Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Bar Harbor, Maine

Today we arrived in Bar Harbor, our first U.S. port since we set sail from Quebec over a week ago.  We had to clear immigration before we could get off the ship, and tendering was required. Tendering means we have to drop anchor in the harbor or bay because the port or docking area is not deep enough or large enough for most cruise ships. The ship, once firmly anchored, lowers some of its lifeboats and these are used to transport passengers from the ship to the dock or pier. 

I wandered around town for a little while, did a little shopping, and then went down to the dock to get onto a lobster boat for a two hour tour.  We learned all about how Maine lobsterman are able to fish, how, where and when they set their traps, their unique buoy markers, as well as a lesson in lobster anatomy, life cycle, molting and mating. We pulled up one of the traps and we were lucky to have 4 lobsters (good) and several crab (bad) in the cage. Crabs are problematic because they like to eat the bait, as well as some of the soft wood of the cage doors which then can allow any trapped lobsters the opportunity to escape before the fisherman has a chance to pull up the cage.

I never knew that lobsters molt.  When they are babies, they molt 3 or 4 times a year, in order to grow.  In their second year they molt only 2 or 3 times and by year 3 or 4, they usually then only molt once per year. 

The female has thousands of eggs in her stomach.  During mating season, the male will deposit his semen, and then go away.  The female will then, at some point in the future, move that stored semen to her eggs.  She also produces this sticky stuff and she uses that to move her fertilized eggs from inside her body to the outside of her body, along her abdomen area.  There they develop over the next 9 to 12 months.  Then she releases them into the wild, fully formed but tiny.  Mortality is upwards of 95%!

Lobster trivia - fishermen put rubber bands around the lobster's claws not just to protect us from being clamped down upon or cut, but because, in captivity (like in the water tanks in restaurants or markets) if not banded, they will attack each other and eat their catch! They're cannibals!

Tomorrow......Boston.  I've been there several times before, so my special tour will be a behind the scenes visit to an American icon, Fenway Park.  It should be extra exciting tomorrow, as Game One of this year's World Series (Boston Red Sox versus St.Louis Cardinals) begins Wednesday!

1 comment:

  1. I will never be able to look at lobster the same way! I had no idea they were cannibals...

    Have fun at Fenway!