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Page 18. MAINE COASTAL NEWS January 2013 Boat And Ship Yard News they do.


Next comes chapters on “The Amazing American Lobster,” and “How to Catch a Lobster,” with more defi nitions of terms used. She does explain why some boats are rigged to haul on the port side and others to starboard saying that this is due to whether they are left or right-handed. I am not sure I agree totally. I have seen right-handed fi sh- erman haul from the portside. The determin- ing factor seems to be how they were brought up. Some harbors haul predominately one way. Now is that because the original person hauled that way and they just continued the trend? We need more research.


HOW TO CATCH A LOBSTER IN DOWNEAST MAINE By Christina Lemieux Oragano 2012; 159 Pages; $16.99 History Press Charleston, SC


There are many that live along the Maine coast, some even live in a lobster fi shing community, that do not know the ins-and-outs of lobster fi shing. I remember one person from Beals Island tell me he had heard this local lady tell friends that they would open the doors to the lobster pound and that is how lobsters got in there. She was serious. Lobster fi shing is not just going out early in the morning, bait the traps, throw them over the side and lobsters will just jump in. The good fi shermen understand the basics like when and where the lobsters are going to be at certain times of the year. So, for those that do not know there is a book just for you, “How To Catch a Lobster In Downeast Maine.”


Christina begins her book with a brief history of lobster fi shing in Maine discuss- ing the evolution from food for the poor to the premier product of the Maine Coast. She touches on the canneries, markets and decreased landings. For those that did not grow up around lobster fi shing, you need to learn their language so she has included a chapter on the common words and phrases. Then there are the frequently asked ques- tions. Now some we can understand, but others just show how dumb people are. How about “Why do you park all your boats in the same direction in the harbor? The best one I heard was when a fi sherman in Belfast was asked how big this lake was. The fi sherman told him it went all the way to England. It is not surprise the tourists get responses like


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After discussing how most boats get their names, the next chapter discusses “A Day Out on the Lobster Boat.” In this chap- ter she discusses getting up early, prepping the boat for the day, fi nding the trap buoys, hauling up the trap, picking throw the catch, resetting the trap and then back to the dock to sell the catch, clean up the boat and get her ready for the next day out.


Some people feel that because it is a


fi berglass boat that it does not need mainte- nance. A lobster boat is a huge investment, anywhere from $150,000 to $750,000, nev- er-mind the fact that it is their livelihood, and that means you better take the best of care. One always checks the engine and the running gear, the hydraulics and electrical systems. Those that really take care of their boat rarely have issues and in the end get the most return out of it when they sell her. Christina then talks about strategy, the seasons, the market and the perils. Most in- shore fi shermen fi sh from the end of spring up through November. Those offshore fi sh all year, but going out depends on the weather. Perils are an unfortunate aspect of commercial fi shing, one that has lessened with technology, but still unacceptable. For those of us that have been around awhile understand the unwritten rules of lobster fi shing, which is Christina’s next chapter. Some just never get this aspect and think everything should just be rosry Yes, everyone with a license has a right to fi sh anywhere they want, but I would not try it. There are ways to break in. Also, people are going to push the limits even if you fi shed an area for years to see just how far they can go. As for the written rules, this is why Maine’s lobster industry is doing well. It is all about conservation and making sure that the stock can keep up with the catch.


There is a chapter on the Maine Lobster Boat and its evolution over the years. Dis- cussed are the dories, peapods, Friendship sloops, Jonesporters with their make-and- break engines, and the fi berglass boats. There is even a chapter on lobster boat racing, bringing back memories of the bat-


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tle between RED BARON and SOPWITH CAMEL.


For most of us we know how to eat a


lobster, but for those that do not there is a chapter for you. This chapter also discusses cooking and is followed with some recipes. Christina lived in Cutler, worked in the industry and then interviewed a number of people to make this book possible. My fi rst question for her was when will the next book come out? I bet she has a lot of great stories from fi shermen about fi shing out of Cutler that would make enjoyable reading. Too many times people that write books today write on a subject that they have no knowledge of. More importantly, she could document these stories as a historical ac- count of the fi shermen of Cutler. For those that have been around the shore this is a good book to read, but the ones that really will fi nd it benefi cial are the fl at-landers and those from away.


Memoirs of a Seafaring Life, The Narrative of William Spavens Edited by N. A. M. Rodgers 1796/2000; 254 pages; Out of Print Bath Press


London, England


There is no question that there are too many great books buried in the stacks of libraries and many of them are diffi cult to fi nd. I constantly search the Internet, but where I fi nd the best results is still in the used bookstores. This book I found in Manches- ter-By-The-Books in Manchester-By-The- Sea, Massachusetts. Just one skim through and I knew it was going to be an interesting read, and was not disappointed. It is extremely diffi cult to fi nd accounts from the lower deck. Many of the seamen could read and write, but there was little


demand for their accounts. William Spavens describes his time in the Merchant Marines and then the Royal Navy during the mid- 1700s. He wrote his account because he needed money since by this time he was crip- pled. He had a great story to tell having been to many interesting places and taken part in a lot of fascinating events. What else helped was that he had a great memory and was able to recall details, which can be backed up by other accounts. Accounts such as the brutal Captain Penhallow Cuming; Captain Richard Watkins, who lost his career due to love; the Battle of Quiberon Bay under Admiral Hawke; and serving under Captain Charles Middleton, who would later become Lord Barham, First Lord of the Admiralty and rule during the Battle of Trafalgar. William begins his narrative right at the beginning telling us he was born at Stewton. He continued living on a farm, but seeing the sailing vessels pass and dreamed of being on one. He went to Hull, gained access to a vessel and signed on. She was the snow ELIZABETH & MARY, Charles Wood master. Several days later he was on his way to Russia. During the voyage he came down with small pox, but was only laid up a couple of weeks. He continued making voyages, but after a cruise to France, he was pressed on board H.M.S. CULLODEN. Some of those taken decided to take the vessel, but their plot was discovered and everyone was confi ned below. After a month confi ned, he was sent on board BLANDFORD and there are excellent accounts of cruising the islands of the West Indies. At one point they picked up a number of soldiers at Antigua and took them to New York in 1757. They returned to the West Indies, chased some vessels and captured some as prizes. After returning to England BLANDFORD went to Rotten Row and William was placed on VENGEANCE, 28 guns. He sailed around the British Isles and Europe. While on board they took part in the Battle of Quiberon Bay and thus there is a great account of the battle from a different perspective. Then there were voyages to North America. William had his leg injured while in the Pacifi c and this would later make him disabled. One of the most important aspects of this narrative was giving back ground details into the everyday duties he was subjected to. He tells in great detail the voyages and what he sees, which is absolutely fascinating. The narrative was not very long so he later added sections on naval administration, navigation and geography, which are equal- ly fascinating.


It is rare that I would re-read a book, but this is one that is defi nitely on the list. To fi nd a copy go to: abebooks.com and type in William Spavens in the title fi eld .


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