Book a Trip on Line
My day started at the office and ended at the office. I left the house before 8:00 AM to check on a dentist appointment that I didn't have. From there I went to Portsmouth, New Hampshire to put together a new fuel filter system for the Bunny Clark. The system is a more modern version of the same Racor system I have in there now. This new system has alarms for water detection that I don't have in the present system. Also, parts of the old system were wearing out in several areas. After I gathered all the materials, I drove to the Bunny Clark where I loaded all this stuff into the shop so we could install this later in the winter.
From there I went to office at Barnacle Billy's, Etc. where I had about forty-five minutes of work to do there. I finalized a date with my sister, Cathy, for the fire inspection of both restaurants next week. The rest of the day was spent in the home office where I worked on the Guestletter.
I'm redesigning the Guestletter so that it isn't so long as it has been in the past. I'm leaving out things that I used to keep as reference points for me which should drop it back quite a bit. These items are still available in past Guestletters that I keep on line. I will, therefore, be able to reference statements by looking back at those. The part of the Guestletter where I abuse my patrons will remain. I hope to have it completed by the beginning of next week. We shall see.
Assuming the Guestletter is completed just after the weekend, it will not include the new regulation proposals put forth by the Recreational Advisory Panel meeting on January 21st. Having said that, I can't believe there will be any proposals that will negatively effect our upcoming regulations. At worst, I believe we will have the same regulations for the 2020 fishing season as we did last season. The new fiscal fishing year starts on May 1, 2020. So our regulations, by law, will stay the same until that date or until the new regulations are approved by the National Marine Fisheries Service.
I stopped working at 5:00 PM.
My day centered around working on the Guestletter, the longest project I make for myself every winter. I also had a fire inspection on both boats that I had to attend to. Along with that we had a project with a floor drain going on at Barnacle Billy's, Etc. as well as working on getting ready for the fire inspection at both restaurants slated for Wednesday next week.
Normally, this time of year, we let things go at the restaurants that are better addressed in March, just before we open. For example, things like batteries in emergency exit signs/lights that need to be changed aren't completed until then. The problem with this is that they don't pass inspection. Likewise, neither does the building. So we get approved pending. It's an in-town thing. So the fire department trusts us to compete all these things. But this also means that I have to check with them again when all is completed. So this year I'm trying to stay ahead of the game and get this all done before inspection so we can be done with everything as soon as the inspection is over.
We do have a couple of electrical issues that can only be solved by a licensed electrician. I made some calls to arrange to get those things addressed before the week is out.
After I reached a saturation point on the Guestletter, I went for a run with Gill, our border collie, on Ogunquit beach. I have been avoiding running because last time I had some soreness in my left groin. I'm sensitive about that area because I developed a condition there some years ago from over training for triathlons. So I stopped for a week. It was better today so I thought I would give it a try. I didn't feel it at all running 3.5 miles at a 9:00 minute pace. In fact, I felt light on my feet, wanting to push harder. My mind told me no! I'm glad I listened to myself. The wind was out of the east which Gill does not like but the wind wasn't hard enough to prevent us from running together. He balked three times on the leash on the way up. But I was able to convince him that it was in his best interest to continue. So he did. He's always happiest on the way back when I take him off his leash. I put a cylume light on him since it was well after sunset when we finished. These are expired lights that we use on our life preservers (PFD's) on the Bunny Clark. They expire after three years but are fully functional for years afterward. It seems a waste as they are used once and then discarded. Who knows what kind of chemicals are in these tubes. I was surprised how far away I could see Gill with this light attached to him. The lights glow green. I can't imagine they would be as visible on a human in the rough waters of the Atlantic at night. Below is a shot I took with my phone of Gill with said light.
Today was too nice to stay inside. But stay inside I did. The whole day was spent working on the Guestletter. But I need to qualify that. I did have to make a couple of trips to the office at Barnacle Billy's, Etc. And I did have someone come down to look at a floor drain area (at the restaurant) that needs to be re-tiled. And I went back and forth on emails as well. But I am at the half way mark on the physical part of the Guestletter and about a third of the way time wise.
I stopped working at 3:00 PM so I could jump on the bike for forty miles. This is probably the last chance I will have to ride outside for a few days with the bad weather predictions and the colder than normal temperatures expected. Tomorrow will be raining or snowing all day so I will spend most of my day tomorrow on the Guestletter.
Everything today revolved around the Guestletter. It was a milestone day. It always is when I finish figuring out who the FY-'19 (fisherman of the year) is. It took some time this year because the top two anglers were too close, within twelve points of each other. The old rule, and still remains the rule, was that if they are within thirty points of each other, I take the trips where the two fished together at the same time and double the points each one attained on those days. By comparing the extra points, I can get a differential that could change the results. But it did not change anything this time. The angler who was ahead gained two extra points after all that was completed. It took me about four hours to figure the whole thing out from start to finish. I love doing it because I relive a lot of the trips that I was on. The two anglers in question were on some of my favorite trips last year.
At noon, I got a call from the electrician who said he had some extra time to fix some overhead lighting in the kitchen of Barnacle Billy's, Etc. and replace an emergency light in the lobby. So I ran down there to let him in and help (watch) as much as I could. That took about an hour. I was also in the phone for a total of an hour working on different future projects.
I gave up at 5:30 PM. Having done no exercising I decided to go for a run. Normally, I would take Gill, our dog. But it was too dark. And I thought I might lose him if I ran on the beach. Plus, I know he wouldn't have wanted to go with the wind so strong out of the north, running right into it for the first mile and a half. And it was a good thing I didn't bring him. Not only was the wind a problem but the sand was so soft that it was hard even walking on the beach. I got about a quarter of a mile up the beach and turned around. I ended up continuing to run but going around town instead for a total of 3.6 miles at an 8:00 minute pace. I was very comfortable which is always a danger sign for me. Whenever I have felt too comfortable, I always try to run harder and end up pulling something, a calf muscle, hamstring, you name it. It's hell getting old!
After I got done editing this report, I worked on the Guestletter for the rest of the morning. At noon, I drove to Canvasworks to have berth cushions made, the side curtains repaired and hangers made for them when they get reinstalled on the Bunny Clark. From there I drove to DSM Fabrication where two lobster cooker tanks and their covers had been repaired and were waiting to be picked up. From there I drove to Portland where, at Power Products, they had a starter waiting to be picked up. I had changed out the old one in the Bunny Clark last fall. I had replaced it with the spare. Now I needed a new spare. It had been there for three weeks but I was waiting for a time more convenient to pick it up, when I had other things to run for. From Portland, I drove to Sanford where they had a new baffle for my pellet stove. I had ordered it a couple of weeks ago but it had only arrived there yesterday. The baffle in the pellet stove we were using had cracked and needed to be replaced. I suppose I could have got another week out of it but that would have been it.
The rest of my working day was spent off loading the lobster tanks and working on the pellet stove.
I would have liked to have gone for a run on the beach with Gill. I left the house at noon without eating lunch. During my running around I hadn't found a convenient place to pick up something for lunch. So at the very end of the my journey, I stopped at a MacDonald's to grab two fish sandwiches and a medium fries. I knew it was wrong but I was hungry. What a mistake. I felt horrible for the rest of the day. So when 4:00 PM rolled around, a run with the dog was out of the question. Not only would I have revisited the fish sandwiches on the run. But my desire to run was gone. I felt bloated. I will not do that again any time soon. I fall for MacDonald's food a couple times a year. I admit, it tastes so good going down. But I always feel horrible afterward.
My day was spent working, again, on the Guestletter. Saturdays are great because no one is hounding me and I can concentrate on the work I have to get done. I had a few distractions as it's a big sports day and I was in contact with a few of our customers but I did get a lot done.
My work day ended at 4:00 PM when I took Gill out for a run on the beach. There really wasn't much wind at the time and the tide was well out so we had plenty of hard sand to run on. We covered 4.15 miles this time. And Gill was very active and seemed to enjoy himself.
