It takes two. While the hard work of a diver can take the spotlight, the job can be made exponentially easier with the expertise of a seasoned tender. Seeing these two work was witnessing the evidence and beauty of a working relationship that’s been passed down, honed in, practiced and perfected for many seasons.
To harvest oysters, Colin submerges himself down into the chilly green river (read ambient water temperature of 45 degrees) 30 feet below the surface. He swims along the river bottom with a dive bag to search for pockets of oysters that we bottom planted last year, sometimes submerged under silt, or not where we thought they were. He navigates the pull of the tide, changing visibility, and budgets oxygen left in his tank.
On the surface, John mirrors Colin’s movements with a deft hand, maneuvering the skiff easily and efficiently against shifting wind and tide, while tracking Colin’s active buoy, indicating where he is filling bags, and passive buoys that mark full bags that need to be hauled up into the boat.
John always has his eye to the surface, watching bubbles indicating where Colin is working, noting the swirl of the current, and knows exactly when to drop a new bag for Colin to make the transition from full bag to empty bag as smooth as possible. He idles and makes micro adjustments in the wheel simultaneously using a gaff to keep multiple buoy lines free of tangling with each other or the prop of the skiff, never more than a few feet away should Colin need assistance. They work in tandem this way for hours on the river, small movements, constant adjustment, a give and take.
We believe that it is the care that we take with these processes and the relationships that are formed out of them that make Glidden Point special. Diving for oysters, while not always the most efficient harvest method, is woven deep into the fabric of Glidden Point from our beginnings in 1987.
This spring, we have been diving on our beds and getting ready for the upcoming season. Spoiler alert, the oysters look GOOD, are we relieved? Yeah. Because although you say a little prayer when sprinkling hundreds of thousands of oysters into the ripping river current, you never quite know what you’re going to find the next year. We are so excited to share this year’s Glidden Points with you soon, stay tuned.