It was a little after 10:30 a.m. Saturday, and hauling lobster traps was off to a slow start for Meghan LaPlante and her father, but within minutes, the two would make a rare and exciting catch - a vibrant, sapphire-blue lobster.
"I've never seen one before," Meghan LaPlante said, adding that her father, Jay LaPlante, had never seen one either. "It was exciting."
The two were at Pine Point, near Scarborough, Maine, when they caught the prized, sapphire crustacean.
LaPlante, now 14 years old, has been trapping lobster for more than six years. Under a student-commercial license, she now has 150 traps and will have 300 by the summer of 2015.
(Photo/Miss Meghan's Lobster Catch)
Her father, Jay, and mother, Renee, along with her younger brother, Zachary, all help operate the family business, Miss Meghan's Lobster Catch company, located in Old Orchard Beach, Maine.
"This was the first time any of us had seen this," Renee LaPlante said.
The blue color is a result of a genetic defect, but blue lobsters are not the rarest of nature's anomalies.
While typical lobsters are often a brown or greenish color, others can be bright red (uncooked), calico, multi-colored, orange and even albino, which is likely the rarest of all lobster shades.
"They're rare, but we still see them every summer," University of Maine Lobster Institute Executive Director Robert C. Bayer said. "We see around three to four a year."
Bayer said there is still much unknown about the number of lobsters, but according to some estimates, only one out of two million lobsters is blue.
"No one really knows the frequency of it, but I would say albino lobsters are the rarest in my experience," Bayer said, adding that he has been studying lobsters for 35 years.
The blue lobster, named "Skyler" by Meghan, will be donated to the Maine State Aquarium, so that others can view and enjoy the rare sight.
"We have this tank, so we brought it back and it is now kind of separate from the other lobsters," LaPlante said, adding that the lobster is to be transferred to the aquarium.
Maine State Aquarium spokeswoman Elaine Jones said, judging from the picture, LaPlante's lobster is the most brilliant blue she has ever seen.
The aquarium currently houses other rare lobsters including several blue lobsters, a calico, spotted lobster, a bright orange one, ones with multiple colors, split down the middle and a rare, white lobster.
(Photo/Miss Meghan's Lobster Catch)
"This one is very, very vibrant," she said.
Providing awareness and education of the indigenous aquatic species of the Gulf of Maine is the aquarium's main goal, Jones said.
Skyler's departure from the LaPlante family has placed the blue crustacean in a new home in West Boothbay Harbor, Maine.
Following a fast-moving storm which brought another round of wintry weather earlier in the week, drier weather and warmth will build in the Cleveland area before temperatures sink once again for the weekend.
Residents in Detroit can expect a brief warmup late this week before colder conditions return for Easter weekend.
Another round of strong winds will howl across northern Europe through Tuesday.
Another storm system will bring more heavy rain and flooding to northern Pakistan and India this week.
While portions of the mid-Atlantic have enjoyed a day or two of spring warmth in March, most of New York and New England will finally break out of the persistent winter chill.
A pattern change during the middle of April could bring rain and cooler conditions to California, while erasing persistent chill in the Northeast.
New Jersey (1998)
Height of streak of 5 consecutive days with highs at or above 80 degrees in most of the state. 86 degree on the date set a record at Newark; 89 degrees in Morristown set a monthly record for March and 87 degrees at the Atlantic City Airport tied the all-time March record set initially in 1945.
Great Northeastern snowstorm with hurricane winds from PA to ME. Severest in NJ; many trees uprooted, heavy snow inland, high tides on coast. Barometer at Nantucket 28.83"/97.6kp: 18" of snow at Boston; 24" at Providence. (Easter Sunday).
New York City, NY (1835)
"Most furious storm in 20 years .... Snow rollers were seen in Battery Park when natural snowballs, formed when a strong gusty wind blows over a moist snow surface, were pushed along by the wind until they grew to a 24-inch diameter. At this point, they became too heavy and were left to dot Battery Park like so many boulders in a New England hayfield". (New York Post)