Matinicus Island Double-Ender (Peapod)

This double-ender (the type is not called a “peapod” on the island) was built in the 1950s on Matinicus by Merrill Young for Orren Ames, the last of the island’s lobstermen to row and haul traps by hand. Orren fished it for 20 years or so before retiring and selling the boat to the donor, a descendant of one of Matinicus’s first settlers, who bought a house on the island in the 1960s. He wanted a boat for his daughter’s use but also hoped to preserve the double-ender.

The boat is in good shape with no breaks in her carvel planking and no sister frames, indicating the care that Orren had used with her. She can not be rowed sitting down. Lobstermen commonly stood and pushed on their oars so they could see from buoy to buoy or work in and out of ledges, but other working peapods have one station for sitting and pulling and another for standing and pushing, using extended oarlocks. A removable Masonite bulkhead separates the forward area from the rest of the boat. A nice socket for a roller, still extant, makes hauling easier. Wear on the thwarts and on the side shows the work the boat has done. But the paint looks good, as if Orren had painted her before turning her over to the donor. The oars are mismatched; one is ash and worn half through, while the other is a spruce replacement which Orren had likely gotten from a summer person as it was varnished. He put a piece of fire hose on it to protect it from chafe. The standing oarlocks are also mismatched, indicating that one may have gone overboard.

When the boat was picked up Kenny Ames, son of Orren, and now Matinicus’s oldest lobsterman, was there to talk about his early days lobstering by hand. The last lobstering double-ender of Matinicus is now on display at the museum, which also owns one built by Lin Young, Merrill’s father.

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Geographic Location: 
Matinicus Island, Maine
Young, Merrill