.jpg
totoom5.jpg
Crew.jpg

Another Day Off

Journal entry, day 2

March 8. Up at 500am. Made coffee at mess hall & had breakfast around 700am. Explored ship and took lotsd of pics. Went for long walk around the Navy base. Very cold, around 22* & windy again.
set out at 330, exciting. Stayed awake until midnight nto prepare for my noon to midnight. Nicole took me, Justin, and Sarah through wet lab stuff. Turns out won’t be able to set off until tomorrow sometime. Pre-sail system calibrations underway. I had pretty much all day to myself. I took a bunch of pictures and went for a long walk around the base. Everyone who decided to spend last night at home returned early this afternoon, and we departed at around 3:30 for the first leg of the trip to somewhere off of Cape May. Today’s sail was focused mainly on calibrating and validating that all sorts of gear, winches, trawls, nets, navigation - you name it - was fully operational. It was bright blue outside, but the temperature peaked to just 22 degrees, and it was windy, but that was outside. The inside was beautifully climate controlled. I watched a little TV, went to the ship’s gym, then turned in at 830pm.

March 9: day 3

Notes to self

wet notes.jpg
note to self.jpg
ready bag 1.jpg
ready bag 2.jpg

Journal entry

March 9 - Bed at midnight, up at 700am. Restless. Breakfast at 730am. Nice talk with ships steward Dennis. Calibration work still underway as we steam past Block Island toward NJ. Walked around ship staying clear of hard hat areas. Hung out on bridge - great views. Showered & packed “ready-bag” for tomorrow. It’s 1000pm as I write this. Will work on blog then crash at midnight. Trawling begins sometime tomorrow.
— Bob

Steaming South

The Bigelow’s position at 800am. We left Newport at 330pm yesterday and steamed all night. The ship operates 24/7, so assignments are split into 2 twelve-hour shifts, noon to midnight or midnight to noon; I drew the noon to midnight card. Seas have been really smooth; it hardly feels like the ship is moving (though I’ve heard that Sunday/Monday may be a different story).


The Bigelow’s position at 800am. We left Newport at 330pm yesterday and steamed all night. The ship operates 24/7, so assignments are split into 2 twelve-hour shifts, noon to midnight or midnight to noon; I drew the noon to midnight card. Seas have been really smooth; it hardly feels like the ship is moving (though I’ve heard that Sunday/Monday may be a different story).

The Bigelow’s position at 200pm. Since yesterday, we steamed from off-shore New Jersey to the Chesapeake Bay area. Near here we transferred two NOAA engineers onto another vessel at around 330pm.

The Bigelow’s position at 200pm. Since yesterday, we steamed from off-shore New Jersey to the Chesapeake Bay area. Near here we transferred two NOAA engineers onto another vessel at around 330pm.

When the Bigelow is near the center of the concentric circle, it’s “on-station” where we will trawl. The green icon at the lower-left is the Bigelow’s position on-approach.

When the Bigelow is near the center of the concentric circle, it’s “on-station” where we will trawl. The green icon at the lower-left is the Bigelow’s position on-approach.

General areas AROUND the ship

Trawls and Rigging

9adamnetcalibration.jpg