Maine Coast - October 2018

In early October of this year, I carved 10 days out of my schedule to visit the coast of Maine. With help from the staff at the Island Institute, I made an itinerary that involved visiting three of Maine’s offshore island lobstering communities - Matinicus, Islesford and Vinalhaven. The Island Institute works to sustain Maine's island and remote coastal communities, and exchanges ideas and experiences to further the sustainability of the island communities. I had connected with the Island Institute through my involvement with the organization Smith Island United - a group dedicated to preserving the culture, environment and history on Maryland’s only inhabited offshore island in the Chesapeake Bay. The Island Institute was able to connect me with fisherman to photograph out of Islesford and Matinicus, and through a friend on Tangier Island, I was able to connect with a fisherman on Vinalhaven to go lobstering with.

Matinicus Island

Lobster gear on a wharf at Matinicus Island.

Lobster gear on a wharf at Matinicus Island.

Lobstermen use the extreme tidal range to their advantage when working on and cleaning the bottom of their workboats.  Wet Bugs  at the Matinicus Island Harbor.

Lobstermen use the extreme tidal range to their advantage when working on and cleaning the bottom of their workboats. Wet Bugs at the Matinicus Island Harbor.

Workboats tie up abreast to the ‘lobster cart’ in the harbor at Matinicus to sell their catch. The lobster buyer will run the lobsters into Rockland, Maine after each day of buying.

Workboats tie up abreast to the ‘lobster cart’ in the harbor at Matinicus to sell their catch. The lobster buyer will run the lobsters into Rockland, Maine after each day of buying.

Aerial view of a workboat moored in the harbor at Matinicus Island.

Aerial view of a workboat moored in the harbor at Matinicus Island.

Lobsterman, Clayton Philbrook, rowing his skiff back to the wharf after a day of lobstering out of Matinicus Island.

Lobsterman, Clayton Philbrook, rowing his skiff back to the wharf after a day of lobstering out of Matinicus Island.

Eli Philbrook, grandson of lobsterman Clayton Philbrook, plays in his grandfathers freshly painted buoys.

Eli Philbrook, grandson of lobsterman Clayton Philbrook, plays in his grandfathers freshly painted buoys.

Colorful lobster gear on the wharf at Matinicus Island.

Colorful lobster gear on the wharf at Matinicus Island.

Rocky shoreline on Matinicus Island.

Rocky shoreline on Matinicus Island.

Islesford - Cranberry Islands

Cranberry Isles Fisherman’s Co-Op fisherman, Andy Moody.

Cranberry Isles Fisherman’s Co-Op fisherman, Andy Moody.

Cranberry Isles Fisherman’s Co-Op fisherman, David Thomas and his crew hauling traps at first light.

Cranberry Isles Fisherman’s Co-Op fisherman, David Thomas and his crew hauling traps at first light.

Islesford, ME© Jay Fleming14.jpg
Block and tackle used to haul up lobster pots.

Block and tackle used to haul up lobster pots.

Banding prevents the lobster from being able to use their claws after being caught.

Banding prevents the lobster from being able to use their claws after being caught.

Cranberry Isles Fisherman’s Co-Op bands.

Cranberry Isles Fisherman’s Co-Op bands.

Female lobsters carry eggs on the underside of their tail (left). When caught in a trap, these lobsters are released and notched. Notching the lobsters tail identifies that particular lobster as a reproducing female even after she lays her eggs. All notched lobsters are required to be released to help ensure the sustainability of the lobster fishery.

Female lobsters carry eggs on the underside of their tail (left). When caught in a trap, these lobsters are released and notched. Notching the lobsters tail identifies that particular lobster as a reproducing female even after she lays her eggs. All notched lobsters are required to be released to help ensure the sustainability of the lobster fishery.

Detail of the egg bearing female lobster pictured above.

Detail of the egg bearing female lobster pictured above.

The tail of a lobster.

The tail of a lobster.

Lobsters are kept alive in holding tanks with recirculating water on the workboats after being pulled out of the traps.

Lobsters are kept alive in holding tanks with recirculating water on the workboats after being pulled out of the traps.

Lobster being unloaded from a workboat’s holding tank into the Cranberry Isles Fisherman’s Co-Op holding containers.

Lobster being unloaded from a workboat’s holding tank into the Cranberry Isles Fisherman’s Co-Op holding containers.

The holding containers can house up to 90 pounds of live lobsters. These are stored in the water to keep the lobsters alive.

The holding containers can house up to 90 pounds of live lobsters. These are stored in the water to keep the lobsters alive.

Loading the holding containers full of lobster into the Cranberry Isles Fisherman’s Co-Op boat  Dividend.

