Lamoine

09/29/2013

Moose in Lamoine!

I borrowed this from http://mypage.direct.ca/s/selliot/moose.html. It resembles what I saw from my boat

On September 26 I had just finished pulling my lobster traps for the last time for 2013. They were stacked and tied down in Eleccentricity, my solar electric lobster boat. I was cruising back to my mooring when I saw a huge beast lumbering across the field next door to SeaCat’s Rest. I instantly recognized the shape, but I still couldn’t believe it. A moose. A BIG moose. I altered my course to get closer to land but it soon disappeared behind the trees. It was 8:30 AM.

Moose are not at all uncommon in Maine, but they tend to stay away from the coast, preferring the more wild interior and mountains. I have only seen coastal moose in the Rockport area, over an hour’s drive away. This was a first for Lamoine in the 18 years I’ve lived here. A moose is a big deal. Unlike shy deer, it goes where it wants and doesn’t care much what you think.

I dropped off the two lobsters I caught in my floating crate and rowed ashore. By now it was after 9 AM but I wanted to see if I could find the beast; after all, something that big is hard to hide. I cut through the woods and reached the field. No moose. I couldn’t even see any footprints. I was starting to think maybe it was a horse, or maybe I had imagined it all. But on Saturday, which is dump day around here, I asked our transfer station attendant Bill if he had heard anything about a moose in Lamoine. Bill knows everybody in town and takes gossip seriously. If anyone would know about a moose, he would.

Here’s another image I borrowed, from http://www.illaheecommunity.com/category/deer/

Yes, he reported, there is a moose in town and furthermore, it was last sighted “out your way near the piebald deer area”. Now you are wondering what the heck a piebald deer is. It’s a rare color scheme on a deer, resulting in a mostly white coloration. I saw this creature too, in another bout of sanity-doubting. You never know what will turn up in Lamoine.

Filed under Acadia, Lamoine, Nature by on . 3 Comments.

07/26/2013

Lamoine’s “Life of Pi” Connection

from http://screenrant.com/life-of-pi-movie-ending-spoilers/

Many of us have seen “Life of Pi”: an Indian kid is saved by luck while his parent’s ship goes down in a storm, only to end up sharing his lifeboat with a menagerie of zoo animals. One by one the animals are eaten or ejected, leaving Pi and an amazingly ferocious Bengal tiger. Soon they develop an uneasy coexistence and in the end (off the coast of Mexico) they both end their voyage very much alive. Dreamlike interludes and surreal but beautiful images suggest altered consciousness during the telling.

That’s the story we spend 95% of the movie viewing, but at the end Pi is forced to retell the story to investigators. In this version he is on the lifeboat as before, without animals, but forced to watch his mother killed by the ship’s cook and finally ends up killing the cook himself. The viewer is asked to wonder if the animal characters were stand-ins for the humans in the second version. We had to choose the more likely version and also to answer questions about the existence of God/faith as a side issue to which version we choose.

Despite the confusing ending the cinematography and special effects are dazzling, since the tiger is entirely computer generated. Claymation it ain’t. What does this have to do with our neck of the woods here in Lamoine, Maine?

Our own Steven Callahan was a consultant for this movie, his credentials are why. Steven spent 76 days in an inflatable life raft adrift in the North Atlantic 30 years ago after a probable whale collision sank his boat. He knows about catching and eating raw fish, dealing with storms and keeping his wits. In 2002 he wrote a book about it called Adrift, Seventy-six Days Lost at Sea, a New York Times best seller.

Newspaper photo after Callahan’s rescue in 1982

Steven lives on the east side of Lamoine, near the Skillings river and is a Naval architect. The author of Life of Pi, Yann Martel and the film director Ang Lee, who would soon begin shooting the film of the same name, paid Callahan a visit in 2009. They went sailing, spent some time picking his brain and returned to Taiwan to start shooting. But before long they invited him to help with the movie. Steve flew to Taiwan in 2010 and expected to sit in the back and answer a few questions about obscure details, but instead became a major player in the production. As the Bangor Daily News article says,

…he ended up spending long hours on the set working closely with the film crew. He helped to craft props, monitor the operation of a giant wave tank built especially for the film, and advised the film’s star, Suraj Sharma, on the mindset and physical challenges of being adrift at sea.