Most of my day today was spent writing the Guestletter, which I finished at 5:45 PM. I still have to add digital images, fill in the tables, edit the content and check for misspellings. But, essentially, the hardest part is done. It's a labor of love. It takes a lot of time. But during this time, I get to relive all the last years experiences, formulate opinions on the state of the fishery, get a laugh out of the funny things that happened and it gives me a common sense look toward the future and all it's aspects. I've made it a bit shorter this year, taking out paragraphs that I used to carry forward and eliminating paragraphs I didn't think were that enjoyable to read for most. And I shortened others.
I took a break to watch the Leicester/Burnley Premier League game on NBC. That took two hours. As the game went on I had a four way comment sessions with three other viewers here and in England. My team, Leicester, lost despite my having a Leicester scarf on the whole game. I will not critique the game here. I don't know enough about English football and I'm sure no one who reads this missive is much interested in my soccer opinions.
After another hour and a half of writing (and, no, I did not watch the Bruins game - the outcome was exactly as I figured it would be), Gill and I took to the road to start shoveling out everywhere. I waited until this time because they hadn't even plowed the driveway yet. And I certainly didn't want to shovel areas I had already shoveled. The areas I shoveled included our house, around the restaurants at the Cove and on the deck at Barnacle Billy's, Etc.
In the process of cleaning up the snow, Gill was exploring. He wanders off at about the fifteen minute mark. He just disappears. So every ten or fifteen minutes I would have to take a break and round him up.
I had, hopefully, the last dentist appointment of the winter this morning at 8:00 AM. At 9:00 AM, I attended a CPR/First Aid/AED class with all the top Barnacle Billy's brass and Captain Ian Keniston. That lasted until around 2:00 PM. After a late lunch, I worked on the Guestletter until 5:30 PM. Other than taking Gill for a four mile run on the beach and answering a few emails about job positions at the restaurant, that was about all I did today.
After a short morning at the computer. Or maybe I should say, after a more efficient morning at the computer, I jumped in the truck and headed for Wakefield, Massachusetts for a Recreational Advisory Panel (RAP) meeting. I was more sanguine after the meeting than I have been in previous years when we discussed upcoming regulations. Mostly this was because, even with future catch projections through April, we will not be near going over the recreational allotment for either cod or haddock. Also, we will be getting a larger piece of the pie for next season as well. The recreational sector will be getting 37% of the total allowable catch (ACL) of cod and 33% of the ACL of haddock. This should leave us plenty of room under the regulations. Unless there is a disaster in the fishery, our haddock take should continue as is with our only closed season in late winter to April 15. Even that could be lifted as it looks right now. The biggest problem, as I see it, is being too optimistic about the haddock. With too a big a take, we might start seeing us go back to a more strict regulation.
Along those lines, one of the motions that was made was to go from a bag limit of 15 to 20 haddock per person. I spoke against this and it was voted down. At this point, we don't need that many haddock. And I certainly don't want to be responsible for a regulation that might force us to go back to a bag limit of 10 haddock if we exceeded the quota because we went to 20. The most favorable motion that passed was leaving the status quo but adding an open season for cod from April 1 to April 15, one cod per person. I have my doubts that the National Marine Fisheries Service would let us have this. But they might. That would give us two two weeks seasons with a one cod bag limit, the one I just mentioned and the last two weeks of September. I put a motion on the board to have the same regulations as last year but extend the one cod bag limit to also include the first half of October and eliminate the early two week cod season. When it came to a vote, the RAP voted it down by a couple hands. Another motion I made was to increase the halibut bag limit from one fish a trip to two fish a trip. That was unanimously voted in. However, the voice of the NMFS said that if this suggestion made it through the full Council that they would not accept it.
What all this means to the recreational angler is this, at worst, we will have the same regulations as last season. Haddock possession will begin on April 15 and extend throughout our season, there will be a 15 haddock bag limit, with a minimum haddock length of 17" overall length and a two week open season on cod with a one fish bag limit and a minimum size of 21". If the adjusted motion goes through, starting on April 1, 2021 we will also have a two week season on cod with a one fish bag limit and a minimum size of 21". But also in this motion I noticed that haddock possession would start May 1st. I have got to make a call to make sure that is just a typo as that would not be good.
I picked up lunch at a Subway on the ride home. I was able to finish this before I got home so I could work on the Guestletter for the rest of the day. I started working on the Guestletter at 2:00 PM and stopped at 5:30 PM. That was my day. Unfortunately, I didn't have time to run with the dog.
It would have been a great day to go cycling, lobstering, groundfishing or hiking. I did none of the fore mentioned disciplines. For me, it was working at the desk until fire inspection at the restaurants at 8:15 AM. That didn't last long, 9:45 AM. I didn't look at my watch. From there I had to drive to Canvasworks in Kennebunk to pick out material for the new top bunk cushions I'm having made for the Bunny Clark. From there I had a meeting at the bank, a meeting with our town manager (Cove Committee issues & an area of the side walk where pedestrians have been falling) and paying the excise tax, mooring bills, business license fees and renewing my hunting license. That took me until lunch.
After lunch, I worked on the Guestletter until 5:00 PM.
I've been running on the beach every other day. As you know, I run with our dog, Gill. This is a win win. I say this because Gill keeps me at a 9:00 minute pace, at least on the leash up the beach. At the same time, it gives Gill more exercise than he would normally get in a day. If I go by myself, it's hard for me not to run a 7:30 or 7:45 minute pace. My breathing is fantastic, from all the riding on the bike that I do. But my legs are still babies. But my mind doesn't work that way. My mind thinks I'm twenty-one years old and wants me to get back to a 6:00 minute pace - I was much faster than that at twenty-one! If I continue to run a 7:30 pace, I will certainly hurt myself. I've learned this so many times I can't count. Hamstrings, calf pulls, knee problems, hip flexor issues and abductor muscle issues. With the dog, I have to go slower as, at least for half the time, I am towing the dog up the beach. So it's a symbiotic relationship in a cerebral sense. Good for me, good for the dog.
Last night was problematic. [for those who want to hear about fishing, let me apologize now] It was just about dark so I put a light on Gill. I don't know if he didn't want to run last night, was sick of the leash or was distracted but he balked six or seven times on the way up. Twice it was enough to pull the collar over his head and leave me stumbling forward trying to prevent a fall. It's not as if he lets me know gradually. One second he's running along at a 9:00 minute pace, the next minute he has stopped dead in the sand. He would not budge after the two big ones until I got behind him and lifted his ass end off the sand and pushed him forward. He was completely done with the leash by the sixth house on Moody Beach. He would not go another inch on the leash. Along with not going, he gave me the look. I know that look. By that time, it was dark. He had a light. So I took the leash off and ran along by myself, the typical routine. In daylight, this is no problem. I expected the same this time. Not! After a half mile (I was day dreaming) I turned around and no Gill. No light. No nothing. I thought; "Well, another quarter of a mile will give me 4 miles total and won't take me too long." So that's what I did. At the same time, unbeknownst to me, Gill was sneaking back. This is something he never does. He usually runs with me a bit and then stops, sniffs around and waits. It was around the fifteenth house that he stopped tagging along behind. So I expected to find him around the fifteenth house on the way back. That's the routine. Right, Gill? Wrong, Tim. By the seventeenth house I started to call his name. We were all alone on the beach so there was no one who could suspect a lost dog. Plus, I had the light on him so, surely, someone would realize we (or he) were on the moment. By house number twelve, I had turned around suspecting I had seen him. That turned out to be a stump. So I flipped it again. I found him by the third house, lying down on his light (so no one could have seen it - including me) waiting patiently. What relief! I had visions of someone reading his collar, calling my wife and her in her vehicle cursing my name and on the move to Moody, Maine.
But that didn't happen. The situation was the product of an active, too active, imagination. He kept a good pace behind me. And when he fell off (I had increased the pace to about 8:15), I turned around so I could get closer to him. I never lost sight of him. And I heaped him with so much praise that it might have been too much of a burden for him. Gill must have been tired. At dinner there was no sign of the dog in the house. Usually, when we are eating, he sits at the table and gives me the stare. A constant, directed, unwavering stare. It's usually me because I'm usually the one who breaks Deb's rules and gives him a piece of chicken or meat on occasion. This time, no Gill. Deb, worried, got up to look for him. He was in the living room dead asleep. In fact, Deb thought he was dead. She called him. Nothing. She walked right up to him and said his name. Nothing. Shook his shoulder. Nothing. Yanked on his shoulder. Finally, he woke giving her those "seal eyes", like; "where am I?". I laughed when Deb told me. But, back at the dinner table, he was the same old Gill. Deb was glad to have him back. I was just glad to have him.
