Life on the Water


“…we have salt in our blood,
in our sweat, in our tears.
We are tied to the ocean.
And when we go back to the sea…
we are from whence we came.”
– John F. Kennedy, 1962


I come from a small coastal town in Downeast Maine where many peoples’ lives revolve around the changing of the tide. Clams, lobsters, periwinkles, eels, scallops, and urchins are harvested throughout the year. Anyone who has ever had a family member on the water knows the chilling, eerie feeling that comes with every gust of wind or sign of storm.

The feeling isn’t unjustified as there have been 43 commercial fishermen lost at sea since 1993. With each devastating loss, the tight knit fishing communities of Eastern Maine are shaken.

Fish7The terrifying part of living in a fishing community is that most crews working on boats are part of the same family or close knit group of friends. Fathers work with sons, brothers work with brothers, neighbors work with neighbors. There is no fishing related accident that doesn’t hit too close to home. In the aftermath it’s impossible to push away the worrisome thought “it could’ve been my brother, husband, father, uncle, etc”.


When I went home to visit for Christmas, my mom and I drove to Pembroke to try to catch a glimpse of my Fish5brother and uncle dragging scallops. We walked an unplowed road that led to a beach, and stopped to listen to the low rumble of the motors and the distant hollering of the fishermen. We were able to catch a tiny glimpse of one of the many ways of life in Downeast Maine. Here’s to a safe fishing season in 2014!



Rianne Ackley

About Rianne Ackley

I grew up in Downeast Maine but have recently relocated to the North Woods. I live in Clayton Lake where I am a stay at home Mom to two beautifully wild little boys and wife to a Maine State Game Warden. I am a lover of the simple things in life...a good book, a song, a rainy day, a bowl of white popcorn, etc. I have a slight obsession with all things food. Love cooking it, eating it, looking at it, smelling it, reading about it, etc. I am a firm believer that life is what you make it.