Thursday, December 09, 2010

The Shore Shack

When you were a kid, were you ever told not to talk to strangers? I suppose it’s a blanket rule that has some usefulness for a child who is unable to see the difference between friend or foe, but it’s a message that stays ingrained in us for a long time after we are old enough to make our own judgements.
rainforest HDRWhile we were digging for clams on the beach, we started chatting with Bev and Marty, who were camping at the next site. They were obviously experienced clammers, and shared plenty of information about how to find, clean, and cook the little buggers. When they heard that we were heading up the coast to camp for a few more days while Elise and Jason headed back to Seattle, they invited us to stop at their house along the way and stay for the night.
That night we camped in a rain forest! We arrived after dark so didn’t realise it until the next morning, but it was wet wet wet. Everything was covered in moss, and water was dripping from the trees even though it hadn’t rained.

The next day we drove around the Olympic Peninsula, stopping off in Forks, where those Vampire stories are set. We didn’t see any vampires or werewolves though, or any underfed starlets—just a few cars full of people who wish they were one of the above.
We also stopped at Crescent Lake:
WA - Crescent lake HDR
Eventually we arrived at Bev and Marty’s house, which they call the ‘Shore Shack’. Here is their beautiful view:
shore shack viewWe spent the evening sitting by the fire, drinking wine, talking about fishing, and playing with their dogs Bosco and Herbie. Bev’s kids called a couple of times to make sure we weren’t dangerous wackos, and that everyone was safe.
So let’s talk about fishing: Marty is a serious fisherman! He builds and repairs fly rods, teaches fly tying, and can tell you anything you wanted to know about how to catch a big one. He and Bev have perfected the art of storing their catch so that it can be enjoyed throughout the year: they eat it fresh, vacuum seal it, freeze it, smoke it, pickle it, everything!
On Tuesday they took us out in their boat to catch Dungeness crabs. Here are Bev and Marty, not finding as many crabs as expected in their traps:
crab fishing
crab condo
Luckily, their marina is part of a great community of (mostly) retired fishing enthusiasts who all look after each other and make sure that everyone’s got plenty of fresh seafood. Here is one of their neighbour’s crab condos, full of them!

oyster catchAs if taking home 10 crabs wasn’t enough, we also collected fresh oysters from the beach in front of the Shore Shack. I’m pretty sure heaven is something like this!

cooking crabs  open oystershucking
We learned to clean and cook the crabs and shuck the oysters.

Testing—the most important step in the process!
We enjoyed an enormous feast for dinner.
In the morning we were sent away with more crabs, smoked salmon, pickled salmon, and Bev’s home grown cucumber pickles. We ate a big breakfast together, then hit the road again.
As we travel around, I am repeatedly struck by the good things that come into your life if you are open to the unexpected. We’ve met some excellent people, from the train engineers, to a U2 spy plane pilot, to Rabbi Bradley, to Bev, Marty, Bosco, and Herbie. Here’s the moral of the story: talk to strangers! You never know what fun, kind, generous people you might come across. Before long you will realise they have become your friends…

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