The day started off as it usually does with desk work. By 7:00 AM, however, I was out the door on my cyclocross bike (with 28 mm tires outfitted with studds). Sunday is the weekly Maine Coast Cycling Club ride. Sometimes it's very competitive. That's summer stuff, usually. The fall and winter is much more laid back. As it was today. All but one rider was sporting studds. And those who didn't attend today did so because they didn't want to take a chance with the ice. That is certainly a worry. And, I can tell you, it's much more comfortable and enjoyable riding knowing that if you do hit ice it won't be a problem. Worrying about every icy corner certainly takes some of the fun out of it. But it was one of those days were you really didn't need studds. The air temperature had been well above freezing all last night and this morning until about 4:00 AM. So I don't believe that the roads every did freeze and they were pretty dry for the most part. Rest assured if I had ridden up on my road bike there would have been ice!
After I got back, before noon, I started to get dressed to bring the Bunny Clark to Kittery Point Yacht Yard. In fact, I did very little of the work. Micah started the engine to warm it up before I got to the Cove. Ian Keniston, Micah and I went over the vitals on the engine while she was warming up. After 1:00 PM, Micah took the boat off the boat and steered her all the way to the float at KPYY. I couldn't have done a better job. And I shouldn't be surprised with the amount of boating experience my son has amassed over the years. Ian met us over there with the truck and drove us back to Ogunquit. Below is a shot of Micah at the helm of the Bunny Clark taken at 1:30 PM today.
At 7:00 AM, I drove over to Kittery Point Yacht Yard to watch the Bunny Clark being hauled out of the water for the winter. The hauling started at 8:00 AM. It was completed before 9:00 AM. Micah Tower worked on chloroxing the hull while Ian Keniston concentrated on taking out the last of the electronics. I had multiple phone calls I had to attend to before I could work on the Bunny Clark. I finally got to winterize the engine at 10:00 AM. I finished the job with Micah's help in the end after Ian had left. Then Micah left.I was done by 1:30 PM. I arrived home with book work that took me until 6:00 PM to complete. Although I did take a forty-five minute break to run with Gill on the beach. It was dead low tide when we ran. And Gill had a blast playing with a few dogs. I was happy to take a break.
Below is a shot of the Bunny Clark in her current resting place.
The day was spent trying to solve minor restaurant and Bunny Clark challenges. A lot of office work. Some phone work. And several trips to the office at the restaurant. There is really not much to write about. The weather kept me inside all day. And it was just as well.
My day was spent much like it was yesterday. I didn't get very far in phone calls as I'm sure most businesses were closed. So I worked in the morning and took the afternoon off.
I got a chance to take Gill on a beach run at Ogunquit Beach. There was two or more inches of snow just above the tide line. You can always count on the beach for a good run in the winter. Only very occasionally has it ever been icy on the beach. It has to be pretty cold to have icy running conditions. But it's never been too icy to prevent the run.
There was nearly a full moon that rose out of the eastern ocean after sunset tonight that was absolutely spectacular. And I'm sure the same will happen tonight. The sky was very clear and the moonlight on the water was beautiful.
Aside from writing this report and checking the restaurants, I did no work today. I did take a walk on Ogunquit Beach with Deb and our border collie, Gill, at 11:30 AM. It was 14°F at the time and the wind made it feel colder. I thought Gill was going to have trouble with his paws as he usually does in cold weather. But apparently, it wasn't cold enough to bother. It was the first time that I can remember seeing a tide dam of ice on Ogunquit Beach in November or December or this early in the winter. I took a picture of Gill next to the ice dam to show you what I mean. This digital image appears below.
I spent the morning running around, trying to get loose ends tied up on some of the projects I had started. I was done by 12:30 PM. Most businesses were shut down today anyway. Although, I did finalize the season with our oil company, Estes Oil, today. We use them all winter as well but I never get to talk to the owner or to thank the drivers until the end.
