When Gloucester Times photo editor Allegra Boverman headed out Thursday morning to capture photos illustrating the arrival of striped bass on Cape Ann, she never expected to find herself in, well, a bit of a quagmire.
She had simply gone to the flats off Crafts Road and the Nichols Candies shop in search of the several fishermen she had seen a bit earlier.
“I looked out and didn’t see anybody fishing anymore,” she would relate later. “So I put on my boots in case there was someone just beyond my view. I got almost to the point where they usually fish and I thought I would step down an incline that looked manageable. But when I stepped down from that spot, I sank deep into the mud.
“It went right up to above my knees,” Boverman said, once she returned safe and dry to the Times newsroom. “The more I tried to move, the worse it got — and I could hear these sucking sounds on my left hand side.”
She was about 50 yards out on Little River, a finger of the Annisquam River, behind Nichols Candies, and laden with two cameras. The mud quickly filled her almost knee-high boots, almost like wet cement, making it even more difficult to try to remove herself by rocking back and forth.
”I waited a few minutes to see if I could do something to free myself and then I called the office,” she said.
Reporter Richard Gaines, who was writing the striper fishing story, had just returned to the office, and since Gaines had his own pair of waders, Editor Ray Lamont, fielding Boverman’s call, dispatched Gaines to her aid.
Within minutes of arriving, he knew the only means of extraction would be gained by calling 911.
”I was thinking maybe it’s not an emergency, but he thought otherwise,” said Boverman, who had sunk into mud well above her knees. “I was trying to be careful and watch where I was walking.”