I had a very uneventful day. Except for a short meeting at the bank to open up a line of credit, I worked on the Guestletter all day. Except for editing, I have finished it.
My day was spent proofing the Guestletter, getting out for a bike ride, building the reservation book for the Bunny Clark and attending a friend of mine's surprise birthday party. It was a full day.
After I uploaded this page to the internet, I spent two hours down at the restaurant building the reservation book. I was on the bike by 8:00 AM, riding to Kennebunk to meet my cycling friends. It was a mild day, although very wet on the roads from snow melt. I got home around noon. After a quick lunch, I spent the rest of the day at Barnacle Billy's, Etc. working in the office, finishing up the reservation book. I was done by 9:00 PM.
A couple of days ago, one of our best local commercial fishermen died at sea. Joey Nickerson fished out of Cape Porpoise Harbor. In the fishery, he was a survivor, changing gear types, keeping up with the changing regulations and doing very well for his family. He was very very well thought of in our fishing community. He had been working on scallops but had recently re rigged his boat for dragging. From what I understand, he was towing somewhere between the northern end of Jeffrey's Ledge and Platts Bank, in the deep water around there. I believe he got hung down by something he towed in to. The boat went down stern first. I heard that another boat found Joey's, and his deck hand's, body, floating. I don't believe they had survival suits on as it happened so fast. I heard that no distress calls were made. But I also heard that the U. S. Coast Guard jet located the boat still afloat twenty minutes after the problem occurred. Obviously, I don't know the whole story. But if Joey and his deck hand were both found in the water, they must have thought that otherwise they would sink with the boat and be caught in the wheel house or cabin in the process. Regardless, it was terrible tragedy. It's also one of the fears I've had fishing on small draggers. His boat was forty-two feet, only a couple of feet longer than my boat. This was a monumental loss to our local fishing community.
My focus today was to complete the last proof of the Guestletter and put it on line later in the day. I was done with my side of it by 7:00 AM. At that point, I focused on getting the bike ready so I could ride with the Maine Coast Cycling Club. I left the Guestletter for Deb to proof. After lunch, I worked on the Guestletter again, made Deb's corrections and put it on line. The Guestletter resides here.
Reservations will start on February 1, 2020 at 6:00 AM EST.
I received a wonderful $250.00 donation sponsoring me in this year's Pan-Mass Challenge from Richard Payeur & Elinor Kostanski (FL/ME). They started supporting me the first year I started in 2007. They have been contributing every year since. Thank you both so much for your help. I really do appreciate all that you have done for me in the past. I hope all is well with you both!
Later this day, I flew to Manchester, England with a friend to spend a little over a week cycling around the English countryside and taking in two Premier League football (soccer) games. I am a Leicester City fan. We had a couple of drizzly days, two sunny days and the rest were cloudy days with air temperature ranging from 40°F to 53°F. It was a wonderful opportunity for me and a great time.
As I mentioned on January 27th, I left later that day to drive to Portland, Maine, take a flight to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and then fly from there to Manchester, England. After arriving, Andy Armitage and I rented a car and drove (he drove - I did not touch the wheel! to his house in Leicester, England, about two hours or so away from Manchester. Later that night, we went to Aston Villa Park and watched an English football game between Villa and Leicester City in the Carabao Cup. They lost that game, a semi-final match, the winner going to the final at Wembley Stadium (it holds 85,000). The Cup final will be held in March with Villa versus Manchester City. Three years ago, Andy got me interested, very interested in Premier League Football. Last year, he took me to his home in Leicester and saw my first Premier League game at Anfield, Liverpool in a match with Liverpool vs Leicester. The game came out as a tie. But the atmosphere, including Liverpool fans all singing "Never Walk Alone", was other worldly, something I had never experienced before. I took a video of a moment in time there. That video keeps giving and giving.
This year, Andy had invited me to stay for over a week. He is a big cyclist, faster than I and four years younger, making it very similar to the age difference between my brother and I. This is helpful because it lets me imagine what went on is his life growing up as opposed to mine. The Beatles era, for instance, was very interesting with his take on it growing up in England. Getting back on track (no pun intended; he was a running star in the 80's), my time in Leicestershire/Rutland counties was spent riding with Andy on one of his extra bikes along with eating, drinking and watching English football. We rode a total of 325 miles around the green English countryside. The air temperature ranged from 41°F to 53°F. The weather ranged from drizzling rain to a cloudless sky. Some of the roads are so narrow there that, when riding, you have to slow way down so a car can get past you on the bike. Once, we had to stop to let someone get by.
As mentioned, Andy was a great runner at Loughborough University, Loughborogh, Leicestershire, England. On the track, two of his times were a 4:001 mile and a 13:35 5000 meter time. One of his good friends and track members at the time was Sebastian Coe, who broke the mile world record on three occasions while attending school with Andy there. In fact, Andy took Seb's place in a mile event when Seb had conflicting events. That was when Andy finished with his best mile time with a value just shy of under 4 minutes! Other friends of Andy's on the team were Jack Buckner and Neil Black, both of whom I had the honor of riding bikes with last week. Jack won the 1986 European Championships in the 5000 meter track with a time of 13:10, an amazing feat. His best mile was 3:51, just a fraction slower than Jim Ryan's world record that held for eight years when I was growing up. I believe that Seb Coe was the first one to break that record but I could be wrong. I don't know all of Neil's accomplishments but I do know that his best mile was 4:02. Mine was 4:20 in high school. Andy's per mile time in the 5000 meters beats that all to hell. Neil was recently caught up unfairly in the Salazar/Farrah doping controversy. Before the controversy, he was the U.K.'s Athletics Chief. At any rate, it was exceptionally interesting to listen to Jack, Neil and Andy about running, the old days to the present, and the sporting politics of the day . And talking to Jack, personally, who is presently the CEO of Brittish Swimming, was something I hope to never forget. Typical of great people, they are a very unassuming, humble group.
And then there was football. We also went to the Leicester/Chelsea Premier League game in Leicester. Andy had secured seats right on the pitch (field). After the Liverpool City game last year sitting in the away seats, this was spectacular. Below are some shots I took last week. This was an experience that money just can't buy. And, certainly, words can not express the gratitude I have towards Andy for allowing me this privilege.
This day, today, was spent on, almost totally, getting desk work done. It's amazing to me how much piles up when you are gone.
I received two donations, during the time I was in England, sponsoring me in this year's Pan-Mass Challenge, a ride to fund cancer research with the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, Massachusetts. One donation was from Harry Moore (MA) for $25.00 while the other was a very generous $650.00 donation from William Mitchell (NH). Thank you both so very much for your donations. They are very much appreciated and your support, specifically, means so much.
After spending an inordinate amount of time on this entry, I spent the rest of the day going back and forth between the Barnacle Billy's restaurants and the home office.
We are installing a new phone service in the restaurants that will give us more mobility, cost us less over time and give us an answering machine which will inform our patrons that we do not take reservations at either restaurant and will direct the caller to the specific restaurant they want. Hopefully, this will cut down on the number of calls we get and will be quicker to give customers answers. There were a number of wiring issues that we still hadn't resolved by the day's close. We should be able to sort that out tomorrow.
At the same time we were trying to get the web cam fixed at Barnacle Billy's, Etc. This has been a problem for a few days now. And I have many emails that have put an exclamation point on the issue. What we now believe is that we have a firewall issue that we should be able to solve tomorrow. Hopefully, we will get things up and running.
Captain Ian Keniston has been working on rebuilding reels and gave me an order today for enough reel parts to get us through next season. He is going to concentrating on getting the Bunny Clark back in shape tomorrow.
I did a fair amount of shoveling today. But I waited until lunch time to do it as, with the warmer air temperatures, the work was reduced.
I wanted to go for a run with the dog but the work at the restaurant continued until 6:00 PM. So I never got the opportunity.
