We drove towards dawn last Friday morning
as my husband and I headed to Malpeque for Setting Day, the first day of the lobster season for 2019. When we arrived at the port, the majority of the lobster boats had already left, loaded with the traps to drop into the sea. Several boats remained and were ready to leave, so we walked to Cabot Beach, along the trail through the dunes to watch the boats navigate the channel as they head to sea. The sun crept above the horizon as we approached the beach.
The trail parallels part of the channel and one of the boats motored past into the sun’s glow as we watched.
We hurried along the trail to see the boat as it passed Cabot Beach.
A band of clouds periodically covered the sun which was like a giant spotlight when it broke through the cloud cover.
Other times when the sun was behind the clouds, everything was covered in a giant shadow.
Boats were mere meters off Cabot Beach and we watched as they manoeuvred the channel, eager to reach open water.
In the distance, from another port in the west, other boats sped to reach the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
We could see a dozen or more boats along the horizon.
By the time the last of the lobster boats had left Malpeque, the first returned to load more traps and head out again.
Each boat can have up to three hundred traps, which requires at least two trips for the 45 foot/14 meter boats.
I watched as the returning crew baited traps with herring before they lifted them aboard.
They were fast and efficient at their work, keen to accomplish the job for the day. This wharf will be busy over the next two months as lobsters are lured out of their rocky holes and crevices by these herring-baited traps.
Fresh lobster was available on Saturday. Our first meal is on Mother’s Day. Our granddaughters, six and eight, have eaten lobster since they were the age of their two year old brother. Now they eat a whole lobster each. Their brother tried it last year and enjoyed it. I imagine he too will be eating a whole lobster before long. It is a seafood treat and a great tradition.