Book a Trip on Line
This was a day off for me. And, yes, I rode my normal Sunday morning Maine Coast Cycling Club ride.
Although I haven't put up the new website for the Pan-Mass Challenge site yet, I received two donations sponsoring me in the 2023 season ride starting on Saturday, August 5, 2023. The first of the year was from my sister, Meg Tower, who is always the first to donate. And many years she donates the most. For this season she donated a very generous $2,000.00! I tell her that this is too much but she always waves me aside, telling me to go sit down! She donated "In Loving Memory of our beautiful Mom, Bunny Clark Tower." The other was a generous $250.00 from Joe & Paula Amato (NH). Paula is fighting stage 4 colon cancer but, I'm told, that she is doing well. They wanted me to know that they appreciate the work I do in fighting cancer. Thank you three so very much for starting the giving season off with a bang. I also want to thank you for your thoughtfulness and kind words. I don't need to be thanked but I do appreciate that you appreciate!
Today was a massive day of catching up and getting organized to move forward with the Bunny Clark Deep Sea Fishing season (and repairs) and Barnacle Billy's, Inc. (the restaurants). Much of the day was spent arranging meetings, catching up with a new year on Pan-Mass Challenge donations, setting up dates to work on the "Billy's" website, getting some personal things in order and arranging meetings all this week.
The first thing I did was drive to Sanford to work with our graphic designer on a new PMC t-shirt. The theme this season will center around fifteen year old Teagan Carver who represents the volunteers who, behind the scenes, make the PMC what it is. She, with her older sister, Katie, head the water stop near their home in Massachusetts. I am a very good friend of her father and have stopped during the cycling event many times to visit with the family on the way through to the Mass Maritime Academy, where we stay overnight on the way to our destination, Provincetown, Massachusetts. Teagan has always liked the shirts I produce. And I always bring her one every season. This one is going to be centered around her with her favorite colors and a new design. Hopefully it will come out well. I also went over our regular t-shirts that we offer for sale and went over the design of the new Tackle Breakers (hard luck award) t-shirts.
From there, I went directly to a town north of Portland to pick up my mother's ashes to bring back home. It wasn't until I got back in the truck to drive home with "Mom" that it hit me. But that was okay because I was alone. I met with my brother and two sisters when I did get home and came up with a game plan for advancing and settling.
I met with Dana & Laurie Decormier (NH) at lunch. They had driven up from New Hampshire to give me a card of condolence and a gift for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute's key research programs that I am involved with, in Memory of Bunny Clark Tower. It was nice to see them.
The rest of the day was spent working at the desk in the capacity mentioned in the first paragraph. I was done with work for the day at 5:00 PM.
Tomorrow Deb & I will be meeting with Captain Ian Keniston and Danny DellaMonica to go over the strategy for the upcoming fishing season including the schedule and rates. I should be able to get the schedule and rates up on this website sometime on Wednesday.
I received the third donation of the 2023 Pan-Mass Challenge season from the Decormier family today, as alluded to above. The donation was for $50.00 in Memory of Bunny Clark Tower. Thank you so much for thinking of us, Dana, Laurie & family. Always so very much appreciated, what you do for the Bunny Clark DSF and the PMC!
My day was spent inside working on the upcoming Bunny Clark fishing schedule, the rates and the rules. At 8:00 AM, Captain Ian Keniston showed up. Deb, Ian and I went over last year's schedule and made up the schedule for this coming season, along with the rates. We were finished by 9:30 AM. For the rest of the day I worked on typing in the new dates and posting the rules, rates and fishing schedule on this site. I finished with everything at 6:15 PM.
I received two more donations sponsoring me in this coming season's Pan-Mass Challenge, a cycling event to fund cancer research in genetic profiling. The first was a check in the mail from Dave & Joanne Miller (MA) for a generous $150.00 donation in "Memory of Bunny & Billy Tower and Christine Keniston". The other donation was a very generous hand delivered $500.00 gift from Jason & Teaghan O'Connor (ME) in "Honor of Bunny Clark Tower". This was an astounding day of donations so early in the new season. Thank you all so very much for being such thoughtful people and for the kind words of support. I really appreciate this!
I worked on just about everything today, it seemed. But the two things I spent the most time on were getting my 2023 PMC website up and running with all the new donation figures and organizing a Harbor Committee meeting with the town of Ogunquit.
By the middle of the afternoon, I had my PMC page up and running. By the end of the afternoon, I had the revised Harbor Committee agenda to the Town Clerk and all Committee members buying into the date and time of the meeting.
It's amazing how much time I spend on cancer fund raising stuff. I like it so it doesn't bother me. But I do spend an awful lot on posting thank yous, making deposits, writing to individuals and emails. It's certainly a labor of love. And I love all the strides forward that research as made. For instance, one of my best friends who has had prostate cancer for a few years now, was treated again at Dana-Farber just a few days ago. The cancer seems to be in remission for a few years and then comes back. It's come back twice in a few years. He hasn't changed his eating and exercising habits much which may be one of the reasons that it keeps coming back. But the difference between his treatments when he was first diagnosed to his treatments just lately are miles apart for the better. It just makes it that much easier to sell the cancer fund raising for me. It makes it easier to write the letters, the emails and write about it on this site. And it does seem like I write about it all the time. People who are comfortable in life seem to care more about life and giving.
I'm hearing rumblings about a deficit in what fish we will be able to keep from an angling perspective this season. The regulations will remain the same until the fiscal fishing season starts on May 1st. In other words, we will be able to keep up to twenty haddock per person (that's too many in my mind) and we will be able to keep a cod a person until April 15th. We have a Recreational Advisory Panel meeting on January 18th which I am dreading. I'll keep you posted.
Again, another day in the office.