I ran on Ogunquit Beach with Gill, after I had finished with work for the day. Gill has improved his pace and can stay with me now at a 9:00 minute per mile stride. That's good because a nine minute mile is slow enough to keep me injury free and fast enough to complete three miles in less than a half hour. Gill doesn't like the run up the beach. I think that it bothers him that I could go further than three miles. Near the end of the first mile he starts pulling on the leash. He actually pulled me to a stop at the 1.2 mile mark. So I let him off his leash and ran on, always keeping him in sight until I turned around. He tagged along behind me to the 1.5 mile mark but at a much slower pace. When I started heading back, he got in ambush position, lying down pointed in my direction, completely still, eyes alert and ears up, as if I were a herd of sheep. Then, the usual, sprinting down to me before I "crossed the line". From there he sprints up ahead of me, falls back, sprints up ahead, falls back and then stays just slightly behind me, catching up and passing me occasionally. Always looking up at me when he comes along side, as if to say; "Here I am!"
Half way back, Gill ran into a couple of dogs. You might think this would become a problem with me not being able to complete the run because I lost sight of the dog. This isn't the case with Gill. When I look back, it's like a signal to him that you need to catch up. And he usually does. If he doesn't, in this case with the other dog, I call his name. If Gill doesn't respond I call out; "Okay, then. Bye." When I say "Bye" he always leaves the dog (or has to this point) and catches up with me. Since he was a puppy, the word, bye, has always meant that I would leave him at home. If I had work to do out of the house where I couldn't take him, I would tell him; "Bye, Gill", where upon he would give me the stare and I would leave. Gill never wants to be left behind.
Gill does not get too tired with the run now. When I first started with him, it wiped him out. This was a couple years ago. Now he paces himself more and is getting in pretty good shape. And he's thinner than he was, thanks to Deb's nagging me about giving the dog too much to eat. Yes, Betsy, I know what you would say if I were telling you this in person! Gill is now happy to do more after the run.
I spent the morning working on this computer. It wouldn't start. I ended up changing monitors and a keyboard, thinking that one of the two was shorting out and causing the computer to go down. Even after changing them out, I had some minor problems leading me to believe that the internet connection was giving me problems. After a while I got the computer to act normally. That took the better part of three hours. But I'm left with the feeling that there will be another problem in the future. This took the place of other work I had planned for the morning. Of course! I had planned to take the afternoon off after getting those other items completed. I decided to take the afternoon off anyway. I went for a forty-one mile bike ride. I felt really good afterward. I probably just needed to leave this world for a while.
I spent most of the day working on the Guestletter. I spent some time with cleaning the Maine state trophy cards up, going over the trophy list, getting the daily reports in line for review, getting an outline ready and collating the digital images to be sent to the Maine Department Marine Resources and for use in the Guestletter. So I ran around working on the computer at both the restaurant and here at home.
Along with the work, I also completed some domestic chores. I never did get a chance to watch any sports on TV, which I like to do on a Sunday. The bike ride took the place of sports watching today. And I didn't run on the beach with Gill, which I really should have made time for.
I sat at my desk in the office at home working from 5:00 AM until 12:30 PM. I took a break from 12:30 PM until 1:00 PM for lunch, worked in the office until 2:30 PM and then drove to Kittery Point Yacht Yard to get some materials I needed off the Bunny Clark.
At 4:30 PM, Gill and I ran three miles on Ogunquit beach in the wind and the darkness. I put a light on Gill so I could keep track of him. I had him on his leash on the way up. It was slow going on the run up so I backed off to Gill's pace. I let him off the leash on the run back. Gill stayed right next to me the whole way. The last mile I increased to pace to 8:38/mile with Gill staying right next to me the whole way. This is the best pace I have ever seen the dog run. I thought that pretty exciting.
I spent two hours today writing a position paper that I was going to present to our Marine Commissioner, Patrick Keliher, in a meeting in Augusta tomorrow morning. Our Commissioner had told me in an email this summer that we could meet in his office this fall as long as I gave him two weeks notice. My paper speaks to being able to fillet halibut at sea, something the Federal government allows but the state of Maine does not. I have many reasons as to why we should be allowed to do so. Now I have to sell that to the state. I'll tell you how the meeting went after tomorrow.
