Saturday, August 21, 2010

Day 52 - San Juan Islands WA - Thursday, August 19, 2010

Adjacent to Thompson Trail is a ship building plant that we pass on our morning walk, and we are always in awe of 'how they do that,' of the molds they use to form the fiberglass parts, and what the various sections of the boats look like in process. 

We stop to watch them work for a time, then walk on down the path, noticing that there is a touch of Fall in the air.................53 degrees.

As we near the RV Resort at the end of our walk, we see what Crabby Lou would have looked like at low tide, had we anchored her in Fidalgo Bay, rather than put her in the slip.  There is a small boat resting on the ground; during the later part of the day as the tide comes in, it is anchored and floating. 

Today we are excitedly looking forward to the boat ride with David McKibben on his 25 C-Dory, Anna Leigh, and stop by The Market for sandwiches and water for the ice chest.  On board David has the chart book open and shows us where we are in Anacortes and which of the San Juan Islands we will go by.
This boat can go faster than Willie's Tug and I try to capture on film some of the spray she makes.  As we round the point of Cap Sante, he shows us his house high on the hill of Guemes Island.  

Now out in the  big open water, I take some time to enjoy some scenes on the Anna Leigh (named for his first granddaughter.)  U. S. Coast Guard patches from Maui and Honolulu, and a plaque commissioning the boat.

I note that on the plaque the 2003 has become 2005, as he upgrades his boat sizes a few times, all the fault of Pat Anderson.  Seems going to boat shows --just looking -- doesn't work!  When another of his friends learned of all this, his comment was, "Kaaching."

Traveling a little farther, we come to an area where there are many crab pots and David explains that this is where he has had good luck crabbing.  We watch as he prepares the cockles by tapping them with a wooden mallet to partially open them, puts them in the bait bag, and lowers a couple of crab pots into the water.

His float attached is identified by his name.  Hopefully, when we return there will be tonight's dinner in the pots.

Soon we see a boat named Reel Estate that has a steam pot going, so apparently crabbing is good today.  

When we pass Cypress Island, David tells us of a resident there, Clyde Ford, who wrote "Precious Cargo."

The largest of the islands is Orcas Island and we pass its ferry dock.  

We continue our trip on the smooth as glass water, only slightly choppy when we encounter other boats' wakes.  David is a U. S. Coast Guard captain, and we are lucky he has a free day today.  He points out the different islands by name, including Obstruction Island, which is between Orcas and Blakely in the middle of an otherwise wide strait.  Some of the smaller islands are privately owned.  There are state parks on some, with docks to tie up to, and many mooring buoys for spending a night.  

At Jones Island we see many boats of all kinds tied at the dock, someone rowing a raft, a deer feeding on land, some boats rafted together and anchored, and a few kayakers heading out.  We are not far from Canadian waters at this point.

Turning around here, we start to make our way back to Fidalgo Bay, and see a very colorful sailboat and ferry boat at another island.

I take way more pictures than I will use, and David tells me the best part is yet to come -- cleaning the crab!  He is confident there will be some in the pots -- and he is right!  Anticipation is high as Herb and David raise the pots and we are delighted to see many crab in each pot.  

There must be twelve or so all total, and he uses his wooden crafted measure to make sure they are large enough to keep.  He first checks to see if they are male by observing the shape of the abdomen; females must be thrown back.  

With his experience David quickly sees which are too small or female, and throws them overboard.  There are four nice keepers, one of which tries noisily to get out of the bucket.  

Cleaning is a quick operation for David, as he taps them with the wooden mallet to stun, then removes a side of claws and cleans the lungs away.

It is obvious that he has done this many times before, and is so fast that my camera can hardly keep up.  He is prepared with Ziplocs and shares his catch with us -- and we are pretty excited about that! He also tells me about a crab soup recipe that he got from Patty Anderson, and I make a note to talk to her about it.

After a nice afternoon on the water, we watch David turn Anna Leigh and head for his island home, and we return home for Happy Hour.

Willie of Walldog, Willie and Jake

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