OK, so I've probably posted enough oyster-related items this year. Here's the last of 2010, because the oyster season in the town where we fish ends this week. As I write this, the snow is starting to come down lightly here in Falmouth, the beginning of what is predicted to be a fairly heavy 48-hour storm. So Mike, Tammy, Josh and I - the usual four early-morning oyster fishermen - gathered at 6:45 and traveled to the flats early to avoid the impending snow.
Tide was low enough to make the oystering comfortable and there were still plenty of oysters in shallow water, in spite of a couple of months of heavy harvesting.
There were only a few of us out there; early morning the day after Christmas is not a time most people want to be wading in winter water, bending down and scrabbling in the cold for their food. It was barely dawn and nearly freezing when we arrived, as you can see from the top photo, still in an almost pre-dawn state of blueness, one car's headlights twinkling across the harbor. The water is in the low 40s or high 30s and gives prolonged discomfort it it seeps into a glove or a boot.
Once we fill one half-peck basket, Mike takes it ashore and sorts the catch, positioning shellfish in such a way that as many are packed into a basket as is possible. The other three laborers gather and bring ashore enough oysters to densely pack the two baskets (one allowed for each town fishing license), Josh helps out with packing and then two people run rake handles through the basket handles and portage the catch to the car. This morning, the porters are Mike and Tammy, walking across the grassy sand with the catch.
Much of what we picked up this morning will be shared on New Year's Eve. The rest will not be wasted.
The snow's coming down more heavily now. Must be winter.