STONINGTON — Dozens of lobster boats gathered off Greenhead on foggy Deer Island Thorofare Sunday morning to remember and pay tribute to “Uncle” Andrew Gove.
A fisherman for 82 years, Gove retired from the sea last year at the age of 89 and died late last month at the age of 90.
The fog was so thick Sunday morning that it was hard to tell exactly how many boats took part in the tribute, but one estimate was that as many as 50 were on hand. In addition to boats from Stonington, boats came from nearby harbors on the Blue Hill Peninsula and from as far away as Searsport, Vinalhaven and North Haven, home to many of Gove’s relatives.
The procession of boats gathered off Billings Diesel & Marine, then slowly followed the lobster boat Miss Katie, formerly Gove’s Uncle’s U.F.O, with his widow, Rose, and other members of the family to a spot between Two Bush Island and Stonington’s inner harbor. Members of the Gove family went ashore by skiff and laid a wreath at the foot of the flagpole on the island.
Mike Shepard, a fisherman and minister from Stonington, led a prayer from aboard the lobster boat Alexsa Rose, then the fleet offered a “nine-blast salute” with their boat horns, augmented by the sound of horns sounded by spectators ashore.
Following the salute, the boats motored slowly past the Miss Katie in a show of respect for Gove’s widow; then many passed by the town dock to participate in “blessing of the fleet” by Shepard.
“From the feedback I have received, everyone thought it went well, was very fitting and that Andy would have been pleased,” Julie Eaton, a Stonington lobster fisherman who helped organize the tribute, said in message Sunday evening.