8.14.01 Cutting Scallops
scallop season starts in October and ends in the
spring. perfect off season work.
The word on me via the West Coast was I was shacked up with a drunken sea captain.
this rumor was a twist on the truth
the shucking shack was outside my house next to the driveway.
it was built by the guy I shucked for. he was a scallop fisherman. we lived in Edgartown.
I was a shucker but not shacked up.
and I was the drunk and he wasn't really a sea captain.
there was a brief crush between us, but wisely, we never acted on it.
I was very lucky to get the job. he hired me and let me learn on his scallops. on the job training.
you cant mangle the scallops. its hard at first. That first training bushel took 6 hours.
those years most bushels yielded about 13- 15 pounds.
Jack paid me around $1.30 a pound
there were 4 bushels a day.
about 55-65 bucks for the job done.
by my second season I got it down to 45 minutes a bushel
veteran cutters could do a bushel in 1/2 an hour without a grain of sand in the bucket.
they could create a perfect arcing blizzard of scallops flying out of the shells and into the bucket.
if you looked at their shells there wouldn't even be a film of scallop meat left on the inside. leaving even the thinnest transparent sheet of scallop on the inside tops of shells was considered shameful.
I was never that good.
the big shed in town wasn't really used anymore it was at the end of my street between a fish dealer and a liquor store directly across the street from the county jail. used to be a dozen cutters in there all drunks with their nip bottles and beers. that was before, when the fleet off cape pogue was bigger. Back when the beds where full of scallops. 80 boats out there bringing 5- 6 bushels in 3 hours. That's what they say anyway.
shucking is a drunkards job which I was.
bud and scallops.
the trash can that I filled with shells and guts had a few empty cans but I preferred the reward approach - saving my drinking for when I was done. A 12 pack for my efforts.