HENRY B. BIGELOW - NOAA SURVEY CRUISE #2

Newport, RI to Georges Bank, Atlantic Ocean

October 9 through October 25, 2019

Georges Bank (formerly known as St. Georges Bank) is a large elevated area of the sea floor between Cape Cod, Massachusetts (United States), and Cape Sable Island, Nova Scotia (Canada). It separates the Gulf of Maine from the Atlantic Ocean.

GB.png

Tuesday, October 8

Drove to Newport to obtain clearance onto Navy Yard and board the Bigelow for tomorrow’s departure. Due to gale force weather, departure was until Saturday morning.

Dangerous wind speeds.

Dangerous wind speeds.

Threatening wave heights.

Threatening wave heights.

A calmer view of the Cape Cod and Georges Bank area.

A calmer view of the Cape Cod and Georges Bank area.

The Bigelow, Wednesday morning.

The Bigelow, Wednesday morning.


1012 dryL

1012 wetL


1012 sunrise1

1013 sunrise2


1014 weather1

1014 weather2


Living Arrangements

berth.jpg

Staterooms aboard the Bigelow accommodate two scientists with a common head (bathroom) and shower. Each stateroom is equipped with a computer and satellite TV. Sometimes scientists will share a stateroom with a member of the ship's crew. Stateroom assignments are made to minimize traffic due to alternating watches (shifts). When you go on watch, you should take everything you will need with you. A backpack or other bag is something you may want to bring to carry books, an extra set of clothing, MP3 player, etc. You will not be allowed to enter your room while members of the opposite watch are sleeping. Keep in mind that when you are up, others are sleeping, so please keep noise in all passageways to a minimum. An often overlooked problem is noise resulting from items not securely stowed in drawers and closets - the ship's motion will cause loose objects to roll or bang around. Please stow your gear and personal items with this in mind.

Work Schedule

Dry Lab:

Dry Lab:

Wet Lab:

Wet Lab:

“The scientific work schedule consists of two twelve-hour shifts or "watches" conducted around the clock seven days a week. For cruises on the Bigelow and , the "day" watch works from noon to midnight; the "night" watch is on duty from midnight to noon. Sleeping scientists are issued wake-up calls one hour before you are required to be on deck ready to begin work. It is expected and appreciated that you show up on deck ten minutes prior to your official starting time”

The Work On Deck

“The work on deck will vary depending on the mission of your particular cruise. The work routine will be outlined at the pre-cruise meeting. Demonstrations of our electronic data collection system known as FSCS and when appropriate a fish identification workshop will held once underway.

There is a volunteer presentation available on the Ecosystems Surveys Branch website that covers work on deck in great detail. Also, we ask that all first-time sailors familiarize themselves with FSCS, our electronic data collection system, this is covered in the presentation under "The Computer System Operations".

“It may take a while for first-timers to gain familiarity with fish identifications or other assignments. This is expected by the experienced staff, so first-timers should not be overly concerned. Don't be afraid to ask questions of your Watch Chief or the other watch members regarding procedures or fish identification. The motion of the ship during rough weather can make work on deck hazardous - work carefully. Ensure your wear a life jacket and hard hat whenever you are on deck and gear is being deployed”.

“Most of the twelve-hour watch is spent working on your feet. Past volunteers have commented that the work can be fairly intense and strenuous. There will be some "steaming" time between stations, and a chance for the scientists to grab a coffee and a few minutes off their feet. Occasionally, weather delays or long steams will allow for more down time”.

“In the event of extreme weather (high winds, large seas, hurricane) the ship will either come into the nearest port or jog (ride bow into the seas) until the seas calm down. The Captain makes this decision based on conditions, expected duration of the event and proximity of land in order to ensure the safety of personnel and the ship”.

Meals

“You'll be served breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. The meals aboard all vessels are excellent. In addition, snacks, fresh fruits, soups, sandwich fixings, and beverages (coffee, tea, juices, milk, cocoa) are available around the clock”.

A few rules regarding the mess area and galley protocol:

  • Foul-weather gear should never be worn in the galley or mess area, not even for a quick cup of coffee.

  • Shirts and proper footwear must be worn at all times in mess area.

  • Caps, hats, swimsuits and tank tops should not be worn in mess area.

  • On all vessels, scientists are expected to clear their dishes and silverware from table after meals.

  • Silverware and plates used for sandwiches, snacks, etc. should not be removed from mess area.

  • Return all coffee and drink cups to the galley when finished.

  • Lingering in the mess area after eating is discourteous to those waiting to eat or to the stewards waiting to clean up”.

