’Round Town


Wed, 07/10/2024 - 7:15am

During our luxury cruise with Captain Mark Stover as we watched boats arriving in the harbor for the Windjammer Days Festival, I noticed a lot of barrels. There were barrels stacked in dories, barrels on lobster boats and barrels being unloaded at Harbor Bait. We went out around the giant yacht called Dreamboat but didn’t see many barrels there! Except maybe I imagined how many barrels of fuel it might carry in case I needed a little extra home heating oil! Brief internet sleuthing found that the ship has a fuel capacity of 256,000 liters, or about 67,628 gallons, enough to travel over 5,000 miles. I suppose the crew could look for barrels from the handy helicopter which is kept at the ready.

At almost the same time I was noticing barrels around the harbor, I was sorting through some files at home, searching, as I endlessly do, for a print image requested by a visiting friend.  I didn’t find the photograph that had been requested but did come across the photograph shared today. Isn’t it odd, to find something not being looked for? I believe this is my karma. Seek, and yea shall not find.

So, how does this adventure tie together, you might ask? Well, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, it’s pogies. That is what all those barrels seem to be about – collecting pogies, the bait of choice now for lobstering. Well, maybe not the bait of choice. Perhaps more like the bait of most availability. Herring, I suspect, may have been preferred at one time, but I don’t think they are very available now and, if they are, my guess is they’d be pretty pricey. So pogies are us. Hot dogs don’t have the same appeal. There seems to be a pretty good supply swimming around these days – pogies, not hot dogs! 

I’d prefer not to speculate about why the little buggers are roaming our waters, but it does seem a bit early to me. Our flowers bloomed early. The ducks came back to the pond early. The hummingbirds were ahead of schedule, but, I’m sorry to say, the monarchs seem to be missing at this time here on the ranch. And the milkweed is in full bloom. What a fragrance, by the way. Monarchs should at least be able to smell the flower, but they gotta be here first!  

The photograph shared with today’s adventure was made quite some time ago. Since, in my brilliance, I rarely sign and date a photo, my best guess would be around 1989. It was the year, in late August, when pogies were everywhere, and they weren’t in barrels. They were on the shores, in the coves, and boy didn’t they stank! as a dear old friend used to say. From what I recall (air quotes) great masses of pogies (aka menhaden) were being preyed upon by bluefish and the pogies were freaking out trying to get away. They leapt out of the water on to the shores at high tide and did not get rinsed away subsequently. Volunteer fire companies tried to hose them off the rocks, boats in coves tried to push them out with their propellers, and seagulls just got sick of the smell and had no appetite. The coves became a fishy stew that cooked in the late August heat. On rides around the region, our then first born used to cry out “Yuck, pogie juice!” 

I’m not suggesting impending disaster, only that my Mill Cove photo find was an interesting coincidence, given the number of barrels I noticed.