The normally bustling docks along New Bedford harbor were practically deserted Tuesday as an arctic cold front kept some boats off the water.
On one pier, a deckhand heaved a sledge hammer against the ice-caked roof of the Gabby G, a fishing boat on the New Bedford pier. Ice covered practically every exposed surface of this 105-foot dragger.
The boat’s captain, Mario Gonsalves, said he wanted to get another run in before a snow storm that’s predicted to hit Thursday. But first, the crew had to de-ice the boat.
“You’re seeing a lot of ice build-up from spray from the ocean,’’ he said. “The boat goes up and down and the spray from the waves…just freeze(s) instantly, almost. This is what happens when you fish and it’s really cold out.’’
Gonsalves and his five-member crew fish for squid and whiting, also known as Silver Hake. Once they catch the fish they store them in boxes with packing ice – not to keep the fish cold, he said, but to stop them from freezing.
“We’re putting ice on the fish boxes just to keep the fish warm from freezing, never mind keeping them cold,’’ he said. “We’re just trying to keep them warm by insulating them with ice. Unfortunately, that’s what they’re doing now because as you can see here everything’s all frozen up.”
Gonsalves said it would take about two hours to de-ice the boat before they could set out to sea.
Their catch was bound for The Fulton Fish Market in New York City.