Finding lobster or items related to Maine’s largest commercial fishery in Bangor is not that unusual — as long as you’re talking about Bangor, Maine.
Finding such items in Bangor, Wales, however — as in next to England, part of the United Kingdom — is a little different.
Fresh on the heels of a trans-Atlantic squabble over the importation of homarus americanus to Europe — which Swedish officials say has resulted in the North American species “invading” their coastal waters — news is getting around that a piece of lobster equipment from Maine has made a similar trip.
Last month, a man posted two photos on a British beachcombing Facebook page of a crate from Atwood Lobster, based in Spruce Head, Maine. The crate was found, according to the post, on the shore of Menai Strait, which separates the island of Angelsey from mainland Wales. Bangor, Wales, a city of about 18,000, lies on the eastern shore of the strait.
Atwood officials saw the photos and shared them on their Facebook page, noting that the crate is “one we won’t be getting back.”
There are literally tons of objects and debris that wind up in the ocean and cross from one continent to another, but very little of it gets traced back to its point or origin.
Two years ago, a still-sealed bottle of Maine-made buttermilk washed up on the northwest coast of Scotland. There are scores of accounts of people putting written notes in bottles and then throwing them into the sea, hoping to hear of when and where they make landfall.
Aside from bottled messages intentionally cast adrift, there are other foreign objects that have been found on the Maine shore. I know of at least two such things (though there probably are many more) that have generated public interest and published accounts of their finding.
One is the Goddard Coin, an 11th Century Norse coin unearthed at a native American archaeological site at Naskeag Point in Brooklin, but the authenticity of which has been questioned.
The other is a yellow duck bath toy that was found in 2003 on Gooch’s Beach in Kennebunk. The duck, detailed in Donovan Hohn’s 2011 book “Moby Duck,” may have come from a shipping container that fell off a cargo ship as it crossed the Pacific Ocean in January 1992.
I enjoy hearing about and reading up on these kinds of accidental imports. If you have a story about an object of interest from away that has washed up in Maine, or something from Maine that has washed up on foreign soil, fill me in on the details by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.