Loading the holding containers full of lobster into the Cranberry Isles Fisherman’s Co-Op boat Dividend.

The bait shed at the Cranberry Isles Fisherman’s Co-Op.

The bait shed at the Cranberry Isles Fisherman’s Co-Op.

Barrels of Salted Herring ready to be used as bait.

Barrels of Salted Herring ready to be used as bait.

Salt preserves bait like these Menhaden and allows for non-refrigerated storage.

Salt preserves bait like these Menhaden and allows for non-refrigerated storage.

Mount Desert Island

Mount Desert Isle© Jay Fleming01.jpg
Mount Desert Isle© Jay Fleming02.jpg
Fall colors in and around Acadia National Park.

Fall colors in and around Acadia National Park.

Mount Desert Isle© Jay Fleming07.jpg
Mount Desert Isle© Jay Fleming06.jpg
Wild mushrooms in Acadia National Park.

Wild mushrooms in Acadia National Park.

Looking east from the summit of Cadillac Mountain, Maine’s highest peak.

Looking east from the summit of Cadillac Mountain, Maine’s highest peak.

Lichens on a rock at the summit of Cadillac Mountain.

Lichens on a rock at the summit of Cadillac Mountain.

The ferry terminal at Bass Head on Mount Desert Isle.

The ferry terminal at Bass Head on Mount Desert Isle.

Looking east on Southwest Harbor at dawn.

Looking east on Southwest Harbor at dawn.

Owls Head

Owls Head light at dawn.

Owls Head light at dawn.

Owls Head ME© Jay Fleming02.jpg
Owls Head ME© Jay Fleming01.jpg
Boats moored in the harbor at Owls Head, Maine.

Boats moored in the harbor at Owls Head, Maine.

Vinalhaven

Workboats at dawn on Carvers Harbor.

Workboats at dawn on Carvers Harbor.

Vinalhaven, ME© Jay Fleming05.jpg
Jacob Watt working near Saddleback Light in Isle Au Haut Bay.

Jacob Watt working near Saddleback Light in Isle Au Haut Bay.

MaKenzie Hannah  working near Saddleback Light.

MaKenzie Hannah working near Saddleback Light.

Hauling traps off Vinalhaven Island.

Hauling traps off Vinalhaven Island.

Vinalhaven, ME© Jay Fleming17.jpg
Vinalhaven, ME© Jay Fleming10.jpg
Measuring a lobster.

Measuring a lobster.

Banding tools and bands.

Banding tools and bands.

Rockfish (left) and Herring.

Rockfish (left) and Herring.

Bait bags packed with Herring.

Bait bags packed with Herring.

Northern Shrimp caught in a lobster trap.

Northern Shrimp caught in a lobster trap.

Jonah Crabs are by-catch of the Lobster fishery.

Jonah Crabs are by-catch of the Lobster fishery.

Vinalhaven lobsterman, Taza Watt.

Vinalhaven lobsterman, Taza Watt.

First Light  working lobster pots off Vinalhaven.

First Light working lobster pots off Vinalhaven.

Workboats unloading lobster at Linda Bean’s lobster dock on Carver’s Harbor.

Workboats unloading lobster at Linda Bean’s lobster dock on Carver’s Harbor.

Workboats moored in Carver’s Harbor on Vinalhaven Island.

Workboats moored in Carver’s Harbor on Vinalhaven Island.

Skiffs tied up to a floating dock on Carver’s Harbor. Skiffs are used to get out to workboats moored out in the harbor.

Skiffs tied up to a floating dock on Carver’s Harbor. Skiffs are used to get out to workboats moored out in the harbor.

A floating dock holding lobster gear in Carver’s Harbor.

A floating dock holding lobster gear in Carver’s Harbor.

Carver’s Harbor on Vinalhaven Island.

Carver’s Harbor on Vinalhaven Island.

Vinalhaven, ME© Jay Fleming20.jpg
Vinalhaven, ME© Jay Fleming22.jpg
Working sheds lining the waterfront of Carver’s Harbor on Vinalhaven Island.

Working sheds lining the waterfront of Carver’s Harbor on Vinalhaven Island.

An abandoned workboat on Vinalhaven Island.

An abandoned workboat on Vinalhaven Island.

Detail of the workboat pictured above.

Detail of the workboat pictured above.

Portland

Harbor Fish Market, an icon of Portland’s working waterfront.

Harbor Fish Market, an icon of Portland’s working waterfront.

A workboat unloading lobsters at a seafood wholesaler on one of Portland’s commercial piers on the Fore River.

A workboat unloading lobsters at a seafood wholesaler on one of Portland’s commercial piers on the Fore River.