Part of my day was spent trying to get a feel for the upcoming groundfish regulations. I was most interested in haddock. It seemed like most of my sources didn't think we were going to have much of a cut. To me, twenty haddock per person is too many. You might as well have no limit at all if you are going to allow the take be twenty haddock. I can see that from the view of a charter boat that only takes six passengers that it would be nice to have more fish. But I still don't see it. The cod regulations are something that I have no idea about. The stats on cod landings tell me that the stocks are still in poor shape and dropping. So writing all this, the Recreational Advisory Panel, of which I hold a seat, is meeting on January 18th. At that time, all the models used to determine what we choose for regulations will be available. I will try to do as much behind the scenes research I can do before the meeting. Hopefully, the conclusion of the meeting will put a positive spin on a 2023 season that we can look forward to.
There was much phone work today. Many emails as well. This took time.
I signed up for the Pan-Mass Challenge again, committing to raise $6,000 or having the money taken out of my credit card. So that is behind me. I've already raised half that amount of money.
I also filled half of the January calendar with meeting dates and appointments.
I received another generous $100.00 donation sponsoring me in this season's Pan-Mass Challenge. The gift was from Karola, David, Sandy, Mel, Jaclyn & Joey Mait (ME), a local family of whom I love to see. Usually I see them at the restaurants. The donation was made "In Memory of your mom, Bunny." Thank you all so very much for your thoughtfulness, the kind words in the email and for your generosity. I appreciate this very much!
I spent another morning starting to figure out my parent's estate and what to do about it. This is going to take some time.
Most of my work today centered around Barnacle Billy's restaurants. At 10:00 AM, we had a manager's meeting at Barnacle Billy's, Etc. that lasted about two hours. After lunch, I worked exclusively on restaurant stuff until about 6:00 PM. It was a boring day to write about but we did get a lot done during the meeting. I got a lot done after lunch.
Also, I delved into the recreational haddock situation today. I got more information. Our haddock sub-ACL (or our quota, for all intents and purposes) for 2022 was 3,634 metric tons. We voted in December to take the recommendation of the Council's PDT which would decrease our allowable catch (sub-ACL) by 83%. That would drop our sub-ACL to 610 metric tons. We landed more than that in 2022. Although the figures are not in yet, I figure that the recreational fishing fleet (for hire vessels and recreational private boats) caught 859 metric tons. I'm not sure how accurate my figures are because all the data was not available at the time of our last meeting. But if we are allowed less and we caught more, obviously our haddock limits per person are going to drop. And remember our haddock catch was based on a 15 fish limit as the 20 fish limit didn't go into effect until September 1, 2022. This is what I have right now. And, as I said, I'm not sure how accurate these numbers are. I'll try to find out more.
We woke up to a winter wonderland this morning. I knew it wasn't going to last because the snow was light and fluffy and the air temperature was supposed to be well over the freezing mark. It lasted longer on the trees than expected as there wasn't much wind anywhere this morning. I took a picture with my iPhone when we had sufficient light to do so this morning. The digital image appears on the left. It was taken towards a red ceder tree at the end of our driveway. I love the snow this time of year. And I keep myself in shape enough so that the shoveling doesn't bother. To be frank, we have not had much snow so far.
I spent another day inside today. This mainly to work on the new Pan-Mass Challenge t-shirt design, the seventeenth t-shirt since I started "riding for cancer" in 2007. My graphics designer and I finished with the design in the late afternoon. In the meantime, I was at Barnacle Billy's, Etc. working on building the reservation book. Now that we have the dates and rates, I could start working on the book in a page by page process. This reservation book is unique to the business and mirrors our online booking system. But it's also a great real time backup and helps us with bookings at a glance.
While I was working in the office, I had the laptop tuned to the various FA Cup games going on in England today. Some of the results (lower league teams beating upper league teams) were stunning. I love the idea of a relegation system, as they have it in English football.
I received a very generous donation of $300.00 from sister, Cathy Koppstein, and her son, Justin Koppstein, sponsoring me in this year's Pan-Mass Challenge today. Cathy made the check "In Honor of Bunny Clark Tower from CJTK & JCK." Thank you so much, Cath & Justin. This is very much appreciated but not as much as I appreciate you as part of our family. All the best!
After posting this update, I drove down to the Cove and locked myself in the office for the day. Except for an hour off for lunch, I stayed there from 7:00 AM until 5:00 PM. I did have my laptop down there with the English FA Cup games going on in the background. But I spent the whole time building and finishing up the reservation book, page by page. It usually takes about twelve hours to complete. It took me a bit longer (between Saturday & Sunday) as I did spend a few minutes here and there watching the streaming service with the games. Now that that is done, I can move on to other things - like the Guestletter.
For the last week, our dog, Gill, a border collie, has been getting us up at night to let him out. We can't figure out if he's just wanting attention or that he really needs to go out. A couple of times I did see him walk around to the front of the house, where he spent ten to fifteen minutes sniffing around as I was trying to keep as low a light factor in the room in order to get right back into sleep mode when I got back to bed. Once I had to actually go outside to get him back in. But usually, he just goes out and does his business and comes right back in. If I'm sleeping well, I don't hear him and Deb gets up. So it's another tag team effort that I would just as soon avoid. Just another phase in our life with dog.
Bob Mayer (ME), the halibut prince on the Bunny Clark [Tim Rozan is the halibut king, having caught six with me over the years.], donated $30.00 to sponsor me in this year's Pan-Mass Challenge and contribute to the fund helping specific researchers develop a system of cancer detection and elimination through genetic profiling. He sent the donation in the form of an "eGift" to the PMC site. Bob said in his follow-up email: "I am investing in myself." And, indeed, he sent me a previous email asking questions about the researchers who I support and if they could help him? I told him that the best thing to do was to get his GP to send him to Dana-Farber and ask that same question to an oncologist there. At any rate, I don't know exactly why Bob is asking the questions but I think I can suspect. Thank you, Bob, again for so many donations over the years. I really appreciate the support in this project. And I wish you the best of luck with whatever is going on!
