Early on a July morning, Massachusetts lobsterman Steve Holler and his sternman Frank Lenardis haul lobster traps out of Boston Harbor over the edge of Holler’s boat, the November Gale, and dump the catch into a holding tray.
Lenardis then carries the 50-pound traps to the back of the boat, stacking them on top of each other, cautious not to get his feet tangled in the rope trailing behind him.
“It’s a dance between me and him,” Holler says. “Him getting that done, me getting this done, because with his strength, his weight, he’ll knock me right on my rear end. He’s done it a few times.”
Over the course of a day, they repeat the dance of hauled traps and coiled ropes 300 times.
This particular morning in July, everything goes smoothly. But Holler remembers one day in February when a routine haul went very wrong, after he discovered that a few wire traps had frozen to the dock.