I received two more donations today sponsoring me in my cancer research project with the Pan-Mass Challenge. These wonderful individuals/donors are long time Bunny Clark regular angler, Rick Longwell (MA), for a generous $100.00 and one of my favorite cycling partners, Dave Garriepy (ME), for $50.00. Thank you both so very much for your continued thoughtfulness, kindness and support. This means so much to me but more to those who face the threat of leaving loved ones behind and the great loss to loved ones.
I spent almost all of my day at Barnacle Billy's, Etc. We had tech team of Digital Sky down there installing a new firewall system. The old one had failed so that we lost the web cam overlooking Perkins Cove, originating at the restaurant. I was in England when it failed. While there I was able to determine that it wasn't an outside networking issue. Nor was it the camera itself. Rebooting the DVR didn't help as it normally does. So I was able to secure the services of Digital Sky when I got back home. They were here yesterday and finished up after working almost eight hours today. During the time I was in the office with them, I got a lot of other things done including letter writing, emails, getting better prepared for the manager's meeting on Monday and getting Bunny Clark projects going.
At one point, I took a two hour break from the restaurant to drive to Ocean Graphics to start working on the new design of the "Largest Fish of the Trip" stickers, the "Tackle Breakers" shirts and the new PMC shirt.
It became final that the motions made at the Recreational Advisory Panel meeting concerning the 2020 fishing regulations made it through to be reviewed and either accepted or modified for the future. It is expected that the new regulations will be determined by the beginning of the fiscal fishing year on May 1, 2020. These regulations, when made, will be set in stone from May 1, 2020 to May 1, 2021. The Groundfish Committee accepted the proposal which went to the full New England Fishery Management Council meeting last month. The Council accepted the proposal as read. And, with Frank Blount's help, it went forward to the National Marine Fisheries Service. In my mind, there is a chance that NMFS will not accept the early two week cod season. But stranger things have certainly happened. The JPEG image below was taken right out of the NMFS notifications that I receive on a timely basis.
At 7:00 AM, there were 10,000 residences out of power in York County. Thankfully, our small area in Ogunquit was only affected in internet & cable service. Not so with my son who lives three miles inland. He lost power and ended up bringing his parrot, a sun conure, he named "Snake", to our house where it is warmer. We will have the bird all day and overnight. By the end of the day, he had his power back as did most everyone else.
I spend the day in the office, both offices. I was at the restaurant most of the day. Part of my work there was with the Bunny Clark as well. I had to make up a Penn parts order. This after Ian Keniston put all the work in to get parts numbers and figure out the parts that we needed. I had to confer with Ian on what other parts we might need as per previous orders I have written up over the years. It's a process that takes time. Most of the day was spent getting all my winter orders completed I also did a complete inventory of fishing gear, another tedious process. I was done by 4:30 PM and was glad I got so much accomplished.
After editing this site, I worked on Bunny Clark items, shoring up some of the things I started yesterday. I also started petitioning former donors for PMC gifts on my behalf. I had a meeting about the restaurants before 10:00 AM that didn't take long but had taken time to prepare for. I spent the rest of the time preparing for the big meeting tomorrow morning.
After lunch, Deb and I took a ride to Portsmouth to purchase her a new cell phone. Her's had been showing signs of dying. It was a good thing too. She had not backed up her phone. I had assumed that she had been doing so over the years. Not so. Had she lost her phone, she would have lost many pictures very dear to her (Halley's wedding pictures, one example). So, what turned out to be a couple hours out of the day took all afternoon with no time for anything else, except dinner, before we retired for the day.
In the course of working on Deb's new phone, I realized that my drivers license had expired! In the past, the state had sent us renewal notices. I either didn't get the memo or the state doesn't do this anymore. So, instead of more prep before the meeting on Monday, I will be taking a cruise to the DMV in Kennebunk first thing tomorrow! One step forward, two steps back; my credo.
The search for a new deck hand (deck hands) starts tomorrow. I don't have a clue as to where to look. This has never been a problem until the last couple of years. We shall see.
By 8:30 AM, I was coming back from the Maine DMV with a temporary license. They told me that they had sent me notice that might drivers license was up for renewal but I don't remember even getting notice of any kind. From there I went Barnacle Billy's, Etc. to work in the office and get ready for our managers meeting.
At 10:00 AM, we met with the woman who set up our new phone system. She briefly went over the system with us, showing us it's capabilities. This all took about a half hour. Our regular meeting got under way after that. This meeting is designed as a primer to the new season. We discussed changes in different areas, policies, staff for this coming season and unfinished items. The meeting was over at 12:30 PM.
After lunch, I had a meeting with our Town manager. Our discussion revolved around painting a crosswalk near Barnacle Billy's, Etc., a slip and fall issue that has been going on off the Town's sidewalk, speeding coming into the Cove early in the morning, speed bumps and pedestrian access to the Barnacle Billy's parking lot. Some of these issues we are going to revisit this week some time.
From there I went back to the office to draw up some of the things we discussed and involving everyone in emails. I also got our paint order in for the Bunny Clark's winter renewal. And I started work on revamping our Point of Sale system at our original restaurant. I stopped at 5:00 PM to take Gill for a run on the beach. Both of us were slower than normal. But that was okay.
I spent the whole day today on Bunny Clark projects and licensing. I did very little with Barnacle Billy's restaurants except for laminating a chart showing the numbers of each phone in both buildings under the new phone system.
In the morning, I was over with Ian Keniston and Dave Pease at the Bunny Clark going over how we were going manage the trip that holds the new windows in place, the leaking forward hatch problem, the new Racor filter system and rod ends we have to change every two years in the lazarette. After I got home, I was on the phone chasing down other items we needed for the boat.
License renewals took a few hours. These concerned both boats. It should have been easy. But NOAA has a new on-line license renewal procedure for federal fishing permits. I went through everything well with the Petrel. But I could not process the Bunny Clark renewal permit. So I had to make a few calls. Finally, Ted Hause at the GARFO office in Gloucester, Massachusetts found that they had changed my name on the ownership side of things so that the information was different with the on-line part than it was on the actual permit that I have had for years. Once that was solved, the permitting process went smoothly. I also had a problem with the Maine on-line permitting process. It took a while to go through everything with more steps, and more licenses than the federal side. But since I wasn't expecting to print my licenses, I was on my laptop with no printer. So I had to call the Maine DMR to see what to do next. Maine is still relatively small and still very personal, which I love. They told me they would print them all out and send them to me. However, Maine has a record of all the licenses you have ever held. Mistakenly, I signed up for two commercial fishing permits for the same boat, the Petrel. There were two numbers, the commercial fishing permit number I was very familiar with and another that I didn't recognize. Maybe this other permit was from my time with the Mary E, over forty years ago. I don't know. I didn't see this permit on their site until it asked me to print out the permits. Low and behold, I had another license I didn't ask for. The problem is that I paid for it. And in order to nullify this purchase, I had to write a letter and send it to the Maine DMR. So while I was at Barnacle Billy's laminating cheat sheets, I was also writing a letter to the Maine DMR asking to delete the second license and to get my money back. Nothing is ever easy for me!
What looked like an easy four hour job to complete the planned tasks ended up eating the whole day. I was just finishing up by 5:00 PM when I "cried uncle" and gave up. I finished my day by jumping on the bike, attached to a fluid trainer before the TV and watched the worst movie I have seen in decades. That pretty much summed up my day.
My day was a rushing around affair. After editing this page, I spent an hour getting two new windows and two rod ends ready to go to the Bunny Clark. This along with the window templates so I could have two new ones made. Then I drove to Paul Rollin's Yard to see if he could get the old wooden headboard that Paul made me to fit the new truck. After dropping the window, templates and rod ends off at the boat, I headed to a dermatologist appointment where they did a biopsy on a small portion of my leg.
Once I got back from the doctor's, Paul had made the head board to fit the new truck. It was an exactly perfect fit with not a millimeter to spare. After lunch at home, I worked on the head board by taking it out, taking five inches off each post (so it would fit in the garage), sanding and shaping the new post ends, placing rack back in the truck and securing the headboard at the bottom, making it a solid piece to work off of. For the rest of the day I was at Ocean Graphics helping Kevin Bernard design the new PMC shirts.
