Lobstering boat tour

August 29th, 2016 by Hawthorn Inn B&B

Learn about lobstering and enjoy the Camden Harbor aboard the Lively Lady, a lobstering boat tour. It is a fun activity for kids of all ages.

The Lively Lady has become one of our favorite Camden Harbor activities to share with guests.  “Kids” of all ages enjoy it! My niece and nephews that range from 6 to 13 years old as well as my 21 year old daughter and her friend thought is was one of the favorite things to do during their visit to Camden, Maine.

lobstering; 21 year old "kid" holding a lobster

21 year old “kid” holding a lobster during a lobster boat tour.

Lively Lady provides a variety of tours that provide a lobstering demonstration. Many people come to midcoast Maine for the lobster, but many are not familiar with how lobstermen provide this sustainable food source to your plate.

Lobstering

The Lively Lady has a recreational lobster license so they have a few traps in the Camden Harbor. During the Lobstering and Lighthouse Cruise and the Eco-Tour Cruise, the crew haul up a lobster trap and bring it aboard.

lobstering; lobster crate

Lobster crate

Each lobsterman has his own color buoy that identifies where his/her traps are below the water. The lobster trap has 2 main sections, a kitchen and a parlor.

 

The kitchen contains the bait, salted herring.  The lobster is able to escape from the kitchen.  If the lobster passes through the kitchen to the parlor, it is more difficult for the lobster to get out.  There are small vents in the parlor so that undersized lobster can escape. Larger lobsters cannot escape the parlor.  The lobster’s brain is the same size as a grasshopper’s.  Our crew joked that it was natural selection. The lobsters that make it to your plate are not the sharpest tools in the shed.  The traps may contain lobsters or other surprises from the deep including baby lobsters, star fish, sea urchins, crabs or mussels. Even if the traps do not contain anything, there is a holding tank aboard the boat so they can still provide the lobstering demonstration.

Lobster as a sustainable resource

The Maine lobstering laws ensure that lobster remains a sustainable resource. Lobstermen use a special gauge to measure the length of the lobster’s carapace or body. They measure from the eye socket to the beginning of the tail. The legal minimum length is 3 1/4 inches. Lobsters under this length must be thrown back into the ocean. On Lively Lady, the crew teaches one of the guests how to throw a lobster back to the ocean. Minimum sizes are enforced to make sure lobsters are mature enough to breed at least once before they are harvested.

lobstering; below minimum size lobster

Tossing lobster under the minimum size back into the ocean.

The maximum legal length of a lobster is 5 inches. The maximum size limit is regulated to protect the breeding stock.

Female lobsters

When a female egg-bearing lobster is found, she must be thrown back into the ocean. A v-shaped notch must be placed in the right tail flipper before releasing the lobster. This notifies other lobstermen that she is a producer. This protects the female so that she may continue to reproduce and sustain the lobster population. A one pound female lobster usually carries approximately 8,000 eggs. The female lobster can carry the male lobster sperm for a number of months before she decides to release eggs. The released eggs pass by the seminal receptacle and are fertilized. She carries the eggs externally for 9 to 12 months.

lobstering; Egg bearing female lobster.

Egg bearing female lobster.

 

Other Sitings

Wildlife

I have been out on the lobstering boat three times now.  I have been fortunate enough to see quite a bit of wildlife.  There is a bald eagle’s nest on Sherman’s point and we’ve seen the adult eagles sitting in the nest.

Two years in a row, there has been an osprey nest on one of the channel markers.  The Coast Guard removed it after the first year, but the osprey rebuilt.

Cormorants are  black water birds that don’t have any oil on their feathers. These birds can dive up to 300 feet. One often sees them diving or standing on the islands with their wings spread out to dry off.

I love seeing the grey seals.  They are quire curious and can often be seen swimming near the boat. Other times one just sees them sunning themselves on the island rocks.

Grey seals

Grey seals

The holding tanks on the Lively lady also have rock crabs and jonah crabs in them.

Rock crab and Jonah crabs

Rock crab and Jonah crabs

Guests have told me that they have seen porpoise on the trip.  I have not yet been quite so lucky.

Scenery

Besides all of the education and wildlife, the Lively Lady provides amazing views of Camden. One can see some of the beautiful homes lining the coast, schooners, modern vessels and yachts. Sometimes the crew has interesting stories to tell about famous people on the yachts.

views of schooner and Mount Battie

View back at Camden and Mount Battie

A ride on the Lively Lady is a great way to spend some time in the Camden Harbor enjoying all it has to offer.

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