A funny thing happened today. First thing in the morning, at about 6:30, I had just woken up about 10 minutes earlier. Sleeping in – after being out all night the night before that – more on that next time!
But this morning I was waking up in a small shallow cove just inside Dyer Bay, which is a little bit east of Schoodic Peninsula, which is just east of Acadia. It’s beautiful. A small lobster boat was hauling traps right nearby, and I decided to try for a lobster. They came over, and dropped a nice sized lobster in my bucket. I handed the skipper $10, which is pretty seriously overpaying, especially when the price he quoted was “a couple dollars,” but it makes me crazy how hard the lobster folks work for such minimal gain, when the lobsters cost so much retail. This friendly older guy with a tremendous Maine accent said that was too much, looking a bit distressed, but I said hey, you delivered to my boat! He offered me a second lobster, so I said okay, and he had his crew guy pick out a smaller one, which was tossed unceremoniously on top of the one already in the bucket. We talked for another minute, and off they went.
I looked at that second lobster, and thought about my slightly complicated lobster cooking arrangement, and plans for sailing off this morning. Before I went back in the cabin to finish waking up and do morning things I told the second, smaller, lobster that it was going to go free, and have a chance to go grow up a little more.
Later, ready to properly start the day, I was having some second thoughts about turning lobster number two loose, thinking that it might be really nice to have a nice big lobster meal. But then I thought, well, I told that lobster I was going to turn it loose, and that would be lousy to go back on that, especially considering the consequences for the lobster. And I thought about my cooking arrangement, and that what I really need is a pair of tongs, if I’m going to cook more than one of these creatures.
For cooking, I use a small propane stove with a gimbaling arrangement so things won’t spill when the boat rolls. It doesn’t hold a broad pot, so I have a narrow somewhat deep one. It turns out that for lobster, if I do in the lobster first and then separate the claws and tail from the body it will all fit, just. An inch of water in the bottom of the pot is enough to steam it, and the whole business comes out really good. I think it’s tastier actually, compared to boiled in salt water which is more the standard. But for two lobsters, it’s going to be complicated… the pieces are very, very hot, when it’s time to get them out of the pot, and only one lobster will fit at a time.
And then there’s that I made that promise. So when I was getting ready to go, out came lobster number two, rubber bands snipped off its claws, and over the side. I hope it knows enough not to run right back into another trap! Lobster number one stayed in the bucket, with hopes that it would hang in through a few hours of sailing.
As it turned out, it took until about three o’clock to get to where I am now – Northeast Cove at Dyer Island (which, oddly enough, is not in Dyer Bay, but a couple of bays over.) As I was anchoring in this truly beautiful spot, which is much better protected than last night, there was one other boat, a fairly small powerboat on a mooring, and a skiff with several people on shore. When they came back to their boat we had a little fun chatting about who was from where – most of them were from North Carolina, and the boat skipper said he brings people out here for lobster cookouts on the beach. Just before they left, next thing you know they said that they had two lobsters left over, and would I like them? Two lobsters, already cooked!
Now I’ve had dinner – two lobsters, served intact. What a gift, especially after what turned into six hours of sailing! Lobster number one from this morning was looking like it wasn’t doing so well after the day in the bucket, but now that the boat is stationary I was able to get out the wire mesh fish basket. Lobster in basket, over the side, and an hour later it’s looking quite feisty again.
So this has been my day – I reluctantly let go of the idea of two lobsters for dinner, turned that little one loose, and set off. And ended up having two lobsters for dinner, with one left over for tomorrow! Miraculous.