What to Bring

“As far as personal clothing is concerned, old or used work clothes should be worn - the work can get messy. The amount of clothing worn will depend upon the season, but temperatures over the open water are usually much cooler than on land, and nights are cooler still. No matter what the season, its best to wear layers. That way you are prepared for a wide range of temperatures. In addition, the wind is always blowing, anything from a light breeze to a real blow. Sweatshirts, Polartec jackets, down vests, wool hats or beanies, baseball caps in summer, thermal underwear and warm socks are common dress items”. For stowing purposes, duffel bags are preferred over bulky suitcases”.

Salt water, sun, and wind combine to create a harsh and drying environment for human skin and hair. Your skin, hands in particular, can become drier than you would expect. Skin lotion, lip balm and hair conditioner should find their way into the sea-bags of those who are sensitive to the elements. On the southern cruises during warm weather, insect repellent is something handy to have. If you are taking any sort of medication or have any medical condition, you should inform the medical officer upon sailing. Be sure to bring along an adequate supply of your medication and/or pain reliever. Don't forget your toothbrush.

 Stress At Sea

Getting a good night's sleep is important to alleviating stress at sea. These tips will help.

  • Use ear plugs or eye shades to eliminate ship's noise and daytime light levels as sleep-robbing stimuli.

  • In rough seas, use your life preserver to "wedge" yourself against your bunk rail to avoid being tossed around.

  • Exercise to dissipate tension and relax muscles, but not immediately before retiring.

  • Pay attention to your diet; proteins (meats, fish, eggs, etc.) are harder to digest and should not be eaten prior to sleep. Carbohydrates (spaghetti, pancakes, oatmeal, etc.) can be more easily digested while sleeping, and make a better pre-sleep meal.

Although the benefits of a well-balanced, nutritious diet and regular exercise are well known, it was suggested that people refrain from initiating weight-loss diets or exercise programs at sea (maintenance of established programs is encouraged).

Bring treats from home (e.g. soda, candy, or gum) along to minimize the sense of deprivation of creature comforts that may occur.

Often stress at sea centers around human relations. Two or three weeks at sea working intensely with a small group of people under difficult conditions can often lead to conflict and tension. Communication is often the solution; the Chief Scientist and Watch Chiefs are there to assist and referee. Talk things out rather than letting them fester inside. A final consideration regarding stress at sea: as with seasickness, stressful situations are temporary and are a part of life at sea. Many people find that dealing with and overcoming stress is a stimulating and rewarding part of their sea-going experience.


Work Schedule

The scientific work schedule consists of two twelve-hour shifts or "watches" conducted around the clock seven days a week. For cruises on the Bigelow and , the "day" watch works from noon to midnight; the "night" watch is on duty from midnight to noon. Sleeping scientists are issued wake-up calls one hour before you are required to be on deck ready to begin work. It is expected and appreciated that you show up on deck ten minutes prior to your official starting time.

The Work On Deck

The work on deck will vary depending on the mission of your particular cruise. The work routine will be outlined at the pre-cruise meeting. Demonstrations of our electronic data collection system known as FSCS and when appropriate a fish identification workshop will held once underway.

There is a volunteer presentation available on the Ecosystems Surveys Branch website that covers work on deck in great detail. Also, we ask that all first-time sailors familiarize themselves with FSCS, our electronic data collection system, this is covered in the presentation under "The Computer System Operations".

It may take a while for first-timers to gain familiarity with fish identifications or other assignments. This is expected by the experienced staff, so first-timers should not be overly concerned. Don't be afraid to ask questions of your Watch Chief or the other watch members regarding procedures or fish identification. The motion of the ship during rough weather can make work on deck hazardous - work carefully. Ensure your wear a life jacket and hard hat whenever you are on deck and gear is being deployed.

With little exception on Bigelow cruise, most of the twelve-hour watch is spent working on your feet. Past volunteers have commented that the work can be fairly intense and strenuous. There will be some "steaming" time between stations, and a chance for the scientists to grab a coffee and a few minutes off their feet. Occasionally, weather delays or long steams will allow for more down time.

In the event of extreme weather (high winds, large seas, hurricane) the ship will either come into the nearest port or jog (ride bow into the seas) until the seas calm down. The Captain makes this decision based on conditions, expected duration of the event and proximity of land in order to ensure the safety of personnel and the ship.

Meals

You'll be served breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. The meals aboard all vessels are excellent. In addition, snacks, fresh fruits, soups, sandwich fixings, and beverages (coffee, tea, juices, milk, cocoa) are available around the clock.

A few rules regarding the mess area and galley protocol:

  • Foul-weather gear should never be worn in the galley or mess area, not even for a quick cup of coffee.

  • Shirts and proper footwear must be worn at all times in mess area.

