Everything You Wanted to Know About Lobstering, Even If You Didn't Know You Wanted To Know It

Sam and I vacationed to New England last fall for our 20th anniversary. We loved it so much that we instantly knew we needed to share it with the kids. So here we are, in New England, sharing it. In case anyone missed me up in here, it's why I've been MIA all week. The rented house we had for the last several days didn't have free WiFi. No worries, the kids survived.

One of the super-duper fun things we found to do was lobstering. An online search back in February helped me stumble upon Lucky Catch Cruises, and since they only take 14 people on the boat to ensure that everyone has a hands-on experience, I called immediately to book our reservation. Given that we were half that crowd, I didn't want to miss out on space. And approximately every third week in the following four months, I'd worry about whether or not Micah would freak out while on the boat.

We've talked about taking a Disney cruise at some point, but the whole "what will Micah do when he's out on open water" thing was a question we weren't willing to spend thousands of dollars on to find out. That one time we were driving across the Bay Bridge on the way to Delaware and Micah started to freak out because we were just a bit too far from land to make him feel comfortable still sticks in our minds and makes us nervous to take the boy on a boat for several days on end. It's not like Disney will turn around and head for shore, or send a helicopter to pick up panicky cruisers. So I was hesitant about taking Micah on the lobster cruise, but figured that ruining a 90 minute excursion with a panic attack and wasting $15 on his ticket was far FAR better than just jumping in with both feet on a Disney cruise.

The big day finally arrived that the kids had been anticipating for months. (Seriously. They were. This lobstering thing sounded like a good time had by all, even before a good time was had.) We rescheduled three times due to weather once we were here, but we finally hit a non-rainy day and headed out to sea. One of the first thing they did was dole out protective wet gear. Micah was none too happy about that, but when he realized it was standard issue for everyone, he was okay with it. Orange was his color of the day and he wore it with pride.

The captain was amazing. He included everyone in the work, making sure we each had a hand in the all-important job of lobstering. Micah had several hands in, and the other passengers were super kind in not complaining about that fact.

The first thing you do is fill bait bags with herring. Five fish go in each bait bag, and then you pull the draw string closed. Micah proudly counted to five while someone held a bag for him.

Then the captain pulled in a buoy and reeled in the traps attached to it. He'd pull out the lobsters or crabs that were in it and told us all about them. The crabs went back into the bay. We got to do that.

The captain showed us how to measure lobsters to see if they were big enough to keep. If they weren't, they, too, went back into the bay. 

Yep. We got to do that as well.

If they were of legal size, they were keepers. They needed their claws banded to keep them from injuring each other while in the holding tank, and we got to help with that. 

Those are Becky's hands doing the work there. We learned lobsters have a dominant claw like people have a dominant hand. The dominant gets two bands because it's strong enough to crush another lobster's claw, or pinch it right off. That happens a lot, apparently. Several lobsters we pulled up were limbless. And those claws grow back! See the new growth? Fascinating.

We learned how to tell a male from a female, and that not all females will lay eggs. When one is found that has eggs, she is marked with a nick on a tail fin so that anyone who ever catches her in the future will know to put her right back where she came from so that she can make more lobsters. It's the law. And wouldn't you know it, we were fortunate enough to catch a female with eggs. She was unmarked, so we also got to watch and see how to do that.

(See the eggs all over the underside of that girl? No? Look closer. The muddy looking round things. Yep. Tons of them.)

Once the lobsters are measured, banded and/or let go, we then get to re-bait the traps. First you remove the old bait bags. Remember the five herring? The lobsters were in the trap eating them through the bait bag, so at this point the day-old herring are nothing but smelly, rotting fish corpses. The seagulls loved this part, because you dumped that mess overboard.

That's Luke, getting ready to dump a smelly mess overboard.

And those are the seagulls, glad that he did his job. Those seagulls freaked Becky out quite a bit because she has a phobia of birds that swarm and flock near her. Micah does as well, and yet that boy told me he wanted one to land on his arm. The sea does magical things to him.

Once the old bait bag is removed, you tie the new one with fresh herring inside the trap and close the lid.

And then the only thing left to do is toss that trap overboard.

And then you do it all over again until all the traps have been checked. And Micah was right there in the thick of it every time, wanting to do All The Jobs. And between jobs, he hung over the rail watching the water splash against the boat as we cruised the harbor. I was right there, too, with a death grip on his overall straps. The captain was right there piloting the boat, panicking a bit over the boy's obvious lack of fear.

And then when we were all done and the flattering orange gear was given back, Micah realized what was on his shirt. He was so excited that he had to point it out to the captain.

And it's official that the boy loves water. We're now a little worried that if we'd ever take a Disney cruise, we'd never get Micah to go inside to bed. But there are worse things, like freaking out in a panic attack because you have sand on your feet.

Oh, wait, that's our boy, too.

1 comment:

Kris Hurford said...

LOVE it! I have a son with Autism and I never know which way things will swing in a given situation...so glad Micah had a great time lobstering! :-)