“I didn’t have a clue,” Callahan said of the workload he would assume. “I got sucked in more and more.”

Life of Pi received the Oscar award for Best Picture in 3013, no doubt some of this belongs to Lamoiner Steven Callahan.  I’m always amazed at the talented people within a stone’s throw of SeaCat’s Rest, I wish I were one of them. About the biggest challenge I have is occasionally sharing my electric boat with an unbanded lobster.

 

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05/20/2013

Noise or the Absence Thereof in Our Part of Maine

from http://www.noisecontrol.com, a company which sells products to reduce noise.

I’m selling a house in a medium-sized Michigan city on a busy road. Forty mile per hour traffic is a stone’s throw away and it never lets up. If there happens to be a lull, say around 2 AM, the background roar of the nearby six lane interstate comes to fore. Then there are sirens, airplanes overhead and lawnmowers. When I got back home to Maine the first thing I noticed was the silence. Actually, it’s not silent, just a heckuva lot quieter. A gentle rustling of leaves, chirping of songbirds, gull cries and crow shouts. Bar Harbor’s noon horn from 8 miles away. A distant fog horn. The crack of a mussel dropped by a gull on the rocky shore. In midsummer, the twin poofs of a surfacing porpoise pair. One time long ago, a distant bagpipe solo over the water.

Some potential guests ask about the noise from the airport nearby in their inquiries, but it’s really a different experience when a single point of noise rises, falls and then disappears for a long time. BHB is a small airport with infrequent flights. Contrast this with the relentless hum of most urban areas and you get the picture.

The World Health Organization (WHO) identifies four negative health effects of noise:

  • cardiovascular effects;
  • damage to work and school performance;
  • hearing impairment including tinnitus.
  • sleep disturbance

How is noise defined? Is there a decibel threshold or is noise a measure of relentlessness? A study was conducted in Europe in schools which were near busy roads and/or airports. The noise levels were categorized in four ranges, under about 50 dB, 50-55, 55-60 and over 60. Given the fact that these were “busy” roads and airports, we can assume the noise was fairly constant. The results on children pointed to reduced reading abilities; a loss of 1-2 months of development for every 5 decibels in the tested ranges. There was also an increase of “annoyance”, which the study defined as “a stress response to noise exposure implying reduced well-being and quality of life”.  So it looks like negative health effects start to occur over 50 dB, but damage to hearing happens only over 90 dB.

You can measure your noise environment easily if you have an iPhone and are willing to part with a buck. Follow this link and you will get to this image:

The decibel scale is logarithmic, so a reading of 6o is 10 times as powerful as 50 decibels, and so on. I tested this ap and found that I could not find any place quieter than 40 dB. That is, stone dead silence to me was still reading 40 dB. Normal indoor noises were in the 40-50 range. Outdoors, our 20 mph wind gusts and surf at the shore pushed the scale up to the low 50s, right at mid-afternoon, when the wind is the strongest.

To me, the annoyance factor of noise, coupled with relentlessness is what sets me on edge. A motorcycle with a “performance” muffler, a hip-hop bass vibration, a semi using jake brakes, honking horns, all laid over a constant hum of traffic. None of that exists at SeaCat’s Rest! I’ll take wind, surf and birds any time. Anybody want to buy a house in Michigan?

 

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05/13/2013

Lamoine’s Silver Mines

from http://www.theprospectorsite.com

Ever since moving here in 1995 I’ve been hearing rumors about a silver mine in Lamoine. I formed visions of mine shafts, glittering veins of silver and overnight riches, sometime in the distant past. I always wondered exactly where it was, and if there were any remains. I  finally decided to investigate. This is one of the perks of blog writing, you always have an excuse to follow silly tangents, as long as you write about them.