After some work in the office, I headed up to August for a meeting with our Marine Commissioner, Patrick Keliher, and Colonel Jon Cornish, of the Maine Marine Patrol. The meeting was supposed to be at 9:00 AM. And it was pretty much on time. I have to qualify that statement. Pat's secretary, Amy Sinclair, had emailed me late yesterday afternoon to tell me that the meeting was canceled due to the weather. They didn't want me driving up there from Ogunquit in dangerous conditions. Since I didn't look at the email before I left, I didn't realize the meeting had been canceled until Amy gave me a call when I was about fifteen miles from their office. Seeing as the Commissioner and the Colonel were both in the office at the time that Amy called, and I had driven all that way, they decided to hold the meeting anyway. Unfortunately, Major Rene Cloutier was also supposed to be there but didn't realize I didn't get the email and wasn't due in that early with the weather being the way it was. And it was lousy weather, with rain until ten miles south of Portland, freezing rain/snow from there to where Amy called and snow for the last fifteen miles to Augusta. There were quite a few cars off the road all along the journey up there.
The meeting went well. I would like to change the current Maine regulation on halibut that prevents filleting a halibut at sea by a recreational fishing vessel, either private or party/charter. So I had typed up a proposal with my thoughts (and Ian Keniston's thoughts) on the reasons we wanted the change and the way I felt the new regulations should read. The bottom line was that I didn't want our patrons catching a fish of a life time and not be able to enjoy the freshest possible fillet because the fish had to set in the sun on the deck all day. Federal regulations allow the filleting of all groundfish at sea including the halibut. Maine allows the filleting of groundfish at sea except the halibut. We didn't go over the document word by word. They wanted to get right to the point and discuss the other issues surrounding my proposal and the ramifications of a change of this sort. I didn't walk in with any expectations except for them hearing my case. If after they have read my thoughts and things don't change, so be it. I will live with it. But I got the feeling after the meeting that they would seriously consider my proposal and come to a decision in early March. That's all I could ask for.
I ended up getting back home before noon. Except for the Augusta area, I ran into torrential rain for most of the ride home. It was good that I was home so early because I could survey the Cove with the extra high tide and get ready for a chopped clam delivery (10,000 pounds) due at the restaurant at 2:00 PM. We had ordered four full pallets of chopped canned clams for making chowder. Unfortunately, upon unloading the first pallet, the driver lost control and launched it off the platform and, six feet, down to the ground, damaging over twenty-five of the fifty-six cases on the pallet. Each case holds twelve cans. We had to go over each can, separate them from the good ones and load the bad cans individually (the cardboard cases had broken on impact) back into the truck. It was a mess. But I had straightened everything out by 4:00 PM and was ready for a break from work. So that's when I finished.
The Bunny Clark was to be hauled over the road today to it's winter resting place in York for yet another face lift before the start of the 2019 fishing season. I wasn't able to be there as I had to be at Barnacle Billy's all day or most of it. So Ian Keniston and my son, Micah, oversaw the job. I don't like to see the boat going over the road anyway. It was late morning before the Bunny Clark was safely in place in the barn. When I called Micah late in the day, they were building a framework around the bow but ran out of two by fours to finish the job. So they will continue closing it in tomorrow.
I was down at the Cove at 7:45 AM, after completing this update and getting a few other office chores completed. Portsmouth Steam showed up to clean the hood/fan/venting area above the kitchen at Barnacle Billy's, Etc. before 8:00 AM. For the rest of the morning, I worked in the office at Barnacle Billy's while the crew steam cleaned all the interior stainless steel leading to the roof and our management crew, Chuck MacDonald, Chad and the gang worked around them. In the office, I edited the Barnacle Billy's web page, worked on next years calendar (opening/closing dates, etc.), answered emails, on the phone to the two Chambers (of commerce, York/Ogunquit), worked on upcoming winter deliveries and wrote a short piece in the Billy's "Journal". Sometime after 1:00 PM, I was done at Barnacle Billy's. Chuck MacDonald closed up after I surveyed the work the hood cleaners had completed (an excellent job done, I might add). From there I went home.
For the rest of the day I worked on cleaning up the cellar at home. I had to rewire the existing sump pump. And, for the first time, I put in a brand new back up sump pump with a dedicated service. So now we have two separate systems, each with it's own breaker in the breaker panel. I thought I might have enough time to go for a run on the beach. But at 4:30 PM, it was so close to dark with the tide high enough that, with not being able to see, I was in peril of running over a rock or uneven sand and decided not to take the chance. At 5:15 PM, I jumped on the stat bike instead.
