Today I want to introduce you to Sheena Young, a real East Coast Woman Powerhouse.
A couple of days ago I was invited to check out a fleet of fishing boats on Deer Island, NB, Canada to be captured in a watercolour painting.
The Young Family
All boats are owned by the same family, fishing the waters of the West Isles for several generations now. The family has expanded since into selling quality Atlantic lobster wholesale abroad. Their business is called Young’s Lobster Company. The little wharf in Leonardville seemed to be a family operation. Sheena, who invited me, introduced all the boats by name- from her dad’s fishing boat, to her brother in law’s and other relatives’ boats anchored. Dad is also the wharfinger (or harbour authority).
Everyone in these small coastal towns works together and looks out for one another, dad explained as every family works so hard to make a living. Fishing is a tough life, but I have always found the people genuine and very likeable. Sort of like the lobster they fish: tough and rough on the outside, but special and sweet on the inside. Reminding me of the locals in my native German Bavarian alpine region.
The day was dreary, overcast with that smell of snow in the air. People that live in colder climates know that special smell, we even say to one another: ‘it smells like snow today’. Two days ago, it smelled like snow, temperatures around the freezing point. It was supposed to be the start day of lobster season. A very special day for any lobster fisherman.
For days and weeks preparations have to be done. From making sure there is enough traps and buoys (yes, it appears this is the correct plural spelling), rope, and so on… the traps are to be filled with bait and equipped with long rope to haul up from the ocean floor. Each trap is carefully stacked on the back of each boat. The boats are loaded to capacity as it will be a race to be first at the best fishing grounds. So, having as many cages per run as possible is very important. To me it seems almost a science when I look at those loaded boats. (There is more info and statistics on the government website by clicking here).
As said, it should have been the first day of lobstering season, but it had to be postponed for one day due to high winds offshore. That was my signal to take the ferry to Deer Island to take photographs and make sketches from the Young family fleet.
Sheena and her family were already at the wharf getting last things seen to, her brother in law bringing in his new boat from the mooring and docking ‘Explorer 1’ next to the other family boats. Dad was bringing down the delivery truck from the lobster wholesale biz to the wharf.
Visiting the Lighthouse
After taking oodles of photos, I warmed up with a cup of tea from my thermos, went for a short drive to the lighthouse. Lucky me, a couple of guys were working on replacing the lead-painted shingles, so I stopped by the road and asked if I could sneak a peak inside. They said yes and here is a pic I took.
Usually the lighthouse is not open for visitors- what luck, this made my day! (Sheena leads a community group ‘Friend’s of Leonardville Lighthouse’ who are hoping to gain possession of the now ‘surplus’ property of Department of Fisheries and Oceans. This woman does it all)!
I think I’ve found the epitome of a strong East Coast Woman Powerhouse in Sheena! You go, girl!!!!
I hope to being able to start the large painting soon, I will keep you posted with the final result…
Thanks for stopping by and stay in touch,
Below, the video is not from Deer Island, but I wanted to include it anyway. See how massively loaded those boats are??