Two books exist about Lamoine that I know of. The oldest is Lamoine and its Attractions as a Place of Summer Sojourning by John C Winterbotham (1888); and A Souvenir of Old Lamoine, by the Lamoine Historical Society, undated, probably about 1990. While I haven’t been able to get my hands on the former I don’t think it has any information about silver mines, and none in A Souvenir, which I have. But there has been a breakthrough online: the US Geological Survey website has a database on mineral resources at http://mrdata.usgs.gov. By searching for silver mines in Lamoine I have the three documents:

http://mrdata.usgs.gov/mrds/show-mrds.php?dep_id=10121304  (Swett mine)
http://mrdata.usgs.gov/mrds/show-mrds.php?dep_id=10267472#nav (Ford mine)
http://mrdata.usgs.gov/mrds/show-mrds.php?dep_id=10218222#nav(Eureka mine)

Lamoine map from googlemaps. Locations are green arrows, except the Swett, which is covered by the pink pinhead.

The Swett mine is just behind this row of mailboxes

These three records give the GPS coordinates, so we now know the exact locations in Lamoine. Two of the three are on private land and not easily accessed. The landowners probably don’t know they’re there and asking for access would be awkward, but the Swett mine is so close to the road that going to the site is possible, and only 2 miles from SeaCat’s Rest.  I paid a visit on 5/10/13. What I found was a small crater with a built up rim, overgrown by trees. I expect the others look the same.

An overgrown crater is all that remains

So what happened? Did Lamoine yield untold riches to some lucky prospectors? Unlikely. In each of the three records we see: “Development status: Prospect” and “Significant: no”. This tells me that not much came out of value. Holes were dug, nothing was found, the prospectors moved on.

There were two mining rushes in Maine, the first was in 1878-1882. From the Milbridge Historical Society:

In a great flurry of excitement, small mines and prospects were opened in many areas, primarily along the coastal volcanic belt.  Some of the activity came from miners who returned to Maine from the Gold Rush in the West.  He said there were many new shafts drilled, and lots of promotion.  There was ample opportunity to buy mining stock and a large number of credulous fools, ready to make a killing.  A few did well, but most did not.  In most cases, the ore veins were just not big enough to make mining profitable. The Maine State Mining Journal reported in 1880 that Maine was 18th of 20 silver producing states, so there was indeed some silver production here, but never a lot.

The second mining boom was in the late 1950s. The Milbridge article goes on:

Part of an ore body estimated at 4.5 million tons was worked near Blue Hill in 1964-65, and significant nickel copper deposit was drilled but not mined in Union.  The most famous operation was the open-pit mine in Harborside, between Brooksville and Cape Rosier where 800,000 tons of copper and zinc ore were mined between 1968 and 1972.

Probably the most successful Downeast mine was in Blue Hill.  It is said that a million tons of zinc-copper-lead ore were shipped from the Black Hawk mine there.  1,600 men were employed there at $1.10 a day.  You could make more as a carpenter, but it was a reasonable living.  The map distributed by Jenkins shows 21 different mining sites in the Blue Hill area.  No metals have been mined in Maine since 1977.

In summary, Jenkins said that $975,000 was invested in Maine mining.  OF this only $375,000 was invested by Mainers.  Only $35,000 was realized from the total investment.  Of course, he pointed out, all of that $975,000 was spent in Maine, so the state did have economic benefit from mining.  He quoted Frank Bartlett who said in 1882,  that never have more summer visitors come to Maine to watch the hauling of ores from our mines.  There isn’t that much to see, “but they can’t help admiring our beautiful scenery.”

The source for the above quotes was Tom Jenkins, geology instructor and Assistant Professor of Professional Studies at the University of Maine.