Today was filled with meetings. Dave Pease, Ian Keniston, Danny DellaMonica and I met at the Bunny Clark to go over the work order. This is something I draw up every early January written from a template with all the work items we address annually. From notes taken from the previous season, I add the new projects where items have worn out or broken. A small number of items are improvements. We went over seventy-three items and ended up adding another to the list near the end. This was exactly normal. The meeting lasted an hour and a half. I brought the sheet home with all the corrections. I will make up the final sheet and bring it back to the boat as a checklist of items to work on until the time runs out and the Bunny Clark has to be launched. It's a rare thing to complete every item on the list. Some of these items may remain and be tackled next winter.
From there I drove back to my house, picked up Deb and drove to our lawyers office where I went through the motions of getting officially named the executor of my mother and father's estate. We were done by 2:30 PM.
The rest of the day was spent on the phone and email with potential customers, vendors, employees and pulling items together for this coming season with Barnacle Billy's restaurants. By 5:00 PM, I was done. so I quit for the day.
I received yet another donation sponsoring me in the Pan-Mass Challenge ride for cancer research. This time it was a $50.00 contribution in the form of an "egift" through the PMC site, like yesterday's donation. It was from Donna & Rusty Pedersen (NH) with the comment; "...Thinking of your wonderful Mom." Thank you both so very much for your thoughtfulness and kind words. The words and the donation are very much appreciated!
My day was made up with a bunch of meetings with Barnacle Billy's employees, my newest web designer and Ian Keniston at the barn.
The newly reconditioned propeller for the Bunny Clark was dropped off by H & H Propeller today. I was there to receive it. In turn I gave them the stuffing box casting to have the cutlass bearing popped out and a new one put back in. It was worn enough by the Spectra line getting into over two seasons to wear it out.
I was the go-between with Ian getting the working furnace at the barn tuned up so it could be relied on more. I also had a new one specked out for the other side of the barn.
The Barnacle Billy's new website is coming along. I spent almost two hours with the web designer going over all kinds of things. Later in the day I was working on getting the new website hosted by another company. I was done by 5:00 PM.
Tomorrow I have to go for oral surgery. I don't know what this entails, really, or how long I will be out or the capacity/state I will be in afterward. I do know that I can drive myself home. We shall see.
After posting this entry, I spent an hour writing about the history of Barnacle Billy's for the new Barnacle Billy's site. This I emailed to my web designer.
The rest of the morning I was getting prepared for an oral surgery on the bottom front teeth of my mouth. Getting old has it's complications. I headed over for pre-op in Dover, NH at 10:00 AM. The procedure was not going to take place until before noon. But I needed to drop the reconditioned propeller off at the Bunny Clark and have a quick meeting with Ian Keniston and Dave Pease.
After the surgery, I was supposed to lay low for the rest of the day. This I did. In fact, I took a nap, something I haven't done since vacation in December. I slept like a baby for two hours.
For the next three weeks I have to eat soft foods and stay away from anything that will physically bother the bottom teeth that were worked on. No spicy foods, no nuts or seeds and nothing that I have to chew. The teeth were very painful when I got home but Advil helped.
Of most concern to most of you, probably was my discussion concerning the models that will be brought forward at the Recreational Advisory Panel (RAP) meeting on the 18th. As I thought, the twenty fish haddock bag limit will not be sustained. I didn't think it was a good idea anyway. Looking over what the recreational angler caught last year, and the fact that the twenty fish bag limit was implemented late on September 1, I can't see us getting even a fifteen fish bag limit. Last season's haddock catch will be based on having a fifteen fish limit. If we went over the tonnage we were allowed this season (in fiscal 2022), I can't see us getting more than twelve fish, as a bag limit, probably less. Thankfully, we were not allowed the twenty haddock when there were haddock around last season. In short, I believe that we will have a viable season for haddock as far as regulations go. It is a process, though. The RAP will make a regulatory decision based on the best possible science available. This motion will have to be accepted by the Groundfish Committee who will pass it on the full New England Fishery Management Council. Hopefully, the full Council will rubber stamp it and then drop it in the lap of the regional office of the National Marine Fisheries Service. NMFS will look at the new groundfish specifications and either go with it or change it. Last season, the new regs were exactly what the RAP pushed forward but were not implemented until three months later. I hope that doesn't happen this season. It's in everyone's best interest to have the new regs in place on May 1, the first day of fiscal 2023.
Oddly, the cod situation looks better. I do believe from what I understand that we will be able to run with the same regulations on cod that we had last season. We certainly did see more cod at the end of the season than we have seen in the last few seasons. Granted they were in one area. But that area was fairly large and always productive last fall. My feeling on cod regulations is that I fear that we will try to be able to keep as many cod as we can according to the models (the desire of most at the RAP meeting). I would like to see the same regulations in place as they were last year. For some reason we saw more cod last fall. I'm worried that this is artificial. If we go for more cod and find there is less of a stock structure, we will be dinged for the 2024 fishing season and won't be allowed to keep what we did last season. It's such a toss up as to what to do. And the hardest thing about this regulatory process for us as charter/party vessels who rely on reservations to run our businesses, is the inability to tell our customers what they new regs will be in a timely manner. The anglers making reservations early have no clue whether they will be able to keep twenty haddock or two haddock until the season is upon us.
To be clear, fiscal fishing year 2022 ends late on April 30, 2023. Until May 1, 2023, we will have a haddock bag limit of twenty fish and a one cod bag limit during the first two weeks of April.
Other than looking at the new regulations for this coming season, my day was spent working on my family's estate and working on Barnacle Billy's stuff and Bunny Clark stuff.
Our family gathered at my mother's house with lawyers, brokers and accountants for an estate planning meeting at 4:00 PM. We had a good handle on things by 5:30 PM, when the meeting was over.
Today, I started the day off with a meeting at the house with Danny DellaMonica, the Bunny Clark's first mate. We talked for an hour starting a 6:00 AM. I was finishing up with this entry at 6:00 AM, so I ended up moving on to the day ahead instead of posting.
