So much more than just a big bug


Good news: Lobster prices are falling!

The harvest has been plentiful, yet demand has declined, say those in
the industry. Consumers view lobster as a splurge, and with money
tight, it's not a priority on the shopping list.

Well, it should be.

Order a big one – most lobsters are soft-shell now, after the summer moult, and have less meat filling out the insides their big new shells.  How to eat a lobster.

New news: Don't eat the guts, and not just because it grosses out your table companions.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning the public to avoid
eating tomalley in all American lobsters because the green stuff –
which functions as the liver and pancreas – can have dangerous levels
of the toxin that cause paralytic shellfish poisoning.

All of us are born with a set of instinctive fears – of falling, of the dark, of lobsters, of falling on lobsters in the dark, or speaking before a Rotary Club, and of the words "Some Assembly Required."
     – Dave Barry

All the ingenious men, and all the scientific men, and all the imaginative men in the world could never invent, if all their wits were boiled into one, anything so curious and so ridiculous as the lobster.
    – Charles Kingsley

Rock Harbor adieu


The fleet in Rock Harbor, Orleans, MA


See 'em swim – and eat 'em

On our way off Cape yesterday we stopped at Rock Harbor for one last lobster roll.

The time must come when this coast will be a place of resort for
those New-Englanders who really wish to visit the seaside. At present
it is wholly unknown to the fashionable world, and probably it will
never be agreeable to them. If it is merely a ten-pin alley, or a
circular railway, or an ocean of mint-julep, that the visitor is in
search of, if he thinks more of the wine than the brine, as I suspect
some do at Newport, I trust that for a long time he will be
disappointed here. But this shore will never more be more attractive
than it is now. Such beaches as are fashionable are here made and
unmade in a day, I may almost say, by the sea shifting its sands. Lynn
and Nantasket! this bare and bended arm it is that makes the bay in
which they lie so snugly. What are springs and waterfalls? Here is the
spring of springs, the waterfall of waterfalls. A storm in the fall or
winter is the time to visit it; a lighthouse or fisherman's hut, the
true hotel. A man may stand there and put all America behind him.

– Henry David Thoreau

Cape signs


North Pamet Road, Truro

In the National Seashore: Cranberry cultivation in days of yore

The Maritime Red was pretty good – go figure

Sea here


This is your brain on Cape Cod sunset

Near Sunken Meadow Beach, Eastham, bay side, last night
Nauset Beach, Orleans, as seen from our boat, this morning


You can drive on Nauset Beach, if you're very very special
In Nauset Marsh, Eastham, with the old Coast Guard station beyond
A man, a plan, and finally some clams

I have plenty to write about but I'm in my mother-in-law's sandy backyard pirating internet from the neighbors and it's hard to see the screen outdoors in hazy late afternoon sun.

We finally ate the smoked bluefish (it took five hours to cook and was ready at bedtime last night).  I thought the entire process was stupidly elaborate and time-consuming.  And for a fish that usually tastes as bad as it smells about half an hour after you catch it.  

After my first taste I said, "John, I'm sorry to say this but… it's really good."

John and his mom had the 'steamer' clams for lunch too.  They were a little too sand-crunchy for me, but I didn't grow up here.  I'm what they call a wash-ashore.



A man, a plan, a bucket, but no clams

Good thing about a little boat: shallow draft.  It's made for summer exploring around Cape Cod.  (Of course we had to walk it into deeper water to lower the engine, start it up and boat away.)

Here we are anchored on Billingsgate Shoals between Wellfleet Bay and Cape Cod Bay as the tide approaches dead low. John thought he might dig up a few cherrystone clams to accompany the 9 bluefish we had already boated.  No luck.  But lots of quality low tide exploring of animal and mineral life. 

People used to live on Billingsgate Island before the sea took it back.  Mostly all that's left are porous red stones washed and weathered smooth by the sea – once they were bricks – mixed with the multi-hued pebbles and cobbles of sea-smoothed glacial till.

The bluefish filets are smoking on the little black R2D2 smoker in John's mom's backyard right now.  We're drinking Landshark Lager. We'll have to do better in the beer selection next time.


We did have a shark chase one of our hooked blues up to the surface today, but I didn't get a good photo of it.
Seal's Head Lager: our label

If I actually had the talent to craft a homebrew.

We saw several of these mysterious black objects from afar.  Some sort of buoy, rock, lobster pot, or channel marker?  Then this one turned its head and looked at us.  It's alive!

We had already spotted 6 or 7 young seals sporting around us.  This one, like some of the larger ones, was sitting on the bottom with its head up, so it was holding still in one place, not swimming.

We had our own swim not long after this, just north of Billingsgate, off Jeremy Point.  The water had warmed over the shallow part of Wellfleet Bay to 78 degrees.  This is not a saltwater temperature we know in New Hampshire, even though New Hampshire is not so far away.  It was bliss.

Sunset at Nauset Beach


But the ocean was the grand fact there …


We were wholly absorbed by this spectacle and tumult…


Having come so fresh to the sea, I have got but little salted.

– Henry David Thoreau, writing about the Outer Beach, Cape Cod, where I took these photos around 7:30 P.M.