What is still unanswered is whether the Lamoine mines were from the first or the second rush. The USGS site lists the source of information on these mines as ME Mines and Minerals, Volume 2 page 33 by Philip Morrill and Wm. P. Hinkley, 1959. So the mines could be from the 1880s or the 1950s.

So I’ve managed to answer the where, how many and maybe a hint of the how successful, but still unknown is the when and who. Do you know?

Addendum: I just heard from the Lamoine Historical Society:

There was a fourth silver mine named the “Little Sue”. (1881 map) It was a about one half mile from the Swett mine, near the salt water.
Mining in the area  started in 1879. No one in Lamoine got rich. In fact most of them were left with worthless mining shares. The Historical Society has a Little Sue original paper share.
The following is a quote from a Lamoine letter dated Jan 11, 1880. “There is quite an excitement here in regards to the mines. Mr. Johnson has commenced blasting;” and a letter  of Jan. 18, 1880: “Mr. Johnson has discovered a very rich one on his farm in sight from the road. The assayer in Sullivan pronounces it gold.”  This mine is not found on the map. It seems that the only money made was by selling the mineral rights to someone else. There were a lot of mines dug, but none successful. Letter of April 13, 1880: “Most every one that you hear of has got a mine. Amos has got one thought to be worth millions.”
The “craze” didn’t last very long.

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09/22/2012

Lobster Lessons of 2012

The author struggles with banding

After reading all I could both on line and off in preparation for lobster fishing, I can say that I have learned a few valuable unwritten lessons after a summer of the real thing on the coast of Maine. As background, I got my five-trap recreational license in January of 2012. I went into this game thinking it would be a contest between me, the newcomer, and the established network of commercial fishers. Instead, it has been between me and the lobsters. I have not heard a word from any other lobstermen or marine patrol officers since I began.

One of my earliest expectations was that I would be catching an average of one keeper lobster per trap each time I hauled, which I expected to do every two to three days. I got this idea from watching youtube videos. Instead, I have been getting an average of one lobster per five traps. So much for my anticipated problem of having too many lobsters! This provides me with about three lobsters per week, about what I consider a nice amount for our household consumption.

The economics of this activity is dismal. While the cost of electric “fuel” is negligible-2¢  (readers may remember I have an electric lobster boat), the bait is not. Then there’s the time involved. Over an hour to get my one lobster, not to mention the physical effort of hauling traps by hand and cleaning the mud out of my boat.

Still, if given the choice of silently motoring over to my traps on a glassy, sun sparkled ocean or engaged at some other typical human activity, I’ll take the hauling of usually-empty traps any day. This hasn’t stopped me from musing over why my haul is so marginal in a year when there is supposed to be a “glut” of lobsters. The key to better lobster fishing I suspect, is to constantly move traps around. Just watching the trap buoys in front of SeaCat’s Rest tells me that this is exactly what the big boys do. Early summer there were many, now there are very few. Even I have moved mine halfway to Lamoine State Park in an effort to improve the catch. Then there’s the depth issue. People have told me that setting traps in very shallow water is the way to success, that commercial boats can’t get that close to shore, and they miss a bounty of shallow lobsters. I can’t recommend this. I didn’t work for me. In fact, there doesn’t seem to be much correlation between depth and catch. My traps have 35-40 feet of rope which limits them to this depth at high tide. I tend to set them in deep water, but my problem in this is that with only 5 traps there is just no scientific validity to any of my results due to small sample size. If I had 100, 300 or 500 traps I could get a much clearer picture of which traps were successful. As it is, I have to watch the commercial guys for clues about where they set traps.

As for bait, I started out with salted herring, the classic lobster bait. This would disappear in a day or two, mostly from crabs. After going for my third five gallon bucket,  my supplier could no longer sell any to me due to short supply. I switched to hide bait. This is cowhide with its hair removed in a sort of brine which is about 4X as expensive, but is easier to store (requiring no refrigeration) and longer lasting, since even though it smells like a dead animal, it is like eating shoe leather. In fact, it is. I have found that even though the hide lasts a long time, it slowly becomes less stinky and therefore less effective as a bait. I tend to change it about once per week.