The rest of the morning was spent on my parents estate, Bunny Clark stuff and some restaurant stuff. By 11:00 AM, I was rolling into Coast GMC in Portsmouth so I could get the silver truck serviced. Unfortunately, I had planned to grab a car there to do some stuff around Portsmouth. However, there were no cars available and the shuttle never got back until the truck was finished. So I ended up sitting around looking at my phone for an hour until the truck was ready. I had other things I wanted done to the truck but I couldn't wait two more hours. The rest of the afternoon was spent doing what I could have been doing instead of waiting around.
I got home in time to see some of the Leeds/Aston Villa game while on the fluid trainer.
I spent the whole day inside. Most of my time was spent working on the Guestletter, seven hours of it. Some of it was spent editing this page. And some was spent watching the English Premier League games on TV. If you like English football, today was an exciting game. Not so much if you are a sorry Leicester fan.
I remained holed up in the house all day. The only time I went out was to print some documents at the restaurant. I was there twice in the afternoon. I worked on the Guestletter all day and completed a few paragraphs and added four digital images. It's a long process for me. Plus, I take it personally.
Deb and I left the house at 7:15 AM to drive down to Massachusetts to meet with our accountants to figure out my parents estate, look at tax ramifications of different moves and to make sure our kids were covered appropriately when we leave this earth. It was a terrible drive down in the snow and accumulating slush in the road. Snow plows also added to the driving difficulties. Also, I had never seen so many tractor trailers. The meeting turned out to be a whole morning affair. After the meeting we stopped on the drive back to have lunch, making it 2:30 PM before we got home. The drive back wasn't quite so bad because all the slush had melted away. It was still snowing quite hard but the roads were much better.
I was supposed to be involved in a topside inspection on the Petrel, our lobster boat, for our insurance agency. This was canceled mid-morning due to weather. The inspection was supposed to be at 1:00 PM. The driving was so poor from Portland that the inspector didn't want to make the trip. Indeed, we couldn't have brought the Petrel to a float because there was too much surge and too many storm lines to get around to do so.
For the rest of the day I worked on the Guestletter. This always takes a lot of time.
After dinner (7:30 PM), I took Gill for a walk around the block. It was easy enough walking (and sniffing). We took our time and covered every aspect, shape of small banks, scent on trees and the nice lack of snow falling. It was also fairly mild at 31°F. Gill was a happy dog.
After posting this entry and working on the Guestletter for two more paragraphs, I got in the truck and drove to the Cove. There I jumped in the skiff and sculled to the Petrel, our lobster boat, to get the fire extinguishers to bring them to the Bunny Clark. Once I was at the Barn, all the fire extinguishers were to be inspected. Then I would bring them back. So I jumped in the truck and brought them over to the Bunny Clark/Barn. And I waited. I waited for fifteen minutes after we were supposed to have the fire inspection on the boat and with all the fire extinguishers. Then I started calling the company responsible for setting up the date and the inspector. After an hour of not being able to get in touch with anyone, I drove home. An hour after that, I found out that the inspector had called in sick. But the company didn't bother calling me to tell me. So I wasted two hours when I could have been working. The company was bought out a year or two ago. I have dealt with them before for many years of trusted service and loved that company. I'm just hoping they don't go south. I'm still on the ropes as to when they will be there to get our fire systems in order.
I went back to working on the Guestletter after I got all my calls out of the way and wrote a couple more paragraphs. My subject matter is the fishing success, or lack there of, by species.
After lunch, I got ready to chair the Harbor Committee meeting at Ogunquit's town hall or Dunaway Center. That started at 2:00 PM. It ended at 4:10 PM. The topics covered included the moorings, the mooring list, Cove repairs, the various items on the Harbor Master's docket, the maximum size of a vessel moored in Perkins Cove and the ongoing quest to build a new bridge, a new bait house and the dredging of Perkins Cove. We also passed on a motion to the Select Board to increase the maximum width of a mooring holder's boat a foot more in lieu of new lobstering regulations as it requires a larger boat to comply. By the time I got home, made all the calls I had planned to make before everything closed, the day was done. It was after 5:00 PM. But I was finished with work for the day.
I received a wonderfully generous $100.00 donation from Marty & Elise Buskey (NY) in the mail today sponsoring me in this year's Pan-Mass Challenge. Marty & Elise never forget to give me a donation almost every time I see Marty when he comes to fish with us on the Bunny Clark. At the end of the year, these add up to a large sum. Usually they are in $50.00 increments. So receiving a $100.00 donation when I least expect it is huge. Thank you both so much for your thoughtfulness and unerring help today and over the years. I am truly grateful for your help and your heartfelt feelings that so closely match mine.
Interstate Fire & Protection made up for yesterday's discrepancy by sending an inspector to the Bunny Clark at 8:00 AM to complete the fire inspection. I got there just before 8:00 AM. Jay, a fellow cyclist and a guy who has been with Interstate for a while, did the inspection. He moved things along so that I could get to the Recreational Advisory Panel (RAP) meeting at 9:00 AM on Webinar.
The RAP meeting, Chaired by Frank Blount out of Point Judith, Rhode Island and managed by Dr. Jamie Cournane and Angela Forristall (New England Fishery Management Council staff), started promptly at 9:00 AM. This meeting was centered around the catch data that had been collected and the regulatory models produced so that we could make informed decisions on the recreational fishing rules for fiscal fishing year 2023. Both the cod stocks and haddock stocks are down. But, according to the data, the Gulf of Maine is in better shape for cod than Georges Bank. This is just from the data collected. No one really knows the details about the data or even how true it is. But it is the best possible science. Regardless, we have to go with it. And we did.
The meeting lasted until 1:00 PM. This is what came out of it for the Gulf of Maine.:
Recreational Measures for Fishing Year 2023:
Motion 1: Tower/Reilly
The Recreational Advisory Panel recommends to the Groundfish Committee for recreational measures for 2023:
Gulf of Maine cod
Gulf of Maine haddock
Rationale: Option 2 presented by Center staff, modified for haddock – minimum fish size 18 in. (rather than 17 in.) and possession limit at 15 fish (rather than 10 fish). If the minimum fish size of 18 in is insufficient, then consider 19 in. or 20 in.
