The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #65456   Message #1087311
Posted By: Charley Noble
06-Jan-04 - 04:33 PM
Thread Name: Song Challenge: Barbie Lobster Tale
Subject: RE: SONG CHALLENGE: Barbie Lobster Tale
Guest Hugh-

You're logically right.*BG* But this is Mudcat and only time will tell when a thread will die...

However, some are still curious about the origin and the lurid details of this story. Here is the earliest printed version I've unearthed, prior to the AP version:

Mount Desert Islander (monthly newspaper), 12/18/03
By Lauren Gifford

'Barbie' lobster is making the rounds

CRANBERRY ISLES – There's something strange lurking on the bottom of the ocean. It has sharp claws, a tough exo-skeleton and wears a tiny pair of pink plastic high heels. It's a 1.25-pound mature female lobster fishermen here have named Barbie, after the popular fashion doll whose clothes she wears.

Barbie has caused quite a stir over the last two months, showing up in traps from Baker's Island to Mount Desert Rock, each time causing a flurry of chatter over the fishermen's radios.

Barbie originally was caught in late September about a mile off Baker's Island by Jim Bright of Islesford and his sternman, Chris Costello. The two had planned to dress up a jumbo lobster and place it in a friend's trap for a few laughs. Mr. Costello, however, showed up for work with a Barbie doll outfit so small it could only fit on a regulation lobster.

Once she was dressed in the blue blouse, red and white checkered skirt and high heels, the men placed the lobster in one of Mark Fernald's traps, a few miles out to sea, west of where Mr. Bright and Mr. Costello first picked her up.

Mr. Fernald found the lobster in September. He was surprised when he first saw her but knew right away it was a joke by one of his friends. He threw her back, wardrobe and all, hoping other fishermen would catch her and get a chuckle. In all, Barbie has been caught about 10 times. Mr. Fernald even caught her two months later about seven miles inside Mount Desert Rock, he said.

While hauling about five miles south of Baker's Island on Nov. 17, Ted Spurling of Cranberry Isles pulled up a trap with Barbie in it. A few days later Steve Philbrook of Islesford caught her about 10 miles south of Baker's Island. "She looked like she had been ravaged several times," said Mr. Philbrook. Her blue blouse appeared to be in rough shape, but she still was wearing her pink high-heel shoes. She had lost her skirt.

Other lobstermen have caught Barbie and tossed her back to keep the gag going. It has been reported that Bruce Fernald of Islesford, Robert Higgins of Southwest Harbor and Todd Goodell of Bar Harbor have hauled her up.

Barbie is not the first time fisherman have had fun with catching the same lobster. It is common to find a large lobster with initials and a date carved in its shell or one with a rubber band on its tail, said Mr. Spurling.

For Mr. Bright, marking lobsters has brought more than a few laughs. "I think it's interesting to see how much they trap," he said.

Like the rest of the lobster population in the Gulf of Maine, Barbie was moving fast during November, a big feeding month when the crustaceans move into deeper water in search of food. It was during that time when several fishermen caught her in succession.

Barbie has not been caught for a few weeks. Fishermen are pulling up their traps for the winter and Barbie has lost most of her outfit so it's likely she will not be recognizable.

"Last I heard," said Mr. Spurling, "the heels were gone but she still had the top."

Stay tuned! We'll see if we can get some closing remarks from Jim Bright and Chris Costello.

Charley Noble