I went for a run on the beach after but without our dog, Gill. He had been to the vet's and had shots. The advice from the doctor was to "keep Gill quiet until tomorrow". So I ran alone at a 7:40 pace. I thought that might be too fast. But my heart rate never got over 160 bpm and I could sing for the whole run. I didn't do that, of course; there were other individuals on the beach. But it is the way I measure my breathing. Trouble is, this doesn't always equate to the legs. And, quite often, in the past I have hurt myself so that I had to stop for a month. So this was a test. And I did think about it when I stopped. The legs were sore but it was mostly in the quads, which is good. Had it been the hamstrings or the calves, I would have been worried. But this is what Gill does for me. He keeps my pace down so I can live to run again. I required much stretching when I got home afterward.
This morning Deb and our baker, Heather Betz, walked as they do from time to time. Part of their walk includes Ogunquit Beach. Their timing was perfect. When they got there, the sun was putting up a beautiful display over the water. Deb took a picture of this sunrise. It came out perfectly. It appears below.
I worked at the house until it was time to let one of our service professionals into the restaurants a 9:00 AM. The paint order had come in early this morning at the boat. So, right after 9:00 AM, I was headed to York to sort all that out. Between that and going over work order details, I used up two hours. The rest of the time I was at the office in Barnacle Billy's, Etc. writing letters, working on this coming season's schedule, getting things together for a meeting I have in Massachusetts tomorrow and addressing emails. Five PM came way too soon.
I received a very generous $500.00 donation from Paul Kostopoulos (CT) sponsoring me in the upcoming Pan-Mass Challenge today. Paul has been a contributing donor since I first became involved in 2007. Thank you so much, Paul. I very much appreciate your help and support in this project!
Except for the office work at the restaurant and here at the house and a quick trip to the Bunny Clark to drop off materials, I spent until 3:00 PM in meetings or driving to and from meetings. Most of the day was spent in Massachusetts talking to our accountants.
As a result I ate lunch at 3:00 PM. I probably should have waited as I couldn't run with Gill on the beach afterward. I am a fairly symmetrical runner with very little head bobbing. But, still, lunch would surely have risen up had I tried it. And it was a bit too cold for Gill's paws on the sand. I have tried this before only to find that Gill wouldn't go more than a quarter of a mile with me.
I worked at the desk for most of the day, either at Barnacle Billy's, Etc. or here at home. At 10:00 AM, it was off to do some go-foring, including a visit to the Bunny Clark. After lunch I stayed in the office until 5:30 PM. Kind of a boring day but I got a lot done.
At 5:45 PM, I took Gill for a run on Ogunquit Beach. It was almost dark at that time so I put a light on him. He wasn't too fiery to run hard. Nor was I. We started at a 9:00 minute pace that quickly dropped to 10:00. It got faster after I took him off his leash at the seventh house on Moody Beach, ran a little further on my own and then turned around to run back with him. He is always so excited to head back. I never lost sight of him. Unfortunately, we had to run later because I wanted to complete everything I had started today. In the end, we had run three and a quarter miles. My average heart rate was 136 bpm, perfect and very comfortable. Below is a shot of the two of us just as we were heading out. One of my good restaurant patrons gave me a Hab's toque that seems perfect for me when I am running in cold weather. Plus, I love the Canadien's logo. If it were not for the Bruins, I would certainly be a Hab's fan.
To me, this law suit is odd. The CLF is a kind of a watch dog group made up of some bright individuals who I enjoy talking to at the various fishery meetings or via phone calls and email.This group was the same group that pushed for the present commercial "catch share system" where the commercial boats in New England are grouped into sectors. Each sector is given a quota of a fish species. Upon implementation, those offshore boats that were previously under the "Days at Sea" program (individual boat quotas) started to fish inshore on cod because one big boat could catch the whole sector's quota on it's own while still saving fuel money because they didn't have to go off shore. In three seasons, the cod stocks were dropped so low that everyone fishing for cod noticed the difference. The NMFS turned it into a cod crisis. And the take of cod dropped dramatically in the following NMFS regulation changes. Recreational vessels weren't allowed to keep cod anymore. If you follow my Guestletters you will know that we lost almost all of our big cod, the best spawning fish, three years after the catch share system was put into place. It's ironic that the same group that, basically, promoted the demise of the cod is now turning around and saying that the stock has been mismanaged! Well, everyone makes mistakes. But all the CLF would have had to do was to look at Iceland who, at the same time the catch share system was being implemented here, was trying to get out of the catch share system they had been involved in for years! You can see that I'm not saying the law suit is wrong. What I am saying is that if they had done their homework, they would have seen the catch share system as a bad thing and not supported it. Maybe even stopped it.
I received a very generous $250.00 donation from Tom Bruyere & the St. Lawrence River Rats (NY) sponsoring me in the Pan-Mass Challenge today. Tom has made sure I have received a donation every year since I started this project in 2007. He has always been very generous. Thanks so much, Tom & Company. This is so very much appreciated and so thoughtful. All the best!
Except for a couple hours of work related phone calls, I spent the morning on the bike and the afternoon with my daughter and her husband. They had driven up from New Jersey to, first, visit friends at Orr's Island, and, second, drop west to visit with us before heading back south tomorrow morning.
I spent much of the time today on the bike. I got a lot of work done as well. Some of this work was aided by riding. By 9:00 AM, I had finished all the desk work I needed to do. But I had to drop a vehicle off in Dover for some engine work. Deb couldn't follow me up so I brought my bike and rode back. After lunch I was able to get another ride in with a couple of friends. Afterward, I was on the phone from 3:00 PM until 5:30 PM, when I called it quits for the day.
Captain Ian Keniston has been working diligently with finishing up rebuilding all our reels and customer reels. And he has been working with Dave Pease at the Bunny Clark. They are in the middle of about fifteen projects right now. And, with Ian and the helm, the old Bunny Clark will look new again by spring.
Deb & I got back last night from a lengthy vacation down in the Caribbean. Our vacation was supposed to be longer but, with the focus on Covid-19, it didn't turn out to be much of a vacation the last week that we were there. The island we inhabited, and have been vacationing on for many years, is French. St. Barthelemy. The island is independent with it's own President (Bruno Magras). But it is also a prefect of France. Being Frances protectorate, the island adopted the same regulations to fight the virus as France did - but delayed a couple of days. Compared to the United States, those regulations put the island into lock-down. Only a certain number of people were allowed into grocery stores at one time, there were demarcation tapes on the ground spacing people in line at two meters (about six feet) apart, swimming anywhere in the ocean around the island was prohibited, you were not allowed to go to the beach (an 150 Euro fine was imposed on those who were caught), riding bikes or running/walking was limited to within a mile from your domicile unless you could prove a good reason for doing so, all the restaurants and shops closed on the island and you had to possess a certificate in order to leave your residence. This certificate was all in French, of course. But it had your name and address on the island and four boxes you had to check when you were out and about. By checking the box of your choice you were informing any gendarme who stopped you that you were going for sport, going to retrieve food supplies, you were going for medical supplies or you were going for medical attention. Any other reason was subject to a fine. A day after the certificate was issued, they eliminated the category of "going for sport". The first fine for any infraction was 150 Euros. The second infraction was 400 Euros (the Euro was $1.07 when we were down there). They closed the soccer field & track the same day.
The first day they eliminated going to the beach, I couldn't believe it. Knowing someone in the legislature, I texted him and asked. His reply gave me the same message. Only the day before the rules had been that you could go to the beach for a half hour. So I said, what the heck. I'll go down anyway. I like to swim a mile or two every day in the open ocean. Five minutes after I got in the water, the gendarmes showed up on the beach and gave Deb, who was watching along the shore, a warning. They were very nice. But she couldn't get my attention. When I came around the bay to finish the first loop I could see Deb waving frantically. Not knowing if there was an emergency at home or we were being exiled, I swam in to find out the sorry news. So, pretty much, everything we love to do down there was eliminated. And the things we had to do to survive became much harder to complete. Just a trip to the bakery in the morning was an ordeal. Then we heard they were going to close the airport on Sunday afternoon. This was last Thursday. We tried to get on the first flight that wasn't booked. There was only one flight and that was Sunday morning. There were two more afterward but those were booked. So, basically, we got the last flight out. And we were lucky we made it out. On Sunday, they closed the hotels on the island. I was happy to be going home. Deb, not so much.