This was agreed by consensus and without objection.
I made the motion with a 15 fish bag limit so I could get the motion through. I really think that fifteen haddock is a bit too many. Those representing the charter boats and those who represent the private boats felt they needed more fish (as there are less anglers per boat). The crafting of this motion came from a model developed by Scott Steinbeck and Min-Yang Lee of the Northeast Fisheries Science Center that was adjusted to meet the needs of the RAP members.
This will be forwarded to the Groundfish Committee who will discuss it's merits and be moved forward as is or with adjustments to the full Council for approval. If the Council approves the motion it will go to the Regional Office of the National Marine Fisheries Service for adjustment or to be moved forward in its entirety as the new regulations for the upcoming fishing year. So there are many steps. In the past, many suggestions like this from the RAP have been altered before moving to the NMFS. We shall see. The bottom line is that we will get a reasonable number of haddock for the upcoming season and we should see the fall cod season expanded. But, with this motion, we lose the ability to keep cod for two weeks in April.
I also brought to the floor an idea of changing the wording of the halibut regulation for recreational anglers from one halibut per trip to one halibut per day. It was meant to keep one boat from making several trips when the halibut show up inside. And it also gives incentives to anglers on two day trips if more than one halibut is landed. This could not be moved forward as a motion, unfortunately. The halibut regulation as it stands now applies to commercial boats who could be out for ten day trips. Two day trips of party boats are rare indeed. I've never heard of a three day trip in New England.
After a quick lunch we hosted Mary Breen and Dee Gamache, Mary's kitchen manager, from Bread & Roses Baking Company. Mary started the business almost forty year ago. The Breens have been close family friends since I was old enough to be aware. We, at Barnacle Billy's, Inc., are going away from an in-house baker. We have had three over the many years. The one who we had for the last few left us last year with outside issues. I relied on Mary to get us through last year. It worked out so well that I asked if her company to do all our baking. So today, Mary and Dee brought down samples of what we serve so we could taste test everything. My son, Micah, was there, Pam Spinney, our original baker, was there, my sister, Meg, me and Pam's daughter who works at Barnacle Billy's, Etc. as a waitress, was there. The bakery products were exceptional. I didn't expect anything else. I think the fudge cake is the best. Bread & Roses was always the highest quality bakery in the area. Now they have the capacity to expand, which they have been doing the last few years. Their expansion has allowed us the great opportunity of having them make all these wonderful things for us and deliver them to the door every day. So I was delighted that they wanted to work with us. It was actually the best part of my day today!
I never did get to post yesterday's report until after I had finished at the Cove. I rolled out of bed late, 5:00 AM. When I do that I feel that the whole day is a catch-up day. This was true today.
I met my son, Micah, down at the Cove at 8:00 AM to get ready for fire inspection at our two restaurants. We knew there wasn't much to get ready. Inspection was slated for 9:00 AM. So we had an extra half hour to talk about the Petrel's inspection next week, projects and repairs for both businesses.
Inspection was completed before 10:00 AM. We had a few items that needed to be completed. But these are also things that always need attention. In other words, we don't have the fire extinguishers inspected and tagged until March. This also applies to the fire suppression systems in the kitchen. The Town knows this and will just check again later. A couple of the emergency lights always need batteries. But, other than those minor things, we went through the inspection without issue. We need to pass inspection in order to maintain our liquor license, besides keeping a safe working environment.
Bridges Electric showed up shortly afterward. We needed to change out a few wall plugs, add lights, fix an electrical strip and many other things, including fixing an un-lit exit sign as well as a couple of emergency light batteries. Micah and I directed them around both buildings to explain what needed to be done.
At 10:30 AM, I met Jennifer Marble to go over the rebuilding of the Barnacle Billy's website. It's looking really good and, certainly, much better than the one that we have online right now. We were don't by 1:30 PM, where upon I was able to grab lunch.
I met Ian Keniston and Danny DellaMonica at our house after lunch. They have completed working on all the reels and rods that we will need for the season coming up. We had a small meeting afterward.
At 3:30 PM, I met my graphics designer, working with the new PMC t-shirts and the Tackle Breakers (hard luck award) t-shirts, down at the restaurant. We went over a few things.
By 5:00 PM, I was done. I was supposed to speak in Portland at a meeting about putting windmills on our fishing grounds. But I would not have been good enough to drive home at 10:00 PM. So I crossed my fingers for luck and stayed at home for a normal bed time instead. This windmill issue does not make sense to me. They are a black hole for the government to lose money forever, they will disrupt ocean life as we know it, it will change the fishing grounds, it will change fishing and, in the end, there won't be enough energy created to warrant the project. It seems the only people making money on this are the companies who are selling, building and maintaining the windmills. I've read about the horror stories in England where they have ruined fishing grounds for not much gain. It just doesn't make sense to me. Anyway, many feel as I do. I just hope the meeting went okay. I told my wife, Deb, that I wasn't going. She wasn't happy about it, saying "If everybody felt like you these projects would continue unfettered." I'm paraphrasing here but that's her point. I agree, which is why I kept my fingers crossed!
Today was Deb's day to run around as well. She had to take my sister, Meg, to the doctor. And then they both went to get new cell phones. That took forever. In the meantime, I brought Gill with me where I could. So the dog got some attention but not as much attention as he wanted. He's always so good in the truck now that he has learned not to put the passenger side window down when he wants.
I received another generous donation today sponsoring me in this year's Pan-Mass Challenge. The gift was $100.00 in the form of a "eGift" through the PMC site from Bill & Roseann Pakenham (MA). Bill & Roseann have been sponsoring me for many years now. They have always been generous. This gift was for "Tim, Meg, Court & Cathy; in memory of your mother, Bunny Clark Tower." So it was a bit more special this time. Thank you both so very much for thinking of us and my cancer project. It's so very nice of you!
