My Finshing Adventures On The East Coast

Day 13

Woke up over the past few days with about 5cm of the white stuff on the ground each day it has disappeared by about noon time and the locals have been calling it the poor mans/farmers fertilizer. I find it crazy to have this kind of snow so late into April. Again I still have my trailer parked in the public parking lot in Inverness with no power so you get the picture (its COLD ) apparently this is fairly normal for this time of the year.

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truck loaded with rope

Over the past few days I have decided to start working with the Captain and help him get all the gear ready for the season. Some of the guys think I’m nuts working for free but one of the reasons I’m here is to get the whole experience of being a lobster fisherman.  In life I have found that no matter what your activity or task at hand is, it is always easier when you have done the proper prep work. So my feeling on the matter is this. I can’t really know what it’s like to be a Lobster fisherman unless  I’m there to experience the entire job, and that means the prep work. Otherwise all I would be doing is taking a boat ride and hauling traps and sorting lobster.  No the real work is the time leading up to the season and the time to get everything put away after the season is finished. That is why I feel it important to haul and fix traps, hang and paint Bouy’s fix frayed rope, paint the haul of the boat, and any other work needed to go into the season before it starts. This is all the stuff that doesn’t make money and is a complete expense to the captain, also he normally does it all himself year after year with only the help from his wife Crystal.

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I’m super impressed with Crystal, she is super pregnant, and tough as nails, she is out doing all the tedious work such as splicing rope, tying string on to trap doors of each trap, and doing a general maintenance of all the gear, sometimes even moving the traps when she shouldn’t be lol. She also would be out fishing once the season opens, but this year she has a bun in the oven so to speak and that’s why I’m even here.

The Captain informed me yesterday that he has hired a 2nd hand for the season to help on the boat. Apparently the guy he hired is coming up from Halifax and has never been on the water, his last job was in a bank not sure exactly what he did at the bank but all I can say is good luck to him.

 

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My Fishing Adventures Out East (MY D’OH MOMENT)

MY D’OH! Moment

Well the other day while I was touring around the island I had made my way up to a little place called Cheticamp. While in Cheticamp I had decided to go and have breakfast at a small restaurant, there was a man also getting ready to have breakfast, I asked him if he was a local fisherman?, he said he was not and if I was? I said not as of yet but was trying to be, anyway we had a short conversation for a minute or so and all the while I was thinking he looked very familiar. He had some facial scruff and a toque on, a typical fisherman outfit I thought.

Anyway I thought nothing of it until a couple of days later when I was at my favorite sandwich shop chatting with my buddy Millan (the cook) LOL ,  Millian had told me he had heard rumors that Ben Affleck was spotted in the area, immediately my hand hit my forehead as I realized exactly who I had been chatting to back in Cheticamp only a day or so earlier.  I said to Millian I was aware of Mr Affleck’s presence.  I felt like a complete moron as I had asked the very famous actor if he was a local fisherman, I’m not %100 sure it was him but maybe %99.9 LOL.

I guess if Mr Affleck  had answered my question ( If he was a local fisherman?) with a “NO, Im Batman” I may have thought he has a screw loose and politely removed myself from his presence anyway.  And just incase you were wondering the breakfast was excellent. LOL

D'oh moment

My fishing Adventure out east part 4

Sea’s The Day Fishing (LOBSTER)

After a week on the road and visiting many places and speaking to many fisherman along the way I was now back in Inverness awaiting a meeting with a captain 25km south in Mabou I had been speaking with since January 2015, the deal was that if I made it here at least a week prior to the starting date of Lobster season that He would take me on his boat as his first mate for the season.

Ive kept in contact with him over the months so as to make sure he knows I have not lost interest I checked in with him along my journey out east. I texted his phone this morning in the hope of meeting with him for a coffee, no answer, & No problem so I headed to Mabour Harbour maybe he was around getting things ready.

As I arrived into Mabou Harbour I came across a young guy working on his traps I stopped and asked him if he knew A Captain Jody? He nodded and said “ eye!” Perfect I said would you happen to know where I can find him? And the young man replied are you his helper from Ontario? A stunned look on my face and I said yes sir im trying to be LOL.

