The water was calm on this early summer morning. Winds were light with just a hint of cool air. Weather perfect!
We came to view the sea stacks but on this day, Thunder Cove, Prince Edward Island, afforded my husband and me a rare opportunity to observe the lobster fishery.
Several vessels were visible from the beach but one in particular, The Hailey Jo, was just beyond the sand bars. We watched her four fishers work as we walked the beach, the buoys for their traps visible from shore.
One-by-one, the traps were lifted over the side of the vessel as fishers checked for crustaceans inside.
Occasionally an undersized lobster was dropped back into the water.
The boat visited the location of each buoy and fishers repeated the process. Traps were replaced over the side of the boat, sinking into the Gulf. On this calm day, only the usual occupational hazards apply. Imagine how those can be amplified by bad weather.
While we were excited to see the lobster fishery in action, we were reminded of the tragedies recently off the shores of our province. Two men aboard a lobster boat were killed recently when two boats collided.
At the beginning of the season, sandbars in several harbours around the island caused problems for lobster fishers. One boat was caught on a sandbar and started taking on water. The fishers were rescued by nearby boats. Others had to return to different ports rather than run the same risk going into their home port.
Later on this day, we had our picnic at nearby Cabot Park where a channel through the sand bars along the beach, allows the boats to return to port at Malpeque.
While we were there, The Hailey Jo returned to port, negotiating her way through the sand bars.
Red marker buoys should be kept right of the boat on the return to port. The Hailey Jo moved around the red buoys, as did the other boats who happened by during our visit. The sand bar must have shifted over the last two months and fishers know the location of the shifting channel.
I admire and appreciate the work of all professional fishers.