There are many things I have wanted to do this winter, such as go on a seal watch, and see some of the ice boating in Old Lyme. One activity that never crossed my mind was to deliver paychecks to the oyster boats southeast of the Norwalk Islands. That all changed this week.
On Friday I stopped by the Norman Bloom Shellfish Company in East Norwalk to look at some of the old oyster boats. I asked permission at the office before walking the dock to an old sloop named Hope, which is believed to be the oldest remaining Long Island Sound oyster sloop. About ten minutes later, from the corner of my eye, I spotted a man walking down the dock. It was clear to me that this was not someone who had left some tools aboard a boat, or was out for a casual walk. I was his destination. I pretended I didn't see him and quickly began memorizing a few lines about how I had been given permission.
I couldn't have been more wrong! As his footsteps grew louder I heard him call out to me asking if I would like to see some more boats. He needed to deliver some paychecks to the crews from Bridgeport working outside the harbor. Caught completely off guard, I told him I wasn't properly dressed to be out on the water in February. "You'll be fine" he said. "We'll only be out for a half hour or so". I would be able to take some pictures of the boats in action, and besides, he could use a hand.
Moments later, we were tossing the lines from the dock and making our way across a thin sheet of harbor ice. I introduced myself and told him a quick line or two about Soundbounder. He said his name was Norm. "Norman Bloom?" I asked.
"Yeah, that's me", he answered back.
(More To Follow)
Norm Bloom & Sons
Soundbounder: I Love It Out Here This Time Of Year (part two)
Soundbounder: Mary Colman (part three)
Soundbounder: Lifting The Dredge (part four)