Now that we are home, we have to go into a self imposed quarantine. And I followed this to a degree. I was on the phone a lot. But I checked in down at the restaurants. I was over at the Bunny Clark talking to Ian Keniston and David Pease. And I had much to do to get into the works for the future of both businesses. Not knowing what the immediate future will bring and not being allowed business as usual is definitely putting a damper on getting things done.
For the Bunny Clark, it's launch dates, hauling (over the road) dates, USCG inspection delays, deck hands and schedules and supplies. And it's also figuring out when and if we will be able to sail with anglers.
The restaurants, the water gets turned on during Thursday. Once that happens, it opens the door for many other things to get done. We have a skeleton crew working right now completing what we can under the circumstances and along with social distancing.
During the time I was gone, I received a few donations supporting my quest for a cancer free world with the Pan-Mass Challenge. The donors and their donations included Jules & Sue Epstein (FL) for a generous $100.00 as an "eGift" through the PMC site, Dennis Fagan (MI) for $20.00 as an "eGift" through the PMC site, Wayne & Jackie Griffin (MA) for a very generous $1,000.00, John & Romayne Bockstoce (MA) for a generous $250.00 and a generous $100.00 donation from Rich & Donna McGuinness (GA), "In Memory of Pamela McGuinness." Thank you all so very much for your thoughtfulness and generosity. At a time when most will be out of work and the economy is on the downward slide due to Covid-19, you still found the resources to give to someone else. Very much appreciated!
My day was a little less confused than it was yesterday. I spent the morning on the computer here at home, catching up on desk work and checking items off a list of things I had to address. I needed to go back to the boat to get the exact measurements off the engine room deck hatch so I could order a new one. We broke a lock-down arm last summer which did not render the hatch useless. But, with the age of the hatch, it wasn't really something we could fix to one hundred percent capacity. And I don't want the hatch to be leaking. So I ended up ordering a new one. The rest of the afternoon was spent at home at the desk.
There was a special selectman's meeting this evening where they were going to talk about closing Ogunquit Beach to the public. Hearing this, Deb and I decided to take a walk with Gill, our border collie, down for our, potentially, last stroll there. It was low tide so there was plenty of beach to walk on. And this kept the people who were also there enjoying a walk a fair distance apart. Later this evening I heard that they closed the beach and all the public parking lots in town. I am not a hundred percent on this and I don't know, if in fact this is true, when this goes into effect. But be aware, if you are planning to drive up here, know that some of the things you might like to do in Ogunquit might not be available for your enjoyment.
My day was spent working on everything I could think to do to get ready at Barnacle Billy's before the water is turned on tomorrow. I spent three hours alone at the office at Barnacle Billy's, Etc.. Mostly I was on the phone talking to vendors trying to find out the status of their operations, telling them what we were doing, looking at the availability of product and pricing. I set up a schedule to call them all back in the future as the Covid-19 crisis progresses. I also spent some time writing an entry for the Barnacle Billy's Journal on our web site. This was also moved to Facebook and Snapchat by my sister, Cathy, and Stuart Dunn, one of our top managers.
During the afternoon, I started on working to get an SBA loan and started getting involved in the U.S. Government's stimulus package. I'll continue with this tomorrow. We are going to need help getting through this. Personally, I can't believe that this Covid-19 situation is going to be a short term thing, despite what our President seems to be conveying to the public. Progression, regulations, status, environment and routine changes hourly. So there really isn't a way to plan things for the future. On top of this, when you consider that we also have to keep everyone safe with whatever we do, we are trying to think outside the box with common sense and group participation to find the most viable solution for moving forward. It's a tough job in all aspects.
As far as the Bunny Clark goes, Ian Keniston had the elbow part of his cast removed. So now he can bend his arm. He still has a cast from his elbow to his fingers. Since it was over a month that his arm his been immobilized into an "L", taking that part of the cast off has made movement in that area very painful for him. It doesn't take the muscles very long to atrophy. So building the muscles back up and feeling comfortable moving his arm is going to take some time. All this and he is working every day to get the Bunny Clark back in shape. Painting, moving material and using tools is all part of his work. David Pease has been working on the boat daily as well. This is the first winter that I haven't had anyone working with Ian on the boat. This is the first time in a few years that Dave has been able to work as much as he has this year. With the virus crisis, I have been reluctant to have anyone work Dave and Ian for contamination reasons. I can't have those two getting sick. In turn, this will make getting the boat ready a longer process. Looking at the present climate, it probably won't matter anyway.
I interviewed a new deck hand today. He is young but his heart seems to be in the right place. He will have to have an audition on the boat to make sure he wants the position, is capable of doing it and we come to a determination that he will be the one. Then, of course, he will have to be pre-employment drug tested. So this seems to be a move in the right direction. Time will certainly tell.
The town select board closed Ogunquit Beach and the Marginal Way today. The police, today, were trying to figure out how this was going to best be accomplished. I talked with a patrol officer this morning to see if the Department wanted us to close our parking lots as well. The answer, of course, was yes. So I instructed our managers to put the ropes up so that none of our parking lots could be used. As of today, all of the Town's parking lots, beaches and public walks have been closed to the public. The Town saw so many visitors over the weekend flooding into Ogunquit that the Board felt they had to do something to promote social distancing during this crisis. So barricades and signage will be put up tomorrow to start to close everything down. If you are thinking of visiting Ogunquit, I would not do so at this time.
And, of course, our fishing season will be delayed. I don't have a date yet due to the evolving Covid-19 crisis. My opening date will also depend on participating anglers. Many have canceled because they have lost their jobs, have loved ones who need special care at this time or are sick themselves. This will be a challenging fishing season.
Today was more of the same as yesterday. I held a meeting for all of the Barnacle Billy's staff who are getting the restaurants ready. I outlined what I expect everyone to do to stay safe and yet still work together. And I gave my overall view of what I wanted to see done. We shared information and came up with some solutions. Then we discussed items that needed to be addressed immediately (things like making the ropes around the parking lot more visible.
I have been trying to remain at home. Since being away, the suggestion of self isolation has been taken to heart by Deb and I. I have been getting out on the bike. And today I used the later part of the afternoon to get on my bike and ride around York to see how York is addressing the crisis. The beaches in York are all closed. However, things like Nubble Light, the walk near the "Jiggly Bridge" near York Harbor and other areas remain open. Parking is open most everywhere in York including Nubble light and the beaches. There were a lot of people around York yesterday but there were no big groups. People were keeping their distance.
All the digital images were taken today. As changes evolve in the future, I will try to let you know.
I spent part of the morning on Barnacle Billy's restaurant items and part of the time on my bike taking advantage of the nice weather. I had about forty-five minutes of time on the bike where I was on my bike (stopped beside the road, of course). The items of most concern this morning were taxes, loans, the stimulus package and how it would apply to us at the restaurant, setting up the garbage removal so it's better than it was last year and calls related to items that need to be retrieved. I also had to check to make sure the Town had the loader down at our parking lot to remove some of the benches of theirs that they store there. We let the Town store all kinds of items there at the end of the season. These are things like a ticket booth and benches that reside in the Perkins Cove area. The Public Works director, Tom Torno, is very good to us. And I guess it works both ways. We are changing out the fence in the lower parking lot across from Barnacle Billy's, Etc. The cement benches were in the way and too heavy to move by hand.
The afternoon was spent running around, picking up items for the restaurants and the Bunny Clark. I was able to make a trip to the barn where the Bunny Clark is being worked on to drop off supplies. And I talked with Ian Keniston about finalizing some things.
At 4:30 PM, I still had time to take Deb & Gill (our border collie) to York Harbor to do the Fisherman's Walk and walk the Steedman's Preserve. At 60°F, it was a very pleasant walk. And who knows when and if they will be closing it down in the near future.
All beaches in Kennebunk and Kennebunkport were closed today. So all the beaches from Cape Porpoise to Portsmouth are now closed to the public. There is still parking in York. So you can still park there but you can't walk on the beaches. I did, however, see one kid surfing on Long Sands in York. Enforcement is certainly an issue.
