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Retired publishing executive ecstatic with the idea of spending most of his time on the coast of Maine

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Jumping fish, lobster molts, micro-climates and superstructural fantasies

Lots of mystery on the bay recently:

Fish have been jumping in the cove. Not the usual schools of mackerel roiling the surface, but big solitary guys, 2-3 feet long, clearing the surface completely and falling back with a satisfying (at least for me) splash. I've never seen this before, not in 18 summers. What are they? Sturgeon are said to jump for no reason, but I thought they tended to stay in rivers and near river mouths. Bluefish are notorious surface hunters, plowing through the above-mentioned schools like gym teachers, but I'm not sure they jump unless hooked. Maybe they are striped bass, which seem to be increasing on the coast of Maine. Why are they doing this? Not a clue. These are the mental perils of a man who mostly observes, not participates.

Very few lobstermen out there fishing since June. The price is so low it's not worth fishing, they say. The early season catch was tremendous, flooding the market, because apparently hordes of lobsters came in from the deep way early this year to shed. No one really knows why.

The fog the other morning crept northwards, slipping up the edge of Sheep Island. Vinalhaven and the bay to the south were already obscured. Then the fog just stopped, began to retreat. What strange change in humidity or wind caused this? If the climate can change within a few hundred yards, then I pity the sanity of weather-people. Imagine making weather the subject of your life and research, and being constantly befuddled and amazed. There's hope for science, maybe.

As the fog retreated, a ship appeared moving south. At least I think it was a ship - its hull was hidden and all I could see, binoculars included in the effort, was its superstructure of various heights and shapes. A castle wall, complete with towers and crenellations, trying to find Disney? Twin U-boat conning towers lost in time? Giant Lego thing returning home to Denmark? Fantasy remains alive. Often I'd rather stay ignorant of the facts.

All of this was accomplished in a relatively few minutes of bay-watching per day. Think what the result would be if I could do this full-time: a gold medal as the world's most happily confused man.

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