Cucumaria frondosa, Maine sea cucumber, from http://www.marlin.ac.uk

I do get interesting stuff in my traps. Besides (usually undersized) lobsters, I get a lot of crabs. I keep the biggest ones for picking. I get an occasional starfish. Some disgusting worms, sea cucumbers and hermit crabs round out the menagerie. Rubber gloves and a pair of tongs come in handy. Sometimes a seal will come by for a closer look or a school of mackerel will swoop around the boat.

As the fall turns colder I will give it up for another year. Next spring I will have my solar panels installed which will enable me to range further, so I will be more aggressive about finding better trap locations. I’d also like to settle the bait questions, finding a dependable supply and figuring out what kind is best. For now I’ll keep fishing until it’s no longer fun, a luxury the commercial guys don’t have. Hat’s off to them! Buy Maine lobsters!

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07/22/2012

Small Reach Regatta 2012, Lamoine, ME

Our guests at SeaCat’s Rest sailed this elegant yawl.

Paradise was oozing from the sea and sky for the 2012 Small Reach Regatta at the Lamoine State Park. Our electric lobster boat Eleccentricity was invited to tag along on Saturday, July 21 for the day’s trip to Bean Island. Bean Island is wedged between Hancock Point and Sorrento, about 6 miles due north of Bar Harbor. The day started with little wind, a problem for the majority of participants since they had sailboats. But by 9:30 or 10:00 the wind had freshened to the extent that sailing was possible and even exciting.

We counted 30 boats under sail and a few more rowed. I felt like I was surrounded by butterflies. We kept Eleccentricity at about 4 mph with occasional bursts to get out of the way of a tack and kept up with the fleet just fine. Time commitments  prevented us from going all the way to Bean Island so after rounding the bottom of Lamoine we turned around and headed back. Sadly, this is the last year for the near future that Lamoine State Park will be the venue for the Small Reach Regatta. We will miss it! Happy to meet, sorry to part.

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07/08/2012

Electric Lobstering in Lamoine, Maine

Almost two years ago I announced my plan to obtain my recreational lobstering license and build a boat to go with it. I had the audacious plan to power this lobster boat with electricity using a built-in battery bank.  I envisioned the batteries to be charged by solar energy, making it possibly the first zero-carbon lobstering craft in Maine (with the exception of rowed or sailed craft, which I have never seen used for hauling traps).  I am about 2/3 of the way to my goal. I have the license, the traps, the bait, the boat, but not the photovoltaic panels to complete the package. Last winter I built the canopy on which to mount the panels, but because I wanted to see how stable the boat was before adding more weight on the roof, I stopped for the year.

About mid June I relaunched Eleccentricity and she now floats at her mooring in front of SeaCat’s Rest. Around her float five brightly painted buoys marking the locations of my traps. The roof does change the handling characteristics of the boat, and not for the better, but with the advantage of a hauling boom, shade and shelter from rain the trade-off is acceptable. Now if only I could find really light weight panels…

I had imagined, based on the reports heard from other five-trap people, that I would be hauling in huge amounts of lobsters. I have not had that much success. Some claim an average of one lobster per trap. I have been seeing about 1-1/2 lobster per five traps, making the whole enterprise rather hard to justify. I spend an hour and a half putting bait into bags, rowing out to the boat, pulling traps and cleaning old bait bags for about ten dollars worth of lobsters. Obviously, I’m doing something wrong. I have gained a new respect for the hard work of commercial lobster fishers!

My friends remind me, “Hey, you’re catching lobsters. How cool is that?” They’re right of course. To pull tasty seafood from one’s front yard is rather cool. Let’s not forget the clams and mussels on the way to the lobsters. So all I need to do is to keep experimenting: try different bait, different trap locations, different hauling intervals. I will watch and learn from the pros. As for my limited haul, I am planning to build a partially submerged crate for storing live lobsters to allow the accumulation of enough to feed more than one or two people. I’m also planning on fishing for mackerel to see if it is a better bait.