Ian Keniston and Micah finished closing in the bow of the Bunny Clark by the end of the morning. Then Micah came over to the house to clean the electronics and put everything away. They both have been working on reels as well. I don't tell Ian what to do anymore. Nor have I for the last few years. And it's better that way. He sees enough of me in the summer and the winter allows him to do what he wants when he wants to do it while also preparing the Bunny Clark for the new season.
I spent a fair amout of time at the restaurant, in the office today. After lunch, I worked on getting Bunny Clark items stored and in place to be taken when the time is right. The last thing I did was bring the side curtains to Steve Eberle at Canvasworks for a winter makeover and repair. I got a lot done with not much to show for it.
I finally finished with the Bunny Clark's year end stuff today. The next move will to be to get more involved with the Guestletter, complete the work order for the Bunny Clark's winter projects, schedule the hull inspection with the Coast Guard and get going on the 2019 Bunny Clark fishing schedule. I will be making some changes this next season. But I have delved into the scope of those changes yet. I finished with a short meeting with Ian Keniston at 4:30 PM. Now I can look forward.
I spent part of the morning going over the plans for a new oil furnace at Barnacle Billy's, Etc. The old one is giving us problems and is very expensive to run. I will get the final word on price, design and dates of completion in a week or so. I had to run to Portsmouth after that.
At 1:00 PM, I met with Chuck MacDonald and Chad Schools at Barnacle Billy's, Etc. This was the last day of cleanup. We went over a few things that will lead us into the new season.
At 1:00 PM, I got a text telling me that former President George H. W. Bush had passed. That was sorry news. But he was ninety-four years old with a health that prevented him from doing just about anything. I don't imagine he enjoyed his quality of life. It wasn't too long ago that I remember him losing the use of his legs. My father was still alive then with health problems of his own. They really liked each other, the former President singing him birthday wishes on my father's cell phone twice in as many years. We never did see Number Forty-One this last season. And, at first, Doro (his daughter) had told me that they were going to try to get him to come to "Billy's" at least once. That never happened. When my sister, Meg, talked to Doro during the late summer, she told her that it wasn't going to happen this year. He wasn't as healthy. And, indeed, I never saw him again, the last time was the summer of 2017. Sad to lose them both (George & Barbara) so quickly. But they did live a long prosperous/happy life. And they had plenty of good family around them until the end.
I worked at the desk at home from 4:00 AM until around 6:30 AM. At 7:30 AM, I jumped on my road bike for the first time in almost a month. I met some good riders in Kennebunkport, rode thirty-five or so miles with them and then rode home. A great ride and the first day we could ride with minimal ice. I have ridden at other times this month but on my cyclocross bike with studded snow tires. Slow, comfortable and stable! Jumping on the road bike today was like going from riding a donkey to a gazelle. There was a moment, in the beginning, where I thought the machine would get away from me.
I got home at 1:00 PM, had a quick lunch and worked at the office in Barnacle Billy's, Etc. until almost 6:00 PM.
I have another example of the mystique of ocean fishing. They are starting to catch haddock off Long Island, New York. Along with seabass, cod and hake, they are catching haddock. These haddock extend from Block Island, south to the east of Long Island. I was told that a dragger off Shinnecock Inlet, Long Island, hauled back and decked 5,000 pounds of haddock, set back again and caught another 4,000 pounds! This in an area that never sees haddock in some of the best haddock years! What does this mean? It's not like the haddock follow a common bait source like herring. Or do they? Global warming? Why would haddock go south to the warmer water when they are considered a cold water fish? Shows you how much we know about the ocean. Now add fishery management into the equation. You might understand why we, as fishermen, are frustrated with the system of management we have to live through. This particularly when we are faced with diminishing returns in our businesses due to these meaningless regulations.
But there is another point to be made here. Where would we be with the haddock coming back without the closed areas on Georges Bank that created this haddock phenomenon? I'm hoping there is someone in management who has the balls to keep these areas closed. This is only going to help everyone.
I am presently looking for a deck hand for the 2019 fishing season. If anyone is interested in the position, you can give us a call at 207-646-2214.