FishOn: Dredge equipment coming in this week

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Imperial Wars Museum/Courtesy photoBritish U class submarine HMS Urge underway. The Urge and its crew went missing in 1942. The wreck was recently found off Malta, and the site will be declared an official war grave.

Posted November 12, 2019

So, your loyal FishOn correspondents were in attendance Friday when, as you may have read in the Saturday editions of this here newspaper, and online at, Gov. Charlie Baker traveled to Gloucester to share in the joy that is the dredging of the Annisquam River.

Say this for the gov: He’s a tall one, topping out at 6-foot-6. That must be nice for him because as we all know, history only remembers the tall. You say, what about Napoleon Bonaparte? We say, who dat?

You can also say this about Baker: the governor can draw a crowd. Coast Guard Station Gloucester galley was packed to the gills with local elected officials, City Hall staff, fishermen and stakeholders, staff from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Coast Guard brass and, we believe, all of the surviving members of the Traveling Wilburys.

Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito were invited by Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken to help the city take a victory lap after they helped rescue the critical $7.85 million dredging project with an emergency $2.4 million state grant needed to plug a shortfall when the bid process went sideways.

Now the project moves forward to everyone’s obvious relief.

Maj. Mark Gillman of the Army Corps told us the actual dredge and other equipment is set to arrive here this week, and work will commence on the first large-scale dredging of the federal channel since 1963.

State Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr referenced that very date in his remarks when he spoke about how long the city has endeavored to get the vital waterways dredged again for safety and economic reasons.

“I was born in 1964 at Addison Gilbert Hospital,” Tarr said. “I looked out the window and said, ‘We have to get working on dredging the Annisquam again’.”

Seek and ye shall find . . . something

It’s always nice to find what you’re seeking, whether it’s love, salvation or that ever-elusive fifth Keno number. But every now and then, you go searching for something and find something else that might have been best left unfound.

Let’s go to Norway, where divers recently were returning from a dive on a World War II shipwreck when they encountered a “translucent orb” floating about 50 feet off the ocean bottom.

The blob, according to the Daily Mail newspaper of Great Britain, was as big as the divers — sort of like that big ball that hopped across the water in the ’60s TV show, “The Prisoner” — and composed of some sort of tissue-like material.

Strange, right? You have no idea.

The blob was a massive squid egg sack. Insert your own retch here.

“In the two-and-a-half minute recording of the encounter, divers Ronald Raasch and Nils Baadnes can be seen curiously circling the enormous ball, which appeared translucent in the cloudy water,” according to the story posted on the allthatsinteresting website. “As they inspected the orb closer, they shined their flashlights onto the surface of the object’s interior — illuminating the silhouettes of the swarms of tiny, maggot-like creatures wriggling around inside. The egg sack was likely carrying thousands of baby squids.”

This only gives credence to our egg phobia, as detailed in last week’s FishOn — and for which we were poached by citizens of the thin-shelled Egg Nation. Apparently there is no yolking around with them.

Curb the Urge

Speaking of discoveries, marine archaeologists recently discovered the shipwreck of a British submarine that vanished somewhere in the Mediterranean Sea during World War II.

According to a story in the New York Post, the HMS Urge was headed for Alexandria, Egypt, in 1942 when it went missing along with its crew of 44.

“The Urge set sail on April 27, 1942, carrying a 32-strong crew, 11 other naval personnel and a journalist,” the Post story recounted.

Researchers found the Urge lying on the seabed off of Malta and said it was in remarkable condition.

“Damage to the bow shows a very violent explosion, indicating that the ship would have sunk very fast, giving no chance for anybody to survive from this tragedy,” said Timmy Gabin, the professor at the University of Malta who led the search told Television Malta. “Besides the damage on the bow, the wreck is in absolutely fantastic condition. It is still sitting upright on the seabed, very proud, in the direction it was ordered to take on its way to Alexandria.”

The site will be declared an official war grave.

Advise and consent

We here at FishOn can barely run our own lives, so we generally can use all the advice we can get. That doesn’t mean we necessarily take it. In fact, the title to our soon-to-be-released memoir is “Should’ve. Didn’t.”

The nice folks at the Stellwagen Bank Marine Sanctuary have an advisory council to counsel the sanctuary superintendent and ensure public participation in the management of the sanctuary. They are looking to fill three primary seats and four alternate slots.

They are accepting applications for business industry (alternate), conservation (primary), education (primary), marine transportation (primary and alternate), recreational fishing (primary) and whale watch (alternative).

Completed applications, available at the sanctuary website (, are due by Nov. 30.

Feel like telling someone how things should be? Here’s your chance.

As always, no fish were harmed in the making of this column.

Contact Sean Horgan at 978-675-2714, or Follow him on Twitter at @SeanGDT.