The peak of the lobster season is still ahead. So far there has been a “glut” (not my word) of soft shell or shedder lobsters on the market. One newspaper article claimed the price is below that of bologna. Hmmm. Hopefully, more of them will find their way into my traps. Lobsters, not bologna.

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06/10/2012

Maine’s Time Problem

If I would change anything about Maine it would be the time. Not to make more of it, just to move the clocks forward an hour. We would then be on Atlantic time rather than Eastern time. I wake up when the sky gets light, and this time of year that seems to happen before 5:00 AM. Waaaay too early! At the other end it gets dark just after 9:00 PM. Good for fireworks, but still too early for midsummer. And those midwinter afternoons when the sun sets around 4 are not appreciated…

I can travel due west for 1200 miles (as the crow flies) before encountering a time change at the Illinois border. At a latitude of 45 degrees, which we are just under, the circumference of the earth is about 17,600 miles. Since there are 24 time zones that means at latitude 45 there should be one every 17,600/24 or 733.3 miles, not 1200!

Most people think Maine is a thumb of land which sticks up in the north. In reality it is more east than north; the perception is the result of viewing Maine as part of map of the US, where like any map projection the most distortions occur at the edges. Michigan goes further north than Maine, but you’d never know it to look at this map, where the northeast was cut out of a US map, to the right:

Look at this dedicated map of the northeast and you will see Maine start to stretch to the east. Notice on this map how the northern border of NY and VT have become level, but the eastern border of Maine with New Brunswick still tilts to the left as you go north. Now here’s the surprise, that eastern border runs due north and south! This shows that even on a map of New England, Maine is distorted northward.

The reason for this geography tangent is to show evidence for my previous claim that Maine is more eastern than northern, in fact the old ships which used to come from Boston used to be called Downeasters, since the captains knew they were sailing more east than north from Boston, and were sailing downwind.

Today (June 10) the sun rose at 4:41 AM in Eastport, Maine at the eastern end of our time zone. In Marinette, WI at about the same latitude and also at the eastern end of their time zone the sun rose at 5:03 AM. If Maine pushed the Eastern time zone to the NH border, then at the same latitude (Errol, NH) the sun would rise at 4:58 AM, much closer to Marinette’s time.  I don’t know if others have this desire to see Maine go on Atlantic time, my guess is that it would create all sorts of problems initially, but it sure would be nice to sleep in to 7 AM sometime before October. I wonder if I can declare SeaCat’s Rest to be officially on Atlantic time.

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05/28/2012

Eleccentricity Gets a Top

What I unabashedly call Lamoine, Maine’s first electric lobster boat, Eleccentricity, has just received a roof or “dodger” for the future installation of photovoltaic panels. The ultimate goal is to have a zero-emissions motor boat. A side benefit is shelter from the rain and sun, not to mention an elevated platform from which to spot pirate ships.

I put this robust structure together in my garage. Of course it would not fit through the door when assembled (I knew this, really), so after disassembling it and painting or varnishing all the parts I had to devise a way to lift the roof onto the supports.  I had integrated a lifting tab into the roof for this purpose. Two big trees in the driveway gave me the idea that I could run a line between them and hoist the roof high enough to bring the boat under.  The first attempt failed because I used nylon rope which stretched so much the roof only got about five feet off the ground. I quickly replaced the rope with cable and there was zero stretch as the roof climbed about 12 feet. Then I simply maneuvered Eleccentricity under, mindful of my sudden possible death from falling dodger. I forgot to mention my difficulty finding a thing to tie the block-and-tackle line to after hauling the top up. I settled on a hooky thing underneath the bumper of my Honda Fit. I had just used it to pull out a big ornamental plant root ball, but that’s another story.