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Mabou Harbour Lighthouse

 

The young guy took me around the harbour introducing me to a few of the fisherman and showing me where Captain Jody keeps his traps and then I he took me to have a look at the boat I may be working on for the spring.

Now I had been travelling to many places over the last week and visited many harbours and seen many lobster boats, now this as far as boats that are strictly lobster fishing vessles go was HUGE. Not as large as the boats in Advocate harbour or the crab boats in Louisbourg NS. But for a Lobster only vessel it was maybe the biggest one ive seen so far.

I thanked the young guy and was on my way back to Inverness. I’d have to meet the captain another day.

While I was on my way back to inverness I get a text from Capt Jody’s wife Crystal, asking if I would like to meet up with him for dinner at The Mull restaurant back in Mabou around 6pm. I happily agreed and went home to freshen up (ish).

At 6pm I was back in Mabou for the long anticipated meeting of my new boss for the spring. I had thoughts of what kind of an impression I should make,  for those of you that know me at first glance I can be a sight for sore eyes at times, Im a large individual a little rough around the edges so to speak lol so I had thoughts of trying to quickly find a rough looking fella preferably drunk & homeless, with no teeth. Id pay him $20 to walk into the restaurant and find captain Jody and introduce himself as me. The plan would be to stand back and watch the look on the captains face drop in horror to what he had just committed to working with,  then I would come in and shew the dirty dude away and he’d have no choice but to look at me in relief ha ha ha, but a quick look around and no one like that in sight, looks like I’m it.  If this had been Toronto the plan could have worked flawlessly, well accept most of the drunk homeless people wear designer clothing and live in better housing than I do lol.

As I walked into the restaurant I was greeted by a guy a bit shorter than me, clean (ish) shaven, with small round glasses and about as wide as I am, if I had shaved and wore glasses I could have been looking in the mirror.

Jody I asked he shook my hand we sat down and I know we were both looking each other up and down trying to size each other out lol, we had a great conversation over supper exchanging fishing tales from over the years. Captain Jody told me what to expect out there this season, I asked The Capt if he needs help with his traps he said I didn’t need to but if I was board hed appreciate the help, well I’m here to work and otherwise I’m not doing anything so I’d be more than happy to lend a hand. Capt Jody told me he would be on the dock 9am Friday morning, “ill be there” I said.  Capt paid for supper and we parted ways back to inverness as the newest lobster fisherman in zone 26B.

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the boat I will be working this spring

As I got back to the trailer it was night fall, now the first few days on the island was gorgeous with sunny skies, and plus temperatures. It has been cold over night but at least the day time has been great.

its now the 24th of April and the past couple days have been miserable, raining, overcast, negative temperatures, and crazy winds. Normally this kind of weather wouldn’t bother anyone, but I myself am still located in a public parking lot in Inverness. This means I have no power, or water hook ups to the trailer, also the little propane heater I brought with me has been giving me problems it only stays on for 20 minutes and then blows out for some reason, so I find myself curled up in bed under covers in the fetal position to keep warm, my face quite cold, no TV ha ha ha , and the worst part is no water to flush the toilet, so I will leave your minds to as what I have been doing (but it involves a grocery bag), if I need to go over night. The other issue now is finding a place to shower. I thought I found the solution the other day where I could just go to a motel and pay to use the shower, however the town had a major water break in the towns pipes which cut the water supply, it has now been a 3 day goal to have a shower lol, this actually has been quite the problem in town as the only hospital around the area is without water.  Oh did I mention with the high winds of up to 100km directly hitting the trailer it feels like riding the Toronto TTC subway, well that’s it for this blog off to work with the captain fixing broken traps.

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the fleet of Mabou Harbour waiting for the ice to leave before launching

 

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A Night in the pub (Inverness)

April 21st 2015

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I decided to head over to the local legion for a pint, I was met with some scowering eyes as I could tell I was making some people uncomfortable by entering the room. I ordered my beer and was planning to guzzle it and leave promptly.

My situation quickly changed as one of the individuals asked where I was from.  As I told him my story of where I was from and what I was here to do some others in the bar started listening and pretty soon everyone was sharing their stories of the fishing they have done over the years and they welcomed me to the town wishing me luck.

I was introduced to another couple by a fisherman called Lenny, (another local Lobster captian) and as Lenny introduced me he told the couple my story. The woman looked at me, shook my hand and said god bless you.