The only work related thing I did today was edit this site and have dialog with the people who were replacing the fence in the lower parking lot at Barnacle Billy's. This is the same parking lot where patrons from the Bunny Clark park their vehicles. I think if I had known that this pandemic was coming I would have tried to get though another year with the old fence. But I had already paid for half of the project and we did need it. There are other projects (like our seven year windows project) that I had to curtail in the face of trying to save money. Hopefully, this crisis will end soon but the prospects of that happening don't look good. Plan for the worst, hope for the best!
What I did do is complete the longest bike ride that I have ever completed in the early spring. It turned out to be 102 miles. It was such a good day to ride. And I was sick of working at home. And it was the first day on the road bike, which is much faster than my cross bike that I have been riding until today. Afterward, Deb, Gill and I went for a two and a half mile walk around Ogunquit to get the dog moving and to just enjoy a great day before the string of cloudy rainy days ahead. Such was my day.
Traditionally, I try not to do much work on the sabbath, except for the essentials like editing this web site and answering emails. This I did. I got up a little later this morning as I felt it was best for my body after the long bike ride yesterday.
At 9:30 AM, I headed out for a solo ride on the bike along Route 1 to Kennebunkport, turned west up Brown Street and headed home using routes that took me up back and then down to Ogunquit via Berwick Road. At the twelve mile mark I started to experience a light steady rain. The rain wasn't so bad but the water on the road and the wheels of my bike wicking the water back on my body got me soaked within a half hour of the rain starting. So I was cold when I got back home. The rest of the day I spent reading and watching a movie.
Since Deb and I got home from St. Barth we have been self quarantined. I have been checking on the crew at Barnacle Billy's briefly in the mornings (except this weekend - no working on weekends) and then getting on the bike at some time during the day. Most of these rides have been solo but, on two occasions, with two other riders (who have also been self quarantining). Deb has been going to buy groceries. And we have been going on walks together with the dog. We have had no social interaction with other people other than what I just told you. There have been two cases of Covid-19 with employees at Hanneford supermarket, where Deb shops. This news came late yesterday. But we have both been taking precautions (gloves, masks, washing hands, distancing and not touching food packages except to purchase) while in these situations. I continue to see too many people on the public places where people can gather. But it has gotten better the longer this crisis has gone on. We feel lucky that we don't live in a congested area. The number of cars has dropped significantly around Ogunquit. And, yesterday, while riding, it was like going through a ghost town while riding back through Ogunquit. Of course, this could also have been due to the rainy raw weather we were experiencing. All in all, we have been making a concerted effort to remain healthy. The mind set has been to regard everything you do as a health risk and to take precautions. That seems to be the new world order for the time being.
In New Jersey, my daughter, working as an RN in a hospital there, delivered a baby from a woman who's husband has been infected with Covid-19. So far, this is the closest she has knowingly come to the disease. I guess that nurses throughout New Jersey are leaving their jobs due to the scare of becoming infected themselves. My daughter has had to pick up some of their shifts to maintain hospital availability and function. Of course, we worry about her catching the virus herself.
Stay safe and stay apart, everyone. If you aren't sick you won't be infecting others. And if everyone is following health guidelines, the disease won't be passed on. Keep up the constant awareness of your environment.
I spent the day navigating around our suspended work situation. I met with the skeleton crew who we have getting both restaurants ready. We are still moving forward there but without the consideration of bringing product in. We have no potential date for opening yet. After seeing where everyone was going with the work order, I left and spent most of my time at home. Deb and I are still supposed to be under quarantine for two weeks since we got back in the United States on March 22nd. So we are staying with the game plan even though neither one of us is showing symptoms. When I do visit the Cove, I do it with gloves, a mask and stay a good distance away from everyone. You can't be too safe these days. Later in the day, we talked over a paper order that needs to go out that also includes more gloves and essentials.
I kept in touch with Ian Keniston who was working on the Bunny Clark at the time. We set up tentative launching dates, dates for hauling the Bunny Clark over the road and protocols needed at the Kittery Point Yacht Yard. I also needed direction on how we could, would or wouldn't be conducting the business of taking anglers fishing. And there were many other aspects of our situation that I delved into today. U.S.C.G. inspections have been pushed forward. The plan it to tentatively inspect the Bunny Clark on April 17th. But this will depend on what the Coast Guard will be able to do in the near future. Much hangs in the balance. I left Ian with a message that our Spectra line was in for the rebuilt reels that need it.
Much remains to do. The world seems to be evolving on the hour. Trying to cope with it all and still meet the demands of maintaining two businesses with our employees is not easy. I am optimistic that we will be able to get through it but at what cost?
My day was spent at the desk, mostly, today. The thrust was figuring out federal monies available, meeting with the small crew at Barnacle Billy's and driving to the Bunny Clark to bring supplies and discuss launching dates. So much is up in the air right now. And nothing is certain. Every day something happens that makes us have to adjust
After working at the house, we had a meeting at the restaurants with a vendor for one of our services that is provided. This for when we do open again. We have another meeting tomorrow with another vendor along the same lines. The rest of the day was spent getting around the daily business items that hit us every spring. Of course, it's very different than normal, harder and more time consuming. But these are things that have to be done.
I spent most of the morning working on filling out forms for the, now available, SBA loans. This, of course, is something new as we will run out our credit line if we don't get some financial help in the next month.
The Covid-19 limitations went a bit further today. Some businesses stopped their take-out business for liability reasons, the crew became uncomfortable serving the public and the fact that under the current guide lines, these businesses felt that they weren't following the intent of these new regulations. These are the same reasons that I didn't open up a take-out service at Barnacle Billy's. With no parking, no Marginal Way, no beach and, indeed, no where to go in town, the last thing I needed was to have a line of people out the take-out window. It wouldn't be healthy and it certainly wouldn't be fair.
Today, the town of Wells closed all hotels and motels. Ogunquit hasn't done this yet but they probably should. Some hotels have closed on their own. There are still quite a few people out of state coming in to town. I wouldn't say it's crowded here. But the weather hasn't been great either. The weekend is supposed to be nice. I will be interested to see what it's like then.
Another interesting thing: I've had time to spend some time on my bike in the afternoon. I've had dogs chase me on four occasions in the last ten days, something that hasn't happened but once in the last ten years. Two were potentially dangerous situations. One involving a German shepherd that I barely left behind me at 28 mph! That had my heart going! When I went to high school at Tilton School in Tilton, NH, I used to ride my bike home on weekends. It was a seventy-two mile ride. I would leave at 7:00 AM and get to Ogunquit when the noon horn used to sound at the Fire House. [There is no noon horn anymore] On one of these occasions, while riding through Rochester, NH, I tried to out-run a big German shepherd with no success. He ended up jumping on my back and taking me and my bike down into a ditch. I ended up on my back with the bike between me and a biting,snarling dog with it's owner running down the road yelling. I got scraped up a bit but didn't break anything. Nor was my bike damaged. So I was able to ride home without another incident. But that memory sticks in my mind like it was yesterday. My point, though, is a question as to why I am seeing more dogs. Are owners relaxing restraints? Since owners are home more, are they letting the dogs out more? Whatever, this is a new occurrence.
Work on the Bunny Clark continues with only two working physically and myself as a coordinator.
I worked at the desk until a time before 8:00 AM. The normal routine, becoming more routine every week, I'm sad to say. The boat should be in the water by now. We should be getting ready for USCG inspection. We should be getting ready to open the restaurants, talking about pricing and adjusting our menus. Of course, under the current crisis, we are not doing that. Both businesses have a skeleton crew working towards getting everything ready to run. There is no urgency. There is no control date to think about. We have a tentative USCG inspection slated for the 17th. The Coast Guard isn't sure if they are going to be able to honor that date.
At 8:00 AM, I had another meeting with the representative of another waste removal company. The company we had last year, who we still have now, have raised their prices about forty percent. But what is worse, for the business, was the consistency, lack of communication and their inability to work with us last year. We can live with this, for sure. But it means that we are going to end up paying much more and also have to worry about something we shouldn't even be thinking about. So we have been thinking of our options moving forward. Our present company has reached out to me to tell me that communication is going to be much better and that consistency will be their routine. I'm not so sure. Our meeting today also involved other businesses, who's owners feel the same way I do. This took up about an hour and a half.
