You probably know that Maine lobster is famous the world over for their rich, delicious flavor, and fresh lobster is often one of the first things visitors seek out when they arrive on the Maine coast. What you may not know, though, is that the lobster that ends up on your plate takes 5-6 years to develop into a legal size, due to the cold waters in the gulf of Maine. You might also be surprised to find out that the high quality of lobster coming from Maine is thanks to the varied and nutritious food that is poured into its gulf from Arctic currents (and is also the reason whales travel up to feed for the summer)!
Captain John Nicolai, who everyone knows locally as “Captain John,” can tell you that and a whole lot more. In fact, he knows practically everything there is to know about lobsters, lobstering, and Maine’s iconic lobster industry. In many fishery circles, they call him the lobster expert.
Captain John looks like many other salty Maine lobstermen – all the way down to his rubber orange Grundens. He spent years piloting a lobster boat, but he quickly realized that there was not a good opportunity for people to get a glimpse into the lobstering way of life, which would help to preserve its history and honor its traditions. More importantly, he figured that teaching would help spread the word of the impact preserving Maine’s lobster population would have on fellow Mainers, and the country as a whole.
So, he taught. From late spring into early fall, Captain John would take people onto the waters off Bar Harbor in Lulu, his boat, to show them how to lobster. Between hauling traps, checking the size of each lobster, and banding their claws, Captain John would talk to his passengers about all things lobster. Guests got the opportunity to experience all aspects of the lobstering process.
Captain John’s enthusiasm, sense of humor, and knowledge of Maine coast lore made trips on Lulu exciting and fun. Captain John has run his educational tours in the Downeast region of Maine since 1998, and hosted more than 100,000 visitors from around the world. He has also been featured many times in the national and international media, including the CBS Morning Show, the Food Network, the Travel Channel, PBS, the Outdoor Channel, the Outdoor Living Network, ITV (Irish Television), TF1 (French Television), Japanese television and CCTV (Chinese television), to name just a few. Lulu Lobster Boat Ride was given the 2015 Editors’ Choice Award by Yankee Magazine as being the best Lobster Boat Cruise in New England.
The key to Captain John’s success and the respect of local lobstermen, historians, and marine biologists, is his need to be both authentic and accurate. Even as he teaches, he continues to learn more through close relationships with scientists and fellow lobstermen alike.
Although he no longer takes visitors into Frenchman Bay, Captain John has seen a growing need to bring the story of Maine’s lobster fishery to people across the nation. He believes promoting Maine lobster and fisheries starts by educating people – from academia, culinary institute students and conservation advocates, to seafood lovers and health-minded consumers, to those who just plain like a great story.
Thus, Lobster Talk was born.
Captain John’s respect, passion and love for Maine’s iconic fishery has always been felt by his passengers on Lulu. His work as a professional speaker is no different. Whether he is on his boat or at a conference, Captain John packs as much information he can into the time with his audience – delivered with a good dose of Maine humor, to boot.
Contact us to find out how you can help bring entertainment and education to your event with one of Captain John’s presentations!