Anyway, a little jockeying of the boat and backing up of the Fit and the top settled down nicely without me even having to climb into the boat. Since then, I reloaded the 7 batteries and the electric outboard and am nearing launch for the summer of 2012.

One of the pitfalls of designing and building one’s own boat is the knot in your stomach which reminds you of a possible huge mistake. What if the dodger makes the boat so top heavy it flops over in the first strong wind? It does look unstable on the trailer, but I wanted to achieve standing headroom, and I’m not THAT tall. The 400 lbs of batteries in the lowest part of the boat should help, and after all, sailboats are notoriously top heavy. That’s why they have lead keels, and I have a lead keel too. Another concern is the fore-to-aft balance. Last year, without a dodger I found Eleccentricity a little stern-heavy. This put the motor well too far into the water and created more drag than I had hoped for; I was trying for a transom above the waterline.  The extra weight of the dodger (probably about 150 lbs–I didn’t weigh it because I broke the bathroom scale weighing the boat last year) will shift the balance more toward the bow.

The trap hauler shown in inset

Last year when I first launched I wired up the motor in reverse and the steering too. I could only go backwards by steering the wrong way. I am not afraid to look like a fool. This year’s launch may be just as entertaining.

Trap hauling in my driveway

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03/16/2012

What’s New at SeaCat’s Rest?

We anticipate a busy summer of providing an affordable Maine seaside apartment to our guests. We have made a few improvements since last year, the most important of which is a second well. This was a tough decision since we had to weigh the very existence of the apartment against the substantial cost of the new well. Our own needs were met by the old well, but on a few aggravating and embarrassing occasions we ran out of water during the height of tourist season.  Now that has changed. We no longer need to wring our hands, forgo showers or flushing when we have guests.

We added a little button for guests to push when they are disturbed by activity above their heads. It is basically a doorbell which we hear in our kitchen and tells us to tone down our activity. We don’t get a lot of complaints (actually, only one so far) so it’s more for our peace of mind. Occasionally we have guests who need to catch an early morning flight, so with this little button we will know without the guest having to bother with a phone call or personal visit.

AT&T coverage here is excellent

Since we started the apartment rental, we have included a land line phone. This phone costs us around $20/month and we were under the suspicion that just about nobody used it. Recently, Lamoine got a new cell tower, and it seems every guest uses their cell phone. We can reconnect at any time, but for this year, we are going to wait until we get a request for reconnection from one of our guests. Even with a seasonal connection, we are ahead of the game compared to year-round, so we consider it an important cost savings. Cell coverage remains less than ideal (you may have to stand outside) but that varies by your cell company.  Our US Cellular phone gets only one bar inside and two outside, but our tracfone gets four bars in and out. A Verizon phone will do fine since it’s a Verizon tower. According to company reception maps, t-moble’s reception here is “moderate” (outdoor only), Sprint’s is “off network roaming”, Nextel’s is zero, AT&T’s is excellent. Since we have very good broadband, skype is another possibility.

Digging the soft shell clam

Much of the exciting changes have to do with the shore. First, with the new local law about licensing clamming, the clam population has rebounded. This is great for guests who wish to try their hand at digging clams for a $12 recreational license (from the town office).  Concurrently I have become a much better clam digger, so I am happy to offer free lessons and equipment (you may want to bring your own rubber gloves and boots, but we have some).

The other big news is, of course, my lobster license, boat and traps. I can’t claim to offer the full-blown Maine lobster fishing experience, since at this point I still don’t quite know what I’m doing, but by mid-summer of 2012 I should know more. I will have to check my 5 traps at least every other day, so guests could arrange to come along. Laws forbid any active participation; trap handling, baiting or boat steering, so guests can observe only.

Being involved in providing vacation accommodations is like skipping over all of the stress in most people’s lives. I get to be the one to bring you relaxation and fun and sometimes, show you how to have more. It’s what I want to be when I grow up!

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