According to the Web site wordorigins.org, “Scuttlebutt is an early 19th century nautical term for an open cask of water kept on deck for use by the crew. The term comes from scuttle – to cut a hole in – and butt – a large cask. Sailors would gather about the cask and trade stories and gossip, much like modern office workers do at the water cooler or coffee pot. By the turn of the 20th century, American sailors began using the term scuttlebutt to refer to these sea stories and gossip. Eventually the term became associated with any gossip or rumor.”

Talk on Arctic explorer at Sail, Power and Steam Museum

ROCKLAND — The Sail, Power and Steam Museum will host a talk on Arctic explorer Donald Baxter MacMillan by his biographer Mary Morton Cowan on Friday, Oct. 1 at 7 p.m.

Cowan’s book, “Captain Mac,” is the life story of the man who explored and researched the eastern Arctic and sub Arctic for nearly 50 years, much of it aboard the little schooner Bowdoin.

“Captain Mac” relates the story of a remarkable man who spent nearly 50 years exploring the Arctic. Growing up near the ocean, and orphaned by 12, MacMillan forged an adventurous life. The book features the vital role he played in Robert Peary’s North Pole Expedition, a four-year-long expedition that proved there is no land near the North Pole. An expedition he led in 1925 pioneered the use of radio and aircraft in Arctic exploration.

MacMillan’s connection to Maine is well known. The schooner Bowdoin is now at the Maine Maritime Academy. Cowan used the extensive archives of MacMillan’s papers at Bowdoin College for her research. The Sail, Power and Steam Museum showcases photos by Capt. Jim Sharp of the Bowdoin undergoing repair and a number of MacMillan artifacts.

The talk is free but donations are always appreciated.

Sharp’s Point South and the Sail, Power and Steam Museum are at 75 Mechanic St. in Rockland. For more information call 701-7627, e-mail spsllc09@yahoo.com or visit sailpowersteam.org.

Island Institute fellows start work

ROCKLAND — Eight new Island Fellows have joined three second-year fellows to work on local projects in year-round island and working-waterfront communities from Down East to Casco Bay. These college and master’s-level graduates will help move efforts forward in schools, historical societies, town offices, community centers and other nonprofit organizations during the coming year. They include:

  • Alexandria Brasili, the Louis W. Cabot Fellow at the Herring Gut Learning Center in Port Clyde
  • Amanda Poyant, the Deer Isle/Stonington Fellow, working with the local elementary school and the community center
  • Anne Bardaglio, the William Bingham Fellow for Rural Education, assisting teachers on Matinicus, Monhegan, Isle au Haut, Islesford and Cliff islands
  • Ben Odgren, serving as the Island Scholars Network Fellow based in Rockland
  • Birgitta Polson, the new Community Energy Fellow, also based in Rockland, supporting efforts by communities along the Maine Coast to find solutions to their energy challenges
  • Caitlin Gerber, the Willoughby Stuart Fellow, working with the recreation center, school and childcare center on Chebeague Island
  • James Westhafer, the new Islesboro Technology Education Fellow, assisting the Islesboro School and the town of Islesboro with technology projects
  • Jessica Bellah, the Frenchboro Town Planning Fellow, working with the board of selectmen
  • Laura Bolton, the Great Cranberry Island Historical Preservation Fellow
  • Margaret Snell, the James and Joanne Cooney Fellow on Isle au Haut, working with the comprehensive planning committee
  • Meghan Vigeant, continuing as the Swan’s Island Historical Preservation Fellow

Since 1999, nearly 80 Island Fellows have spent their one- to two-year placements helping to ensure that Maine’s year-round islands and remote coastal communities remain vibrant places to live, work and educate children. Program support comes from Americorps, private and corporate foundations, and individual donors. For more information on the Island Fellows program, visit islandinstitute.org/islandfellows or contact Christine Wolff, community service director, at cwolff@islandinstitute.org or 594-9209 ext. 102.

Yacht clubs support trap recovery program

NORTHEAST HARBOR — On Aug. 11, at a dinner at Morris Yachts in Northeast Harbor, the Gulf of Maine Lobster Foundation was presented with checks for more than $6,000 from several yacht clubs to support the GOMLF Derelict Lobster Gear Retrieval, Salvage and Disposal program. The occasion was a dinner for the New York Yacht Club’s Annual Cruise, attended by nearly 400 sailors.

The New York Yacht Club initiated the gift as an expression of its appreciation of the lobster industry and lobstermen of Maine. Commodore Bob Johnstone of the Northeast Harbor fleet was instrumental in getting further participation in the gift from sailors from Down East Race Week, the Kollegewidgwok Yacht Club of Blue Hill, The Northeast Harbor Fleet and the Eastern Yacht Club of Marblehead, Mass.

Laura Ludwig, project director for GOMLF, and Islesford lobsterman Bruce Fernald, a participant in the gear recovery project, were present to receive the contribution. Ludwig said this support from recreational boaters, working together with commercial fishermen to retrieve lost gear, was an unprecedented collaboration. Johnstone and New York Yacht Club Commodore David Elwell joined them in expressing hope that similar cooperative efforts would emerge in the future.

Sailboats are among the many vessels along the Maine Coast that tangle with lobster gear, resulting in lost traps and added expense for lobstermen. GOMLF’s two-year gear recovery program, primarily funded through the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, hires lobstermen to retrieve lost, submerged traps, many of which are no longer useable, by towing grapples across the ocean bottom in winter, in heavily fished and traversed areas after active traps have been pulled for the season.

During the 2010 gear recovery effort, more than 1,000 traps were recovered by 27 fishing vessels from the three eastern-most lobster zones. GOMLF will recover gear in the four remaining lobster zones during the upcoming winter, and the yacht club contribution will allow GOMLF to hire six additional boats to work in Down East areas frequented by the sailing fleet.

The foundation is prepared to expand the “ghost trap” program to other waters and welcomes tax-deductible contributions from the recreational boating community to support work in their areas. For more information, contact laura@gomlf.org or call 985-8088.