The following article originally appeared as part of a series titled "Down Home" in the Newfoundland Signal (published in Toronto) on August 16, 1976. In those days the author spent her summers on Red Island with her husband Denis and their daughter Krista. Reprinted by permission.

Haul Your Pots in Three Minutes

by Lorna M. Ryan

RED ISLAND, Placentia Bay -- It was almost the last day of the lobster season, and Krista and I went out with Din to take in some of the pots.

Krista loves to go anywhere in the boat. You only have to say, "I'm going ..... " and she immediately shouts, "CAN I COME?" If the answer is yes, she tears up the stairs and pulls on an extra pair of slacks and a sweater, and then thump-thump-thumps down again before you can change your mind. Her socks are twisted and her hair is every-which-way, but she's ready to go.

From the kitchen window we watched the early-morning light change from grey to yellow to white, and the sky from pink to pale blue, before we downed the last drop of tea, and walked down to the wharf. The punt was wet with dew and we had to watch our step on the tauts, but the water was dead calm and it would be a good day for hauling.

I took the tiller on the way out of the harbour, and Din bailed out the dell. Krista and the dog hung over the bow, watching the bottom. We skirted the lighthouse, passed Marguery's Cove, and rounded the neck, between the big sunkers. Din pointed out the first buoy and I swung the boat in.

There's a nice routine to hauling pots. You nose the boat up to the buoy, hook the rope with your gaff, and then it's a quick hand-over-hand haul, with one last HEAVE to get the pot onto the gunwale. The lobster (two if you're lucky), being rudely disturbed at his meal of rotten mackerel, snaps his tail furiously back and forth and stretches both claws toward you - opened wide. Snap open the gate, grab him (carefully) by the back, and drop him into the box. Jam another bit of mackerel or herring onto the skivver, close the gate, and push the pot over the side again. The whole thing takes less than three minutes, and you're off to the next buoy. If your back would hold up, you could haul a couple of hundred pots a day, easily.

We finished up in Wild Cove and headed for Goat Island beach. In the distance we could see Sam hauling his herring net for tomorrow's bait. Most of the pots around Goat Island came up empty, so we hailed them aboard and stacked them in the for'ard pound with their ropes coiled neatly inside. Krista collected two starfish and a "baby" whore's-egg for pets and showed them to Kippy, who sniffed them cautiously but kept her distance.

A sudden "FOOSH!" off to our left signalled a whale, blowing, and as we watched, his huge back surfaced briefly and then sank again. A second "FOOSH!" a moment later showed us his companion, and the two hung around for several minutes, feeding on capelin, and then gradually moved away around the island.

We finished up for the day just as the fog turned into a light rain, and headed home for a good feed of boiled lobster.