In late winter, as the cold winds blow, the Edgartown Harbor is a quiet place, mostly populated by gulls, the Chappy ferry making its appointed rounds, and the occasional scalloper or oysterman.

John Conlon has been working the waters off Edgartown for 45 years. Con, as everyone calls him, has 10 lines in the water today, a cold one with snowflakes coming in sideways. One hand is tucked away in a thick glove, the other bare as he smokes a cigarette.

Con reaches for one of the ropes, throws it onto the pulley and hoists it up. He shakes the drag which is covered in thick seaweed then picks through the haul, moving fast as he tosses the bay scallops into a bucket.

“It doesn’t look like much but they are at least 40 cents apiece,” he says. “Maybe a little more. A lot of pretty ones today.”

He looks to shore.

“I’m going to lose my ranges soon,” he says. “Maybe just one more tow.”

Ranges are how Con sights his drags, preferring the old school method to GPS to keep track of where he is on the water. He uses the Edgartown lighthouse, harborside homes and various spots on Chappy to line up his tows, all of which are now being swallowed up by the snowstorm.

He grabs another line and pulls up the next drag. Bay scallop season is nearing a close.

“It’s nice, no one out here today. But I’ll have to go in soon. Can’t see squat anymore.”

Noah Scheffer heads out to his barge to collect some Spearpoint Oysters. — Ray Ewing

In the inner harbor, Noah Scheffer heads out to his barge to collect five bags of Spearpoint Oysters. On the water the name Scheffer is a common one. It is a family tree made out of seaweed, stretching from Edgartown to Chilmark and beyond.

Noah farms Katama Bay along with his father Roy. His partner in Spearpoint Oysters is his brother Jeremy. His other brother Isaiah is the shellfish constable in Chilmark. The list keeps going as Roy’s grandkids join the family business.

“You could say Roy was one of the first to do oyster farming on the Vineyard,” Noah says. “Him and Jack Blake and a few others.”

When Noah reaches his oyster barge he pulls five bags out of the water. There are 100 oysters in each bag. As he transfers the haul to bright purple Spearpoint Oyster bags, he listens carefully.

“Oh, there’s a dead one in there,” he says, noting a hollow sound as the oysters roll from one bag to the other. He picks through the shells and finds the bad one.

While Noah works his father Roy motors by, coming in from his own morning on the water.

“You all set Noah?”

“Yup, all good here.”

More pictures.