Sunday, August 31, 2014

Up and Running!!!

This summer has been a mad scramble.

     After some initial delays, boat troubles, and looming deadlines I decided to get the farm in the water by any means necessary.

     On July 21st, with much help from my parents and Kat, my first crop of 35,000 oysters hit the water.

After 9 days of growth (nearly doubled in size!)
     It was quite the operation. With the Muffin II out of commission, we set up the farm using my parents' 16' bowrider. Though not the ideal work-boat, we were able to get all the grow-cages and oysters in with no major trouble. We sorted through all 35,000 pea sized oysters to remove wayward mussels, crabs and sea grapes. We sealed the oysters into their bags and set them out to grow... and boy have they grown.

     With the Muffin II again operational, I've been able to get out a couple of times a week to check on the farm. Each week, my equipment picks up a coating of new and interesting sea life, ranging from barnacles, to tunicates, to amphipods that look like the floppy inflatable characters you see at used car lots (apparently known as skeleton shrimp). Baby lumpfish have even been using my cages as shelter. Each week I wash off a thick coating of filamentous red algae to give the oysters enough water flow to feed.

After 5 weeks

     It is amazing how fast the oysters are growing. When I started out, most of the oysters were close to pea-sized. Five weeks later, most are larger than a quarter and many are twice that big. Things are going great so far!