Yesterday morning the net held five fish of some variety we couldn't identify. We had two for supper last night. They were bony but delicious. But maybe that was beginner's luck, because when I went back out in the afternoon there were none.
Today was a quite different story. The remains of several fish lay caught in the net. The seal had had his breakfast. He is a sloppy eater, biting off whatever is nearest him and leaving the rest. I worked my way down the net, releasing half-eaten leftovers. One little fish was quite alive and slipped away happily. As I went along I cleaned out rockweed and kelp that had drifted into the net.
I came upon three small lobsters. The first two were small enough that they were easy to hold in one hand while with the other I slowly disentangled the net from their claws and carapace, admiring them the whole time, and also staying clear of their furiously waving pincers. I told them not to swim into the net again, and slipped them back into the water.
The third lobster was a bit larger. It was easy enough to ease the net around and off his legs and tail and body. But his pincer claw grasped several strands of net like there was no tomorrow. I explained to him that I couldn't release him until he had let go of the net. But he was not listening. Maybe he was too anxious. Maybe holding onto the net was giving him some sense of security. And here I was, someone he didn't even know all that well, trying to convince him to let go. It seemed obvious to me that he was creating his own problem here. But then I suspect I do the same thing myself once in a while.
Finally I remembered that if you tapped his upper claw a bit he would open the pincers. And that's what he did. At which point he briefly experienced the amazement of flight before returning rather abruptly to his safe haven beneath the water. All in all, it was a memorable day for three little lobsters.
After that, fishless, I rowed all the way to the Horseshoe and back, on smooth water sometimes crosshatched and stippled, sometimes swelling softly beneath the boat. The island's stillness was broken only by the songs of white throated sparrows in the forest and terns fluttering over the water. In the distance I could hear the muffled, hollow metallic sounds of work being done on the shipyard in Shelburne. Occasionally a lobster boat steamed homeward. Fog hugged both the northern and southern ends of the island. The cove waters were pearl and silver, beneath a drifting sky of changeable grey and a hint of sunlight.