I sent this week's adventure photo to a friend in Germany. We met on a flight from Paris to Cameroon. Anette was hoping to adopt a child from an orphanage near Douala. I was doing some photography with Dr. Patricia Toro and the Mailman School at Columbia University reestablished medical clinics in sub Saharan Africa. Anette and I had a lot of time to talk on the flight.
We've kept in touch over the years. I send her one of our calendars every year and she sends us cool things she has made. During the virus Anette has fallen on hard times in her hometown and with her work as voice and music instructor. She is quite an accomplished musician. Unfortunately her hopes for adoption didn't work out, despite several trips to Cameroon, much communication with officials, and significant expense.
So, when I sent Anette this photo, with hopes of minor cheer-up, I tried to tell her more about our Maine home. An excerpt from my letter follows. I never figured it would be so difficult to explain something we see everyday, especially to somone who is really “From Way Away.” Here goes:
“The obvious, off-center-of-attention item, is the red lobster boat named “RED OCTOBER.” This type of boat is used to carry fishing folk and their gear out to catch the elusive Maine lobster. Boats work in specific areas which are identified by little floating colorful markers called buoys. Every boat has a unique registration number and interesting name. The owner can only haul their own traps which are tied to their buoys. Hauling traps owned by others is not advised. Sometimes seagulls, the bird sitting on the boat, tag along, hoping nab some food. They can be a bit messy, if you know what I mean. We have lots of these boats (and seagulls) in Boothbay Harbor.
“Many families have fished here for generations. They know the waters of our harbor and ocean very well and can do their work safely almost any time of day or night. By the way, many of the boats and their workers start their day at 3 a.m. They try to catch the lobsters when they are sleeping.
The “NICK AND ANDY' boat is also a boat used for lobstering. The view from the back helps you see into the boat's working space. You can see the steering wheel which guides the boat through the water. The smaller boats parked in the foreground are used to get to and from the larger boats. They are more like the Volkswagon beetle going to the big Mercedes dance. Very handy and maneuverable.
“There are some other boats in the photo too. One of the big boats farther out, has another boat attached to its back end. These bigger boats are used to catch bait fish for the lobstering folk. I don't know how they get that smaller boat up onto the bigger boat. I guess I should ask. All the boats are tied to moorings so they stay in place when parked. They are connected to a heavy piece of rock (or a discarded auto engine) on the harbor bottom to keep them from moving. It’s always nice to find your boat where you left it.”
I have not heard back from Annete since sending this photo with my commentary. I had similar explanation challenges when trying to describe Maine to folks in Africa.