After posting the entry above, I spent most of the morning writing up the minutes for the Harbor Committee. Our Town Clerk, Christine Murphy, has stepped it up a couple notches and was so helpful to me this time; with the planning of the meeting, being there at the meeting for directional/procedural advice and making sure I stayed the proper path. For instance, for the meeting wrote up the agenda but she drew it up properly with the Zoom links and everything the public needed to either view the meeting, attend the meeting or participate via Zoom. So writing the minutes up today was easy. But it turned out to be long. There were quite a few items in the meeting that I didn't want to get wrong. I made a couple calls to our Harbormaster and I got some feedback from two who hold a seat on the Committee along side me. When it was completed, I attached it to an email to everyone involved, asking them to read it and let me know about discrepancies. I take notes and write down the motions as they are made. But I can't write down everything. Since we don't have a secretary, I am both the Chair and the secretary. I'm happy to do this because I think the Committee is a good thing and no one else wants to do it. In order to keep the Committee a solvent entity, everything has to be completed and run by the book. My attention was called to one item, to change (which I did), by another member. But that was about it. By noon, it as good as it was going to be.
The rest of the day was spent on Barnacle Billy's items in the office at the Cove. I had to get the new Barnacle Billy's employees applications out and to the people who had made inquiries about working. I also had quite a few emails that had to go to individuals requesting dinner functions. We don't take reservations. But sometimes we can fit them in the second floor at Barnacle Billy's, Etc. which we do not open for service until 5:30 PM. Almost all of these emails didn't have enough information to make an informed decision. I spent a lot of time at the restaurant engaging the other managers in a variety of different things.
Deb was busy working on the computer for Bunny Clark Deep Sea Fishing so, when I went to the Cove, I took Gill, who was very bored and wanted a job in the worst way. We did a bit of walking but not enough to satisfy him. Most of the time he spent with me in the office. For some reason, doing nothing in the office at the Cove is better than being at home doing nothing. Not much better but better, still. It was beautiful down at the Cove so I took a picture looking through the garden patio of Barnacle Billy's, Etc. at the boats nestled in the Cove on their moorings. Gill is in the foreground.
I spent the day indoors, mostly working on the computer with the Guestletter. It is fun writing this thing as I get to relive all the highlights of the previous season. Tomorrow should be more of the same.
I spent the day watching English Premier League football most of the morning while also on the stationary bike. Earlier, I posted this entry and started, again, working on the Guestletter. I worked all afternoon on the Guestletter. I was done working for the day at 6:00 PM.
I stayed in the house at the office just about all day. At high tide, I took a drive to the Cove to see how high the water in the Cove basin was going to get. It got to a level over the dock at Barnacle Billy's and about a foot below the dining room floor. But that was just about it. The tide was a 10.5' tide, which, if the wind had been out of the east or northeast, would have been a problem like we had with the pre-Christmas storm. So we were okay through both tides.
I did a bit of shoveling but not much was needed as not much snow fell. However, it was very wet and would surely freeze in a block had I not moved it.
Except for a few business calls, I worked on the Guestletter all day, the most productive day yet. I stopped at 5:00 PM.
Gill displayed a new trick today. I decided to have soup for lunch. With soup, I normally have peanut butter crackers. At lunch, I've been watching a movie upstairs while eating. So I brought the bowl of soup upstairs and left the plate of peanut buttered crackers on the middle island in the kitchen. Deb was eating and watching TV in the den only about eight feet away from the center island. I wasn't there to see this so I can only suspect. But while I was upstairs and Deb was near, Gill got up on his hind legs, somehow pulled the plate to the edge of the island top, gently tipped the plate up and slide half the peanut buttered crackers to the floor. When I came back, Gill was licking the floor, maybe a 2.5' square area was wet. Deb didn't hear him do it. And the only way I could tell, besides the fact that he was licking the floor, was that half the crackers were missing off the plate! I can't believe that Deb didn't hear the plate as it came back down on the granite top after Gill had tipped it in his favor. But apparently, he was quiet enough to not be noticed. I was only gone for five minutes at the most. Had I been gone for ten, there wouldn't have been a cracker left!. Deb was mad but I had to admire the dog.
The day was spent, mostly, working on the Guestletter, the annual labor of love that I never think that I will have time to write but that I always seem to be able to complete. I could go on a two week vacation for the time I spend working on this season primer.
We were supposed to have an insurance inspection on the Petrel, our lobster boat. But I canceled it as most places in Ogunquit, York and Wells still don't have power. My son, Micah's, house was one. Luckily, we still have power at the Cove.
I took a little bit of time to meet with our new baking company, a representative (Dee Gamache) and, before that, Dee had dropped off the adjusted woopie pies we want them to do for us this coming restaurant season. She had stopped before as a few of us were going to meet and go over the changes we wanted her to implement. But when I got down there, at the planned meeting time, she had already left and didn't bring the profiteroles I had asked her to bring. So she came down and met with me later as she was going to pass through Ogunquit on a delivery run. The quality of the baking is 110% what we want. But we wanted more filling in the woopie pies, the profiteroles were too big (the new samples were perfect), the biscuits for the strawberry shortcakes were too small and had sugar on them that we do not need, etc. I am very excited to be working with Bread & Roses Bakery.
I could not work past 4:00 PM today. My mind had just had it. I started working on the Guestletter at 5:30 AM and, except for a few business calls, had been writing all day. It reminded me of how I felt after studying all day in college. And, yes, I can still vaguely remember those days! So at 4:15 PM, I joined the cat, Jigg, who was sleeping on our bed and watched a Liverpool Football Club documentary featuring their current manager, Jürgen Klopp. Very interesting, something I wouldn't even have considered watching seven years ago. Don't worry, my wife doesn't understand it either!
I got out of bed at 1:45 AM, did an hour of core workout stuff (pushups, etc.), like I do every day, fed the animals at 3:00 AM, made breakfast and then started working on this website. First, I completed this entry and posted it by 5 AM. Next I worked on the Guestletter.
