Friday, September 4, 2009
Vacation Day #10:
What a spectacular day! Under a brilliant sky, I got to tour Cobscook Bay and watch seaweed harvesters work. These boats are loaded with rockweed, a seaweed (the one with the little pods that you can squish and make them squirt your friends) that is being harvested in Cobscook Bay and near Jonesport. The seaweed is used for livestock feed supplements and fertilizer. It is harvested by Maine people who work for Acadian Seaplants of New Brunswick. The seaweed is dried on runways at a NB airport that the company owns. In the photo, the harvesters are loading the seaweed into net bags on the platform that will then be closed tight and floated alongside the platform until the processing barge picks them up.
This is a very hunky 17-year-old (I feel like a cougar) harvesting the seaweed. The rake they use has tines on top and a VERY sharp blade on the bottom. Because he is experienced, he can harvest about 5 tons a day at $43 a ton - pretty good job for a high school kid! Can you even see the boat under all that weed? The harvesters usually start about 5 a.m. and they said they can often hear the whales blowing in the bay, even on a foggy morning.
The bales of seaweed are being loaded onto a barge that will take them to Canada for processing. Each bale has the tag of the harvester hooked to it so they will get paid. Each bale weighs about 1 ton. Below, Bonnie, one of the barge workers, walks on top of the floating bales and uses her body weight to push them closer to the crane. She then jumps up on the boat and climbs the bales to help guide the new bale in place. She is amazingly lithe and strong!