Dear patient readers,
I am currently in Maine. This would normally be a good thing (the house here on the island has great water views, for instance), except I am having to work full time while supposedly on a holiday with some family members. Thus all that has happened is that I have lost productivity (packing/travel time here, unavoidable dealing with family and having occasionally to drive my mother on errands. Since the nearest grocery store is 20 minutes away, any trip winds up chewing up at least to 2 hours).
I still have book deadlines (boy, did I not understand the process) and an additional frustration is that the copy edit, which I had thought would be useful (I have had good copy editors in the past) is proving to be a time sink and is not helping the book. There is a lot I could do on my own to improve the draft, but the drill is I have to respond to copy edits (once you officially submit the manuscript, you have to work off that draft, as revised). In this case, the copy editor has chosen to implement stylistic changes which third parties find in the vast majority of cases to make the text worse. So I am mainly undoing 80%-90% of the copy edits. You can imagine what this is doing to my frame of mind. And on top of that I have the high class problem of a client project.
This means I am still not doing as much on the blog as I would like to, which also has me cranky. There has been some good material lately, and I just do not have the bandwidth for a meaty post.
So this story about Maine sea rage (hat tip reader Jim K) seemed fitting. On my father’s side of the family, I come from old Yankee stock (no one important, but over here early, a lot of sea captains and cooks, and more recently lobstermen) so I understand how difficult sea men can be. Commercial fishing has the highest mortality rate of any profession (although lobstering is comparatively low risk) and is physically demanding with erratic payoff (even with a winch, there is a lot of lifting and hauling).
This year, the lobstermen are having a very bad year (I can’t recall prices being this low, inflation adjusted, ever) which will make any bad situation worse.
Lobster fishermen have feuded for generations over who can set traps, and where. To protect their fishing grounds, the lobstermen here [Matinicus Island] have been known to cut trap lines, circle their boats menacingly around unwelcome vessels and fire warning blasts from shotguns.
With lobster prices down, the animosity has been particularly shrill this summer.
On a July morning, it reached the boiling point when a longtime lobsterman and his daughter drew guns on two fellow islanders. The lobsterman fired, shooting a man he had known for decades in the neck, police reported.
The shooting has shone a spotlight on a long-standing territorial system all along the ragged Maine coast that gives fishermen unofficial rights to specified waters. The rights are legally unenforceable but important and usually accepted.
Nowhere are they more strictly enforced than around Matinicus Island, home to a fleet of three dozen lobster boats whose crews have a reputation for outlaw behavior….
Matinicus has a reason for feeling that it’s on its own. Slightly smaller than New York’s Central Park, the island is the farthest offshore of Maine’s 15 year-round island communities. It’s so isolated that the ferry only comes once a month in wintertime, when barely two dozen people live there. There are no restaurants or gas stations, and islanders fax their orders to a mainland grocery store…
But this summer saw a more serious incident….,
The story continues here.