Friday was my last day at Camp Harbor View (at least for the next few weeks). I was sad to say goodbye to the place, especially the campers. The loyal members of the fishing club were good sports in the heat, but when invited to tromp down to the floating dock to help me haul a lobster trap (which had so far attracted nothing more exciting than a few small Asian Shore Crabs), only two die-hards volunteered. We bundled life-vests on-top of already-sweaty T-shirts, and tromped down the long ramp, while the remaining campers lingered on the dock, teasing us: “give it up, man—we’re never gonna get a real lobster in there”. The three of us pulled the line up, up, up—and then we saw it! As soon as we got the trap out of the water there was a bit of redish brown, not quite the right shape for a crab. Then we started shouting: "we got one!! We got one!! You’ll never believe it WE GOT ONE!!" When we opened the trap, we discovered that we had caught not just one, but TWO American Lobsters (aka “Maine Lobster”)—a medium-sized adult, and a six-inch baby! We brought the whole trap up to the pier to show off our catch, and immediately the kids were propelled out of the heat haze, running towards the trap, learning how to hold them and then transferring them to the big tubberware we use as a touch tank.
"WHAT ARE WE GONNA DO WITH THEM NOW?" The kids wanted to know. “What do you think we should do with them?” I have to admit I already had a plan in mind: juveniles are required by law to be released, but I wanted to keep both long enough to show the other groups for the rest of the afternoon. The kids were right on the same track—we should throw the baby back, they said thoughtfully. How come? After a few minutes they arrived at the same conclusion it took regulators decades to decide on: "because he needs to grow up!" Because they need to have babies, so there will be more lobsters to catch next year. And also: because everybody should get a chance to grow up and spend some time in the seaJ