I was out the door headed to the Bunny Clark by 7:30 AM. I dropped off the outside stuffing box casting, keys, cotter pins, nuts at the Bunny Clark. From there I made a dermatology appointment that I thought started at 8:30 AM but that actually started at 8:00 AM. Luckily, they had an opening at 1:50 PM.
From there I drove to Essex to Voyager Marine with two radars, the display unit from the Bunny Clark and the whole antenna, wiring harness and display unit off the Petrel. I spent the better part of an hour with John and Jim. They fixed the display unit for the Bunny Clark while I was there. But I had to leave the Petrel's radar. They called before 5 PM to tell me that they had also repaired the other radar. I hope I can get down there again tomorrow.
From there, I went back to Portsmouth to get a new Apple laptop computer. My other one was ten years old and dying. Plus, I didn't have enough memory. I had to leave that so I could transfer all the stuff I had stored on the older computer to the new computer.
I drove from there to Greenleaves Chinese and then back to Portsmouth for my appointment, to BJs to get batteries and then home to unpack all I had done and finish two small projects that Deb had asked me to do.
After posting my daily missive, I worked on the Guestletter. I might have a good day left of working on it before I give it to Bill Devon (VT) for proofing. He always finds the screw-ups that I can't.
From there, I met my newest webmaster, Jennifer Marble, to continue building the new Barnacle Billy's site. We worked together until about 12:30 PM. Lunch was next. A dentist appointment was after that. Then I drove to Portsmouth to pickup the new laptop. From there I went to Hamilton Marine as the Awlgrip paint order had come in. From there, I went to the Bunny Clark at Dave's Boat Shop to drop off the paint. I was finally able to go home to set up the new computer. That was my day along with numerous business calls throughout.
At 5:00 AM EST the air temperature was 29°F, the sky seemed mostly cloudy with some stars available, the wind was blowing out of the west at fifteen to twenty knots or more and the visibility over the ocean was excellent. The sky was overcast before the dawn. The sky was mostly cloudy after sunrise. But the rest of the day was mostly clear and sunny, particularly in the afternoon. The wind stayed out of the west and had some teeth for a while. But, by noon, the westerly wind started to lose desire and was struggling to make ten knots. In fact, I never saw any wind as high as ten knots for the rest of the day or night. Sunset saw the wind back out of the south. The wind remained light. The visibility remained excellent. The highest air temperature that I saw was 36°F. In Boston, Massachusetts (Logan International Airport) the high air temperature was 42°F (with a low of 30°F). The Concord, New Hampshire's high temperature was 38°F (with a low of 16°F). The high air temperature at the Portland International Jetport, Portland, Maine was 36°F (with a low of 20°F).
Today started off much like yesterday. I got up, did an hour of core stuff (my back is getting worse despite), wrote this update, posted it and worked on the Guestletter afterward.
At 6:30 AM, I left the house and headed down to Voyager Marine in Essex, Massachusetts to pick up the Petrel's radar. On the way, I was able to go down a list of phone calls that had to be made. I ended up arriving at Voyager at 7:45 AM. But John was already there. So I went in, had a great chat with John and, after some instruction on the re-install, grabbed the equipment and headed back to Ogunquit. Micah was going to hook up the radar after I got back. So I relayed what John told me to Micah before I got home.
I also made the decision to go with a new, cloud based, point of sale (POS) system at the restaurants. The benefits are it's versatility, gift cards, ease of daily use and the availability of handhelds that will allow the customer to pay at the table, like they have been doing in Europe for fifteen years or more. Anyway, the gang went through a presentation yesterday and all agreed that it was the way to go. So I pulled the trigger today. We have had two different POS systems at the restaurants for years. With this system we only have to get used to one.
I also figured out when work on the restaurants (upkeep and repairs) was going to happen.
Once I got home, I dropped the radar off and headed to Don's Sheet Metal in Biddeford where I wanted to drop the lobster cooking tank lid and have it duplicated for next summer. This is a spare but the hinges go on them after a time. Without the hinges, it can still be used but there is a chance that those who are using it will get burned. I certainly don't want to get into that.
I also stopped to pick up the repaired side curtains for the Bunny Clark. I didn't call ahead and I got burned by that, as they were closed for the day. But it was on the way, or maybe, ten minutes out of the way at best.
On the way back, I stopped by Bread & Roses Bakery to pick up a key lime pie that was made with our recipe. We tried theirs last time. It was very good but it wasn't like ours and it wasn't made the "traditional way". The new key lime pie was exactly what we make. In fact, I thought it tasted better. We do have customers who come to Billy's just for our key lime pie. It's different. And we certainly don't want to disappoint the faithful. So this will work.
I had a financial meeting with my book keepers at the restaurant. And throughout the day I had and ongoing dialog with our floor manager at Barnacle Billy's, Etc. to go over the various functions we will be hosting upstairs this season.
Most of the afternoon was spent back working on the Guestletter. I like the way this one is coming out. Last year's Guestletter was a bit boring. I cut some of that same stuff out. I think it reads better. In the end, it's just my words. It's one of the many things I do that I wish I could do better. But, like everything I do, I only get into it on a part time basis. So I become "the jack of all trades, mater of none!"
I finished up at 6:30 PM.
I didn't do much of anything today except work on the Guestletter. A couple more paragraphs and I am done. Hopefully, I will finish that tomorrow or Monday.
More of the same was my credo for the day. I didn't follow through, exactly. I worked the early part of the morning, posting this Update and working on the Guestletter. At 8:00 AM, I left to pick up ten boxes of Jinkai line that I had ordered from Saco Bay Tackle Company. We use this for leader material. We have matched the clear with fluorocarbon line time after time and found it superior in many ways. After I got home, I went back to work on the Guestletter. I have a couple paragraphs to go and it will be ready to proof.
