Lobstering in Maine
You don't know happiness until you've skimmed along the foggy gray waters of Maine in a wooden-hulled boat named "Centerfold" built by a man called Foy and his black lab, Penelope. Lobsters may have been the goal, but lobstering was the joy.
My slightly high-pitched I've-never-spoken-to-you-and-would-like-something voice: "Yes, hi! Is this Foy? I am interested in a lobstering trip this July? It's actually my husband's Christmas gift, so I thought I'd go ahead and book a few months early. Our hotel recommended you...?"
Gruff, old, VERY northern accent: "Uh, yeah. Just come find me when you get here, eh? Where?! At the dock!" Obviously.
"Right. Sure, of course. Thanks, Foy!" Click. What, if anything at all, did I just sign up for? Just come find him? Find him where exactly?
Here. With the Wee Beastie out front.
We met Foy standing among woodworking tools and piles of sawdust with Penelope, his eleven-year-old black lab.
As we climbed aboard the ferry to North Haven Island, I had apologized to Rob in advance in case his genius Christmas present "lobstering in Maine" turned out to be nothing. I had no idea where to look for Foy Brown (old Foy, not young Foy, who is evidently less reliable) besides a dock. No visual cues, nothing. At least we could order lobster for dinner at the inn, I thought.
Upon arriving in North Haven, we realized that there is only the one dock, and with Foy's boat building and marine service company in prominent view in entrance to the town. Excellent. We were on the right track.
He's a native of North Haven Island and one of the last remaining craftsman of wooden-hulled boats in the world. In the summer months, he and his wife live in this charming tiny house afloat on the bay:
"A show called Tiny House Nation has been approaching me, asking me to be on TV. Have you heard of it?" He asks to our nodding heads.
All afternoon we rode along in Foy's boat, accompanying him to his lobster traps laid throughout the waters. The day could have been construed as dreary, however, that afternoon was mystical, as though the hand-hewn boat carved through two planes of gray that bent to touch each other. Once our eyes adjusted to the fog, the neon lobster trap buoys peppering monotone landscape were a scene unto themselves.
We talked. We learned that Foy named his boat "Centerfold" after his daughter who is his angel and the word angel reminds him of that song "Angel In The Centerfold." We didn't have the heart to tell him that song is about seeing an old flame in a porn magazine.
We caught lobsters and Foy taught us how to hold them and band them without getting pinched.
The next evening as we stood on the ferry returning to the mainland, we saw Foy and crew coming into the dock from a visit to the traps in a small skiff with Penelope perched at the bow. Watching them through the light fog, silhouetted against the bright water, I wished nothing more than to be in that boat with them.
The confusion with booking aside, the lobstering was nothing short of wonderful, and a trip I will always remember with genuine fondness. My only regret is that we did not get to keep any of the lobster for dinner, only because we were staying in an Inn with no kitchen in our room. Next time, those lobsters will be taking a hot bath and joining us for dinner!