Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Our Wandering Path

When we were traveling in the South Pacific, I kept a map that showed each day's position.  The map just showed a straight line path that connected each position, but did not show how we got from point A to point B.  It thought it would be nice to actually show our daily paths, which some of our overachieving blogger friends have been doing for some time.  It has taken some work to get this working, but I am now satisfied with the results.  If you click on the Track Us link near the top of the page, you will be taken to a page that shows not only where we are, but how we go there.

If you look very closely at the paths in Maine, you may think that the skipper was drunk with all the wanderings to and fro. But, there is a reason for this.  There is one thing that Maine is famous for above all other things, and that is lobsters.  And to catch lobsters, you need pots.  Lots of pots.  "Billions and Billions" of pots.  Well not quite that many, but you begin to think so after a while.  Depending on what you read, there are reported to be between 2 and 3 million pots in the water in the state.  And this in a state that has a population of only 1.3 million!

On the positive side, the fishermen are all using weighted line instead of floating line, which makes it a lot harder to snag one.  On the down side, many of the pots have two floats.  One, called a toggle, is between the pot and the float at the end of the line.  These two floats have about 50' of line between them, and if there is any wind or current, this line is stretched out just below the surface waiting to wrap around your keel and be sucked into your prop.  Every fisherman uses a different set of colors and patterns to uniquely identify his own gear, but often the two floats are different colors, which makes it harder to know where you can slip through.  And some fishermen have made the rather unfortunate choice of using blue or green floats, which tend to disappear in the bright sun.  And more than a few floats don't quite reach the surface.  One of these submerged blue floats went through our prop, but fortunately, it didn't get wrapped around the shaft.

This picture shows an area where the floats aren't too thick.  We tried to go into one bay where the pots were so thick as to be impassable.  We had to turn around and leave.


And when you add fog to the mix, it can get interesting.

So now you know why is appears that I can't drive straight.  (It's because I can't drive straight.)

-Bill

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