The rest of the day was spent filling out applications for the CARES act, the stimulus package that the Federal government just passed. The Paycheck Protection Program application was the focus of most of my attention today. And it wasn't easy. I ended up getting a spread sheet calculator from our accountants. And I had to enlist the extra services of our book keeper in order to fill it out properly. Afterward, I had to check all this with our accountant to make sure everything looked okay. By 7:00 PM, our book keeper was putting the finishing touches into the "calculator". This had to be completed for both businesses. Deb was the principle working on the Bunny Clark application. Tomorrow morning I will put the final figures into the application and bring it to the bank. Just that act alone is going to have to be qualified. The uncertainty is a lot for me to handle mentally. And maybe it's just the combination of this, the constant bad news, the diminished work, having no time goal and having to self quarantine that gives me that tired feeling.
Another thing that was brought up today was the fact that some banks do not want to honor this Act! I can see why. The banks aren't making any money with this. Why would anyone want to be saddled with so much work that's not going to be paid for? Will there be some provision put in place to allow the banks to charge a percentage if the loans aren't paid back. And, looking to the future, how is all this money going to be paid back anyway? Will our tax rate go up? Most likely. And small business will probably be hit the hardest. Good luck to all of us, fiscally, mentally and physically!
After this update, I spent the whole morning getting the PPP (CARES act) application finalized and all the borrowing figures correct according to the mandate. When I woke, I was informed that the SBA had changed the format of the application - indeed, the application itself. So I had to start all over again to fill out two new applications and discarding the others. It wasn't as bad as the first time because I had all the relevant figures I needed. But it was tedious and new questions were asked so that I had to include an addendum page. Right now, there is a competition among businesses to get these applications in early and to even receive the loan before the money runs out. Two Trillion dollars sounds like a lot (and I wish I had it!) but if you parcel this out to all the businesses in the United States, it really won't be enough. After all that figure is only 10% of the country's GDP. By noon, I had this completed and was heading to the Bank.
I have to tell you that Gill (our border collie) has been bored. Deb and I drove to the bank and were planning to continue to the grocery stores we hadn't visited in a while, afterward. Gill was with us. A couple years ago, when he used to ride with me, we used to fight with the window on his side. He would put the window down. I would put it up. This battle finally stopped until today. Now whether he was trying to get us back for all the time in the house or whether he just wanted some fresh air, I couldn't tell you. But the battle began after we left the driveway. At first, Deb accused me of doing it as a joke. In my truck, if you put the window down while driving, it makes your ears pop. So, of course, Deb looked right at me when it first happened. It took a couple times to convince her that it was actually Gill who was the culprit. It must have meant something to Gill because he would look right at me when he did it - like the old days. After the seventh time, we moved the dog around so he wasn't able to do it anymore. Maybe this was what he really wanted to accomplish in the first place. I'll never know. We are seeing things we have never expected to see with this quarantine thing. This, I think, is one of them!
They closed all the walks in York Harbor today including the Steedman's Preserve walk over the "Jiggly Bridge" and the Fisherman's Walk. The regulations continue.
After the mental stress of last week, I took the day off after I edited this page. I, basically, spent the rest of the day on the bike, getting in 112 miles. This was a little too much for this early in the season. But I felt good right until the end and could have done more. But, with the way I felt afterward, I'm glad that I didn't.
Except for taking a very little time to edit this site, I took the rest of the day off, pretty much. I jumped on the bike again and met some fellow riders. We kept our distance. It's always a bit strange when you are so used to riding close to cyclists who are really good at what they do to being spread apart enough that you can hardly talk. As most of you know, I like to talk. For this reason, half of the miles I rode today were on my own. I had twenty-seven miles under my belt before I met the first couple riders I was going to be with. Then I left them to make up another twenty miles before arriving home.
I've been going on walks with Deb & Gill (our border collie). This is something I never do this time of year. Usually I'm too busy. In fact, I rarely go for walks with Deb and dog when I am home because I am constantly working. Going for a walk today or any day is also much different. This we did after a shower and lunch. We can't walk on the beach or the Marginal Way or any of the local parks and walks because every one of those places is closed to the public. So we walk the local roads and sidewalks. Gill, on the other hand, doesn't know this. So we have to avoid going near the Marginal Way as he will stop and won't budge. At least this is what Deb said. So I challenged her on it. When we walked down Isreal Head to the little lighthouse at an entrance of the Marginal Way (near Little Beach), Gill Stopped and would not go any further! He would look at the Marginal Way and then look at us. We kept trying to pull him. But nothing would move him. I finally had to get behind him, lift up his back legs and walk forward to get him to go. As soon as I figured that he would start moving again, I put his hind legs down and there he stood. Stopped, looking up at me, not moving. It took me six tries to finally get him walking, reluctantly, up the hill towards home.
I had a very busy morning this morning. Mondays have been that way, lately. I spent time conferring with our staff at Barnacle Billy's, checking on Ian Keniston's needs at the Bunny Clark, setting up launching dates, setting up a time for a mechanic to work on the engine and letting all the appropriate people know my future plans for all this. I also spent time calling some of the restaurants vendors to see where they were at and how things were progressing in this crisis.
A couple days ago, Maine's Governor, Janet Mills, closed all the hotels and motels in the state. As of this morning we had only ten fatalities from Covid-19 in Maine. The number of cases of the disease is increasing. Looking at the more southern states tells the story of what could happen if we don't tighten things up a bit. I was somewhat cavalier in my assessment of the situation earlier in the game. I don't feel that way now. This is serious stuff. Every day something else cements that feeling in my mind. Before I went to bed this evening, the UK announced that England's Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, was admitted into ICU at a hospital there. His symptoms had worsened enough that they wanted him there "in case he might need a ventilator". It brings home the fact that we have nothing with which to fight this virus at the present time. We can only treat the symptoms and try to make the victim as comfortable as we can. When a country can't even protect it's leaders, it's time for a pause. The fact remains that until you get the disease, there is no way to know how your body will respond. I worry about my daughter, a nurse on the front line in Bergen County in New Jersey, one of the areas that is hardest hit with cases. I worry about my son who has had pneumonia twice in two years. And I worry about the people I love in general.
There was a lot of running around today. And I was on the phone for much of it. The CARES Act loan was approved for the restaurants today. Seventy-five percent of that loan has to go to payroll. The rest can be used for utilities. So we will have to monitor our spending closely in order use the loan properly. As of tonight, the loan for the Bunny Clark had not been approved. I will look into it again tomorrow.
Later in the afternoon, I was able to jump on the bike and get away from it all. I rode down to Rye, New Hampshire and noticed that the police were having a hard time closing off parking areas where out of state cars had already parked. I don't know what kind of policy was in place but it looked to me that they were just starting to close these places off. It was such a nice day that many cars were out along the shore. And, from the casual observer, you wouldn't have suspected any difference from a normal middle of the week spring day. When I got to York, I noticed that every public area has been closed. Where the Nubble Light area was open for parking last week, barricades were up at the entrance today. All the parking areas except along Long Sands were also taped off.
I see a lot of people, mostly couples, walking everywhere that I ride my bike. The numbers of people I see are well above normal. But, with few exceptions, most are practicing the social distancing. Although few are wearing masks. And I suppose it's not such a priority as it would be in a supermarket or a confined area. The one thing I do notice, that is much different than normal, is the hellos and waves I get from everyone who is out and about. No one ever used to wave to me. And I always thought that it was the theme: guys don't like seeing guys in Spandex. And maybe that is still true. But it's like everyone realizes that we are all in this together and are just happy to be out. Maybe it's just an extension of what would normally be a hug - that we really shouldn't be doing now. Does everybody miss a hug? Or is it just that people, now more than ever, appreciate being healthy and living in a free state? I don't know. But it certainly makes riding a bike much more enjoyable.
Also, Anthony Palumbo gave me his notice on the last day of the season. He is going into cabinet making on a full time basis next year. So he will not be available as a full time deck hand. So, as of right now, we will be in need of two deck hands, possibly one, a full time position and a part time position.
Ian and I have been talking to prospective candidates recently. We have only decided on one person so far, a part time (mostly summer) deck hand. We are looking at two more. Anyone taking the position needs to understand that a pre-employment drug test is required as well as being enrolled in a random drug testing program. You can call 207-646-2214 if you are interested.
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