In May 2011, after four years of life on McNutt's Island, we moved to Montreal. This blog remains, though, as a (sort of) daily record of our time on the island, and a winding path for anyone who would like to meander about among its magical places. For additional perspectives and insights I recommend Greg's book, Island Year: Finding Nova Scotia (2010), and my Bowl of Light (2012). I'll continue to post once in a while. If you do want to read this blog, one option would be to begin at the beginning of it (which is, as we all know, in blog-world, at the end), and read forward, concluding with the most recent entry. It's a journal, really, so it does makes more sense if you read it that way. But, you know, read it any way you like.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

summer rockweed harvesting

This morning the rockweed harvesters are going along the cove shoreline to gather this valuable sea plant into their deep-bottomed boats.They fill their boats almost to the rim, then head back --slowly -- to the wharf on the mainland. They appreciate calm waters.
This is Kurtis Ross. He says his boat will take a bit more rockweed onboard before he heads in.
Later in the morning we were headed to the mainland when we met up with Kurtis and his friend, going into Gunning Cove Wharf.
We tried to stay out of their way.


Doug in Santa Rosa said...

Why is rockweek valuable?

Anne Yarbrough said...

Doug, One word: carageen! It goes into all sorts of products, from toothpaste to pharmaceutical gel caps to yogurt, and it comes from rockweed. Interesting, no? Check out the web page for Acadian Seaplants for more information. They are the Nova Scotia company that has the contract for these coasts.

Piecefulafternoon said...

Amazing how full they load those boats - I hope they always have calm waters.

Karen said...

WOW, this is very interesting, I didn't know! And.. you live in such a beautiful place. I'm imagining the fresh sea air on the coast, the smell of that rockweed and the mix of the salty water drying in the sun on the rocks.

Michael Faulkner said...

From one islander to another: This is fascinating, we have rockweeds on our island but hardly in harvestable quantities! I followed the links & see that carageen is the main use but also fertiliser (knotted wrack would certainly have been taken from our area - Strangford Lough - until the early 20th century, for fertiliser), and livestock feed; who would have thought? It looks as though there is a sound case for hand harvesting as opposed to vacuum harvesting? I hope so - long may this tradition continue. The boats they use are remarkable, I've never seen anything quite like them - that's what you call purpose-built.. M

Anne Yarbrough said...

There was an effort some years ago to harvest rockweed with a huge machine but that process was so disruptive that harvesting is once again only done by hand. In the photographs from last summer you can see the long-handled rake that the harvesters use. The boats are amazing, I agree. I was delighted to be able to photograph them going along in the harbour.