After lunch, I took the rest of the afternoon off. I managed to get forty-one miles on the bike, taking a chance that the NWS was going to be wrong about it raining. I was right about that, thankfully. After a shower, I watched a bit of the NFL with the Eagles/49ers. This was, probably, the most boring game I have ever seen. I was in bed by 6:30 PM. That was my day.
More of the same this morning again until about 8:30 AM. I finished writing the Guestletter at 7:00 AM and then started proofing and editing it. I can't believe how many mistakes I had to correct. Throughout the day, I made some corrections when I could but I never did get more than a third of it re-read. I should be able to finish it by 8:00 AM tomorrow morning.
I had quite a few phone conversations this morning before hitting the road which started by me picking up some plexiglas that I had cut at Glass Unlimited in Wells, Maine. From there I drove to the Bunny Clark where I met Cody from Power Products (Portland, Maine). He was changing out the raw water pump, something I had planned since late summer. He also brought me parts and oil from Portland. From there I had a meeting with our paper representative at Barnacle Billy's about printed cups. Until lunch I spent my time in the office at Barnacle Billy's, Etc.
I spent lunch working on editing the Guestletter, as I was eating. At 1:00 PM, I had two motor scooters dropped off. I had them both picked up earlier in the winter as one died on the last day I needed it. The other one I never could get going (Deb's scooter). Deb's is a Honda with limited access to parts for her model. So that took the most time. I didn't want him to make a separate trip for the one that he could fix right away. So I waited until Deb's was done so he could bring both.
Once that was accomplished I drove to Canvasworks in Kennebunk to pick up the Bunny Clark's repaired side curtains. From there I drove to Westbrook, Maine to pick up all the oil I will need for summer oil changes in the Bunny Clark and Petrel. Along with that I also picked up oil filters for the Bunny Clark.
My truck is a great place to make phone calls which I took full advantage of today.
Captain Ian Keniston and Danny DellaMonica have been working every day on the Bunny Clark. Today they were sanding and painting.
I spent the whole day working between editing the Guestletter and getting every license I needed for the upcoming season. I was done with the first proof of the Guestletter by 8:00 AM. So that meant I could go to the Town Office make sure I was current for this year beginning. Then it was back to computer to get all the federal and state licenses that were required. It seems like it would be easy, doing all this stuff online. But, with computers, there are glitches. My Highly Migratory Species (tunas, swordfish & sharks) permit wouldn't print, the mandatory reporting app for my lobster license didn't function at first and I needed bit of help with my federal fishing permits (just to make sure they were in the works). All this got straightened out. But it takes time. By late afternoon, the new Guestletter was up online.
Also, the new Barnacle Billy's site went online today as well. That has been a lot of work.
I talked with the National Marine Fisheries Service today about the upcoming haddock regulations. I wanted to get a feeling as to the direction they wanted to go. As I suspected, they were okay with the cod regulations for next year as proposed by the Recreational Advisory Panel and forwarded through the Council system without changes. Also, as suspected, they were not comfortable with the haddock regulation change as proposed by the RAP. That was also forwarded through the Council system without any changes. This was the reason I called them. As suspected, they are worried about the haddock discards with the increase in the minimum haddock size of 18". The survival rate of the larger haddock is much greater than the smaller ones. Just going up an inch on size greatly increases the number of discards. The NMFS wants boats, ideally, to catch the number of haddock allowed and then move on. Of course, that doesn't always happen depending on the vessel and intent. And I agree with them. For the Bunny Clark, I'm just as comfortable with the 17" minimum size and the ten fish bag limit. So I suspect that the haddock regulations will be a bit different than what the RAP proposed when fiscal fishing year 2023 is upon us, May 1, 2023. Either way, our haddock regulations will be easy to live with, whatever they do.
After posting this entry, I met our painter, Gary Charpentier, down at Barnacle Billy's, Etc. at 6:30 AM to go over the brightwork I needed to have completed. The stairs from the dining room are most important. By giving it a two month drying time, it's well hard enough to walk on by the time the season gets going. And it also stays brighter longer as well. It's always good to see Gary. And he does a great job, the best.
I had to be in Dover, New Hampshire for the dental surgeon to look at the results of his surgery he completed early last month. That worked out well and looked good. I have to have some more work done in that area but that reservation won't be until early November.
Afterward, I was at the boat talking to Dave, Ian and Danny. I had to pick up a spare water pump that was left for me there as well as some lubricating oil. I just made it home in time to drive to our lawyer's office in Sanford, Maine. That lasted for an hour and a half, starting at 11:00 AM. This was all my parents estate stuff. They did not plan for their death very well. At least, they did not make it very easy for me to clean all this up. Plus, there is much emotional stuff tied in with the potential of selling my parent's house and the like. But my siblings are aboard with me. And I don't anticipate that they will hold me back from doing what I think is right. And, of course, I'm engaging them all in exactly what I do, what I'm am going to do and when I do it. Plus, they all have daily access to all the professionals involved to voice their own opinions. I'm try to do my best.
After lunch, I worked on game planning the restaurants and the Bunny Clark stuff. I was done at 5:30 PM. It felt like 8:00 PM to me.
I forget to mention that the Petrel went through and insurance topside inspection. My son, Micah, did the whole thing. I went down to check to see the marine surveyor and make sure everything was going okay. It was.
Along with all the day's activities, we had our first day of reservations for the Bunny Clark trips this season. We had our normal early morning reservations starting before 6:00 AM. Deb does the start of every reservation day. She ended up doing the whole morning as I had all these other things going on. I received two anonymous donations sponsoring me in this season's Pan-Mass Challenge. One was a $500.00 donation where I have no idea where it came from. I went back to my email, my donation page on the PMC site and to my profile page. Nothing. The other was a $250.00 donation from a good friend and his daughter who has asked in the past if I not mention his or her name. He didn't ask me this time but I'm assuming that the same thing applies. If not, let me know and I can quickly change it. They have donated this same generous amount every year since I started this cancer research fund raising project. Thank you all very much for your generous gifts. I do so very much appreciate it!
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