The Buck Rogers

Bay scallops are found in shallow water. When the season opens on October first, you’ll often see people hunting this prized delicacy. One of the problems to solve when scallop hunting is how to find them. When the water is dead calm, you can easily see to the bottom and locating your prey is no problem. But…when the wind is blowing, even a little bit, even wavelets distort and obscure your view of the bottom.

What’s a scallop hunter to do?

My father’s solution was to make a glass-bottomed box, made from an old piece of 1/4″ plate glass and a wooden box salvaged from a Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution trash pile. What a wonder, to float a box on the water and to see the underwater world so clearly!

My stepfather was a Martha’s Vineyard man, and it was he who told me the old Vineyard word for what some call a “peepsight”. He always called the glass-bottom box a “Buck Rogers”. Buck Rogers was science fiction character from the late 1920’s. Maybe the peepsight got its SF name because the ability to see underwater was so magical and futuristic?

Last week, Christine and I were walking along a beach in Falmouth, and saw the modern version of the Buck Rogers. This version uses a molded plastic “tote” with a clear plexiglass bottom.

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How to find and catch the wily scallop. 

Here’s the top view.

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Insert face and look about! Find that scallop. 

Another view.

Straight through.

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All hail the Buck Rogers!

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