This trip wasn’t the one anticipated, advertised as lobster fishing; I was looking forward to an authentic experience with, you guessed it, a lobster fisherman. It may have been slightly naïve of me to have expected this, especially when twelve assorted media people boarded the bus to Georgetown, from where our adventure was due to start. I’m not sure they would all have been keen hauling lobster pots up from the depths of the ocean.
I’d been foolishly looking forward to participating in an expedition like those seen on the Discovery Channel, huge seas, and hard labour aboard a cramped fishing vessel, ill-equipped to deal with the awesome power of the ocean. My imagination had run wild, giving me the starring role in a personal four-hour episode of “Deadliest Catch”. It’s possible some of the manicured nails of my companions would have made for some great reality television.
This excursion however, was basically a cruise with a theme, there wasn’t any real lobster fishing, but we did see a few crustaceans and a shellfish crèche. Our crew pulled up some traps, they explained the life cycle of lobsters and crabs, cleared up size restrictions, and described the sexual habits. It was definitely more “Confessions of a Lobster Fisherman”, than “Wicked Tuna”.
That said, it was still a pleasant trip, which departed from the attractive town of Georgetown. The colourful, wooden houses, quaint community churches, seemed typical of a New Brunswick town. It didn’t do any harm that the sun was high in the bluest sky, lightly marbled with the wisps of thin clouds, fine weather makes everything better.
The crew provided refreshments, which included some beer, there was a tasty, seafood buffet and later we enjoyed fresh ceviche, despite a pretty unsuccessful spell of mackerel fishing.
Our skipper, Perry comes from a long line of fisherman, and there is little doubt he knows a thing or two about the industry too. He’s been fishing these waters for several decades, but as the fishing industry struggles with quotas and dwindling stocks, he has found another revenue stream. He now caters to the expanding tourism trade, offering a chance to cruise along the Prince Edward Island coast, see some crustaceans and do a little fishing.
As mentioned our group was a dismal flop at this, after initially showing some promise, catching two mackerel in quick succession, we only managed one other fish for the rest of the afternoon. The good news; it was me that caught the extra fish, maintaining my one hundred percent record of being a lucky, if not skilled angler! There wasn’t enough fish for us to have grilled mackerel, however Perry offered a delicious fresh ceviche instead.
The lobster and crabs were in static pots, where the crustaceans obviously stay to make sure there are always examples to show to the tourists. It’s probably not the most exciting life, I imagined them playing charades or something beneath the waves. It’s certainly preferable to ending up in a chowder though I guess.
We were also shown clusters of mussels, a crèche with shellfish of various ages. Most were tiny, and few seemed of any size, they apparently take between two and five years to grow to maturity; I’m slightly jealous, four decades and maturity still evades me.
We cruised around some more, including a jaunt into the confluence of Brudenell and Montague Rivers. which Georgetown Harbour is built near. There were large flocks of cormorants and other seabirds, seagulls continued to follow the boat for sometime hoping for fish scraps.
Before long we our lobster fishing adventure was over, and we returned to the harbour. It may have been a little more cruise than fishing expedition, but it was an enjoyable afternoon. It’s perfectly suited to the needs of most tourists, educating, good food and an enjoyable cruise. I’ll just have to wait a bit longer for my big break on the Discovery Channel.