PHOTO GALLERY: Summer arrives sooner at First Light

Jun 25, 2019 | A Day in Photos

First Light Boatworks has recently welcomed miniature tenants from A.R.C. Hatchery. Christine Walsh Sanders Photography

If you ask Paul Wittenstein what he likes about shellfish, he will talk about colors.

You may find Wittenstein’s response puzzling. Don’t they all look the same?

No, color variation is expansive, says the hatchery manager at A.R.C. Hatchery in Dennis. And A.R.C. adds to it by breeding shellfish with tones and lines to make them stand out. Appreciating that beauty puts Wittenstein in his element at A.R.C.’s upweller, a shellfish nursery on Mill Pond, Chatham.

Baby shellfish are just steps away from craftsmen using antique tools to create wooden boats, boats that take time and care to build, beautiful boats.

A.R.C. grows millions of shellfish to supply growers and towns on the Cape and beyond, and had an upweller on Stage Harbor for close to 30 years. It grew seed faster than the hatchery’s headquarters on Cape Cod Bay because Nantucket Sound warms up about a month earlier.

When the Stage Harbor Yacht Club needed the space to expand its activities, A.R.C. scoured the Cape looking for the perfect site. They finally found it at First Light Boatworks and Marine Railway and the relationship was captured by photographer Christine Walsh Sanders. 


These pipes at First Light Boatworks carry water from the warm Nantucket Sound to baby shellfish.

Kendall Sarapas, Dave Mullins and Paul Wittenstein check out the progress of shellfish seed at First Light Boatworks.

Staff at A.R.C. spent a lot of time looking for a satellite site and found the perfect one in the Old Village in Chatham.

First Light Boatworks carries on a storied tradition of crafting wooden boats by hand.

Jim Donovan, the grandson of Captain Fred Bennett, built his first boat when he was 14.

A.R.C. grows millions of baby shellfish and quickly runs out of room at its headquarters in Dennis.

The boats at First Light capture the scene around them.

Paul Wittenstein, the nursery manager at A.R.C, finds beauty in individual shellfish.




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