I looked at her and after many stories told to me over the past few days from several locals it would seem to me that many of the fisherman from the area have left here over the years to go and work in Alberta in the oil fields, so many of the captains have struggled over the years trying to find a reliable deckhand or deckhand at all for that matter. This has put a huge strain on the fishing industry and the smaller towns, forcing many captains to give up and sell their boats (if they can) so for these local people having someone come to town to fish instead of another fisherman leaving is a nice change.

 

I also met a local cook named Milin? (not sure the correct spelling)  that happens to work in a nice little sandwich shop in town called Downstreet, He was telling me of stories of how he worked  a very short period on the boats years ago with his brother, but it wasn’t for him, his family had 3 generations of cooks and that’s what he feels was his calling aswell, I Asked him about the idea of wanting to be able to make a Lobster Bisk for my family when I get home as a special treat, Milin’s face lit up and he immediately started explaining how easy it would be, he started off by saying you start by melting a lbs of butter, aaaaand that’s where I lost him, I turned to Milin  and said, ” instead how about I pay you to make one for me and ill bring it home to the family” (ha ha ha )for those of you that know me well this was a classic James move LOL. well I will need to make sure I stay close to this guy as I do love my food.

lobseter bisk

 

Well after many pints very kindly bought for me by Lenny, his wife Crystal, Milin, and a couple of other people, I was forced to leave my truck where it was and walk back to the trailer, forgetting about dinner and just passing out for the night (well it was bound to happen somewhere along my travels )  lol.

 

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My fishing adventure to the east coast

My Trip to the East Coast

Day 5

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I made it up to Chiticamp NS. This morning in hopes of potentially landing a very temporary position getting the lobster/crab processing plant ready for the upcoming season, I was unsuccessful in my task, however I was again walking the docks which was very active today, all the fisherman seem to have taken advantage of today’s great weather to get their boats and gear ready.  I was talking with some local fisherman and it seems that boats have or are about to start the crab season on the east side of the island. As this is now the 2nd time I have heard this I am contemplating heading over that way in the morning to check it out. As it will be about a 1.5 hour drive I think I will leave my trailer where it is in Inverness, pack an overnight bag (just in case) and try my luck.

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For the mean time I will head back to Inverness and see what’s going on back in town. As I drive back along the coast I notice that the ice all along the coast seems to have broken up over night and is now moving away from shore. A couple of fisherman told me that when it starts to break up it doesn’t take long, fingers crossed. As the day moves along the ice has moved about a ¼ km off shore and looks to be leaving the area.

Day 6

I awoke surprisingly sober around 6am feeling refreshed and ready for the day. I decided to see what the other side of the island may have in store for this old wannabe greenhorn, so I packed a bag of cloths, some toiletries and headed over to the east side of Cape Breton Island.

I arrived into North Sydney NS. And took a few picks of the very impressive ferry that takes people to Newfoundland,  then off to the docks to find some more fisherman.

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I found a very helpful guy working on his buddys boat (the was called Family comes 1st )  he gave me some info about some boats that were looking for some helpers down in Louisbourg NS, approx 70km south but unfortunately as for the boats in Sydney they probably wont be out until around the 15th of May. The man invited me intoto his brand new  lobster fishing vessel, he and his son had just purchased 2 new vessels for the upcoming season, I climbed up the scaffolding and chatted with the man for a few moments, again he invited me to come aboard, I explained that the next time I step onto a lobster fishing vessel it should be one I am fishing on. he seemed to understand that, So I thanked him for his time and info and off I went to find some guys looking to head out.

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I arrived in Louisbourg about an hour later down at the docks to find that some of the guys were starting to head out a few days ago but the ice from the west side of the island that had started to move out as I mentioned in the other blog had made its way around the island already and was now blocking any boats from getting out of the harbours on the east side. The word was if I wanted to stick around until the ice leaves then they would happily take me onboard to work the season. I thanked the captain I was chatting with for his offer but I explained I was only looking for a few days and an experience, as I had already committed to a boat back in Mabou for the season and that I would not be able to let the CAPT Down. He understood my position and I got back in my truck and headed back to inverness where my trailer is parked. ( I hope its still there when I get back lol.)

 

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