Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Bluegrass here we come!

Oi! It's been a long two days.

I have spent the last two days processing our first shipping orders through the new website. It is pretty exciting to get an automated notification letting you know you have sold product and that all the hard work has paid off and things seem to be working as intended. There is a bit of a learning curve and a lot of room for improvement, mostly because I am terrified of making a mistake and am spending a lot of time checking my work. Good for the customer, bad for me. But with practice, I'm sure, it will get smoother and I will be able to automate some of the steps that I am currently doing by hand.

The last two days have also been filled with prepping for the Thomas Point Beach Bluegrass Festival. I have been putting together pricing sheets, business cards, product information packets and various informational handouts and signs. My brother has also had me making "lobster bib roll-ups" which are a nice little packets that consist of a bib, napkins, cutlery, and a wet nap.

David and I spent some time getting pictures of our bacon wrapped scallops and crab cakes.

While the pictures came out great and a lot of hard work came together to create some really nice looking products, I am most pleased with my latest Inkscape creation.

Keep your eyes peeled for some pictures from the festival. Or better yet swing by, listen to some tunes, visit our booth, and end up in some of our pictures.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Online Lobbies and Bluegrass

I have two big projects that I am currently working on for expanding our seafood realm.

First, I have been working on building Gurnet Trading Co.'s online store. We currently have more than a dozen of our great products, including live and cooked lobsters, for sale online. We have customer's that visit us every summer and come from all over the country, now they can get their favorite seafood shipped direct to their doors. 

Right now we have the basics but will be adding more as time goes on. We have been shipping our lobsters and products for years, but we never had the capacity to ship more than a box here or there for the odd customer who comes into the store and wants to ship lobsters to their mom for her birthday. Recently we ramped up capacity by adding more lobster tanks and storage for packing materials. Our goal is to be able to bring the great taste of Maine and our home cooking to those who can't come to us. 

Lobster Roll Kit
1 pound of fresh lobster salad and 6 New England style split top buns 
Build Your Own Lobster Dinner
2 live lobsters, 2 pounds of clams, 2 whoopie pies,
 and your choice of two appetizers 

Casco Classic
2 live lobsters, 2 pounds of clams, 2 whoopie pies, 3 appetizers
 and your choice of chowder

Readers of the The Flying Lobster can get $10.00 off their online order 
by using the coupon code FL813. 

Second, I have been preparing for a big Gurnet Trading Co.  first. We will be selling live lobsters and taking orders for travel and shipping at the Bluegrass Festival at Thomas Point Beach during Labor Day Weekend. We will be there with Zach's Lobster Bakes, who will be serving up a classic Maine feast of lobsters, clams, corn, potato salad, cole slaw and blueberry cake.

Stop by the festival and enjoy some great music and local food!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Catch Up After a Long Hiatus

My last post was on May 12th. Three months. Yep that is not good . . . not good at all. This summer has proved to be much busier and more challenging than originally planned.

So if the Fish Princess hasn't been blogging and ruling the Fish Kingdom, what has she been doing all this time?

I wish I could say sitting on a beach in Hawaii, drinking mai tais and snorkeling. But I suppose the truth is the next best thing.

Barge Driver

Back in April I mentioned Ramps and Floats and said that it was a short brutal season of installing dock systems for the summer season. Well as it turned out, the short brutal season transitions into a longer more mellow season of repairs, mooring inspections, new equipment installations, and salvage.

The months of April and May were dedicated to hauling people's floats off from beaches, anchoring them, and hooking them up to a stationary dock.

Step 1: Get the float off the beach

Step 2: Push the float into place

Step 3: Hook the float up to the wharf

David does the heavy lifting and hookup while I drive the barge and hold everything in place against the wind, tide, and currents. Initially I had not really intended to be a part of Ramps and Floats, but after my first season I am glad that I am. It is source of pride, not only that we installed over 100 systems this spring, but also that driving the barge has become second nature.

At first operating the twin engines and controlling the big blue pig took every bit of my concentration and focus. I had to think about every action and move I wanted to make and work it backwards to figure out how the force of the engine would impact the barge, which in turn would impact the floats and ramps that I was pushing. Now, after months of practice, I just do it. Without thinking, the barge does my bidding.

Mud Master

In June we transitioned into mooring inspections. Inspecting moorings, while being much slower paced than Ramps and Floats, is infinitely more dirty. The basic idea of a mooring is to hold a boat or float in place using a combination of rope, chain and some sort of an anchor. Usually, our anchors are cast iron mushrooms or blocks (granite or concrete).

We build and install new moorings for customers, but the majority of our work is inspecting and repairing them. We use our winch to lift the smaller ones to the surface so we can check for corrosion and damage. When they come to the surface they bring with them mountains of black mud, kelp, rocks, fish, crabs, tiny creepy crawlies and even an occasional lobster trap that has become tangled.

For moorings that are larger than 5,000 pounds and I have to suit up in my dive gear and perform in water inspections and repairs. This was the part of the job that I had loads of experience in. During college I had worked as my dad's diver.

It wasn't until David and I took over the operations that I learned about the rest of mooring repair and construction. This summer I have learned how to splice three strand nylon and use an oxy-acetylene cutting torch. I can design, build and set a mooring from beginning to end.

David splicing eyes for a new halter
A granite mooring block on deck for inspection and relocation
When was the last time your mooring was inspected?
This customer was very lucky that we inspected when we did.

The new 1/2" chain next to the old 1/2" chain to be replaced

Repair and Construction

At some point this summer we also became marine carpenters. 

A new gantry

New runners to extend the life of this float

A New Float

Our New Deck Hand

While we worked hard up until the end of June, real life came to a screeching halt on June 28th when we picked up our new deck hand.  

Our first time meeting Nemo

The day after we brought him home

Nemo's First Sail

Nemo's first camping trip

But eventually we had to go back to work and Nemo had to learn to be a barge dog.

At first he did a lot of sleeping on the job.

But now he is starting to get the hang of it.

So you can see I have not been completely idle these last three months. Things have slowed down a bit, we have begun to figure out our new lives and schedules and I hope that I will be able to get more focused on being the Fish Princess and pick up where I left off.


If you happen to need any mooring work done in the Harpswell / New Meadows area I can be contacted at or you can visit me on Facebook