  • Caps, hats, swimsuits and tank tops should not be worn in mess area.

  • On all vessels, scientists are expected to clear their dishes and silverware from table after meals.

  • Silverware and plates used for sandwiches, snacks, etc. should not be removed from mess area.

  • Return all coffee and drink cups to the galley when finished.

  • Lingering in the mess area after eating is discourteous to those waiting to eat or to the stewards waiting to clean up.

What to Bring

 Foul-weather gear or rain gear (jacket, bib-overalls and boots) is provided, as are gloves and glove liners. When providing your size, keep in mind that you will have to fit heavy clothing or two pairs of socks under your foul weather gear for warmth during cold weather. The boot sizing varies according to manufacturer. It's always better to go with a size larger if uncertain.

As far as personal clothing is concerned, old or used work clothes should be worn - the work can get messy. The amount of clothing worn will depend upon the season, but temperatures over the open water are usually much cooler than on land, and nights are cooler still. No matter what the season, its best to wear layers. That way you are prepared for a wide range of temperatures. In addition, the wind is always blowing, anything from a light breeze to a real blow. Sweatshirts, Polartec jackets, down vests, wool hats or beanies, baseball caps in summer, thermal underwear and warm socks are common dress items.

Summer cruises tend to be cooler than days on land, but there can also be very hot days depending on the wind and latitude of your cruise. Bear in mind that you will often be working in the sun for hours at a time in the summer, so bring sun block, a hat and sunglasses.

A lot of time is spent climbing in and out of your boots. Slip-on (versus tie) shoes will save you time and energy. For safety reasons, open toed are not to be worn aboard the vessel except in your stateroom. This includes clogs, Crocs, flip-flops or any other variation of open toed shoe.

Hats (wool or baseball) and a long-sleeved shirt must be worn during ship emergency drills.

Each ship has laundry facilities and detergent is provided. Being able to do laundry may help you decide how much clothing to pack. The exception to this is for cruises on the Sharp, where laundry may be limited to one load per week.

For stowing purposes, duffel bags are preferred over bulky suitcases.

Salt water, sun, and wind combine to create a harsh and drying environment for human skin and hair. Your skin, hands in particular, can become drier than you would expect. Skin lotion, lip balm and hair conditioner should find their way into the sea-bags of those who are sensitive to the elements. On the southern cruises during warm weather, insect repellent is something handy to have. If you are taking any sort of medication or have any medical condition, you should inform the medical officer upon sailing. Be sure to bring along an adequate supply of your medication and/or pain reliever. Don't forget your toothbrush.

 Stress At Sea

Getting a good night's sleep is important to alleviating stress at sea. These tips will help.

  • Use ear plugs or eye shades to eliminate ship's noise and daytime light levels as sleep-robbing stimuli.

  • In rough seas, use your life preserver to "wedge" yourself against your bunk rail to avoid being tossed around.

  • Exercise to dissipate tension and relax muscles, but not immediately before retiring.

  • Pay attention to your diet; proteins (meats, fish, eggs, etc.) are harder to digest and should not be eaten prior to sleep. Carbohydrates (spaghetti, pancakes, oatmeal, etc.) can be more easily digested while sleeping, and make a better pre-sleep meal.

Although the benefits of a well-balanced, nutritious diet and regular exercise are well known, it was suggested that people refrain from initiating weight-loss diets or exercise programs at sea (maintenance of established programs is encouraged).

Bring treats from home (e.g. soda, candy, or gum) along to minimize the sense of deprivation of creature comforts that may occur.

Often stress at sea centers around human relations. Two or three weeks at sea working intensely with a small group of people under difficult conditions can often lead to conflict and tension. Communication is often the solution; the Chief Scientist and Watch Chiefs are there to assist and referee. Talk things out rather than letting them fester inside. A final consideration regarding stress at sea: as with seasickness, stressful situations are temporary and are a part of life at sea. Many people find that dealing with and overcoming stress is a stimulating and rewarding part of their sea-going experience.


HENRY B. BIGELOW - NOAA SURVEY CRUISE #1

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
9hammering.jpg
0310 RIGGING3.jpg
0308 door.jpg

Oceanographic Winches

0311 WINCH1.jpg
0311 WINCH3.jpg

Bridge

03 16 Bridge 2.jpg
0318 bridge 2.jpg
0308 bridge 1.jpg

Wet Lab

0311 FISHLAB2.jpg
0311 FISH LAB5.jpg
0311 FISH LAB 4.jpg
-310 FISHLAB1.jpg

Video:

Dry Lab

0310 MARK.jpg
0311 DRY LAB.jpg

Video:

Acoustic/Computer Lab

computer room1.jpg
computer room2.jpg

Trawls, CTB, & Bongo

0310 NET.jpg
0310 NETS.jpg
0311 BONGO.jpg
0311 PLANKTON2.jpg
0311 PLANKTON1.jpg

JOURNAL ENTRY, Day 4

March 10 - Up at 800am. Today was the day my shift received its first trawl into the fish lab. It began just like our previous shifts: quiet. Late in the afternoon the Bigelow would be on-station somewhere off of Nags Head, NC bringing in our first run. I the meantime we had a few uninterrupted hours to catch up emails, books, games, gym, or enjoying the great weather on deck. have lunch, then get ready for first shift. Because systems were still being tested, there wasn’t any work in the Fish Lab, so the crew that share my watch were on standby in the dry-lab most of the time reading, listening to music, or playing games. Every hour I would take 10 minutes and go to the ship’s gym to ride the stationary bike for 10 minutes, or go up to the bridge to get some fresh air. At one point this afternoon Phil - who’s the program lead - stopped by the dry lab. He talked about what’s behind a successful trawl-run, and the coordination of internal and external systems involved that dragging the huge nets has to meet operationally.
— Bob

Chillin’

… reading

… reading

… writing

… writing

… ‘rithmetic

… ‘rithmetic

… fishing off the stern

… fishing off the stern

… yoga on the flying bridge

… yoga on the flying bridge

… shuffle board in the wet lab

… shuffle board in the wet lab

… surprise!

… surprise!

… shootin’ the breeze

… shootin’ the breeze

… or just hanging out

… or just hanging out


streaming & haul back

Streaming

streaming monitor.jpg
0311 TRAWL2.jpg

Haul Back


journal entry, day 5

March 11 - I experienced my first trawl “streaming” and “haul-back” yesterday, and was glad that the catches weren’t very big (I was able to process what was happening end-to-end in the fish lab without being completely freaked out).

Yesterday began like the previous: not much happening while the final calibrations were buttoning up. Then, the science work began in the late afternoon. When preparations were completed, the trawl was winched from 36 meters deep (over 100 feet) onto the deck at the stern while the ship motored ahead at three knots. Because I was up at 800am in bed at 100am, and with my watch being noon to midnight, I was awake for 17 hours; amazingly I was pretty refreshed through most of it.
— Bob

What’s a trawl?

trawl image.jpg
Trawls are enormous, cone-shaped nets that are towed by one or sometimes two boats. As the net is towed, it herds and captures thousands of fish and other creatures. The net is wide at the mouth and then narrows to a bag or ‘cod-end’, where the fish are trapped. When towed by a single vessel, heavy wood or steel doors on each side of the net (called “otter boards”) or a solid beam, hold the mouth of the net open. The spread of the trawl net can be up to 330 feet (100 meters) wide and 40 feet (12 meters) high1. Picture it this way – a net as wide as a football field and higher than a three-story house.
— @safinacenter.org

Standing-by to receive a catch

0213 WORK STATION 2.jpg
0313 WORK STATION 1.jpg
0311 JUSTUN JACOB.jpg
0313 ADAM.jpg
0311 MARK.jpg
0317 phil.jpg
0313 PEOPLE2.jpg
0313 PEOPLE 3.jpg
0311 FISH LAB 6.jpg
0311 FUSH LAB 8.jpg
0312 BELT.jpg
0312 FISH LAB 1.jpg
0312 JOHN.jpg
0312 SUNFISH.jpg
03123 CRAB.jpg
0311 FISH LAB 7.jpg
0311 RAY.jpg
0313 DOGDISH.jpg
0312 FISH LAB 3.jpg
0312 FISH LAB 4.jpg

March 13/14: day-7/8

0314 DO;PHIN 2.jpg
0314 DOLPHIN 1.jpg

A Holy Crap Haul

IMG-8014 (2).jpg
0313 SHARK 2.jpg
0313 A.jpg
0313 SHARK 1.jpg
0313 SHARK 3.jpg
0313 SHARK 4.jpg
0313 PHIL.jpg
0313 NICKY.jpg

March 15/16: day-9/10

IMG-8390.jpg
IMG-8392.jpg
0317 the belt.jpg
0317 justin.jpg


03128 cards 3.jpg
0318 cards1.jpg
0318 cards 2.jpg
0317 sarah.jpg
sarah 2.jpg
sarah 3.jpg

March 21: almost home

0317 heading home.jpg
Position 1.jpg
port hole.jpg
Position 2.jpg
bridge junk.jpg
Position 3.jpg
bongo CTD.jpg
Position 4.jpg
0321 coming home 1.jpg
Position 5.jpg
0321 coming home 2.jpg
Position 6.jpg


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 I’ll grow 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