I spent the last week or so in Maine. How wonderful it was to step out of the heat and humidity of North Carolina, if only for a short while, and enjoy the rugged coast of this northern state that was once part of Massachusetts. My family and I sailed there several summers when I was young, and I remember the cold water and the great lobster! My true purpose for the trip was to gather background information for my next book, which is already underway, so we visited a number of harbor towns for descriptions, the peat bog and the University of Maine in Orono, and I interviewed both a lobsterman and a sail maker.
We stayed in my favorite harbor town, Boothbay Harbor, for most of the week, and I learned that Damariscove Island, which lies outside of Boothbay and was first settled in 1604 as a commericial enterprise, was where the Pilgrims came in the spring of 1622, asking for assistance. They were provided with a boatload of cod.
The interview with the lobsterman, Captain Clive Farrin, was on his boat and I got to see firsthand the retrieval of lobster traps, the culling of lobsters by size and sex, and the baiting and return of the traps to the seabed. Lobstermen are true conservationists, and perhaps that is why the lobster haul has increased each year. Maine now provides over 50% of all the lobsters caught in the US. Fascinating stuff, but even better was the description of lobster economics, all of which I intend to put into an article.
My interview with the sail maker was another highlight. Nathaniel Wilson has been making sails the old fashioned way – by hand and not computer – since 1975 and stepping into his loft was like a trip back in time. Many of his sails are made for old square riggers and historical boats – the USS Constellation, the Eagle, and the Mayflower II, to name a few. His work is a combination of science and art and it was clear from talking to him that he is an artist with few rivals.
So now I need to get back to work and you are left to guess what will be in my next book about Rhe Brewster.
PS If any of you have now read my books, you know where these interviews show up!