Saturday, September 17, 2011, Sucia Island
We picked up the last available mooring ball in Shallow Bay the previous evening. As we discovered that night, there was a reason it was the last to be selected. The mooring ball is located at the entrance of Shallow Bay and exposed to winds and tides. Gretel II seemed to bang rotate around the mooring all night [Bass: some pilot error on our mooring line technique is definitely a possibility here! The three AM in-the-rain fix helped a little but not much.]. Little sleep was had but the new day dawned and it was another clear, sunny day. We made French- press coffee and enjoyed the morning in the cockpit. Doug rowed over and I jumped in his dinghy for a lesson in setting crab pots in the Pacific Northwest. Growing up I spent many summers on Long Beach Island on the New Jersey shore and I thought fresh crab was a staple in every kid’s summer. But I remember blue claws being far easier to catch in Barnegat Bay. In fact sometimes we just lowered a line with baited hooks in the water and quickly pulled it up with a few stubborn blue claws attached. Crabbing in the PNW is different. Doug and I set 2 pots in deep water, one at about 40 ft and one at about 60 ft. Doug predicted these were too deep but since we were spending the night at Shallow Bay we decided to try our luck.
After Bass and I moved Gretel II to a more protected mooring ball we all headed to shore with lunch and cameras. Doug and Amy showed us a trail along the Northern coast of Sucia to Ewing Cove. This easy three mile loop took us by tide-pools and overhanging sandstone cliffs. The island is populated by hardwoods especially a really beautiful tree, the Madrone or as Doug recalled, Arbutus Menziesii. This tree has unusual bark which sheds revealing a very smooth glistening pale greenish yellow bark underneath. The older bark is a beautiful darker red. Doug owns GardenMakers a landscape design and installation company so his dendrology knowledge is off the hook! And it was nice to explore in unfamiliar territory with a Naturalist!
We reached Ewing Cove and sea kayakers were stretched out in the sun enjoying dry land and lunch. The beach is peppered with big pieces of sun bleached drift wood, perfect for taking in the view. Across the cove on an exposed rocky reef were sea lions and seals. Some were lounging on the rocks others were vying for more space while bellowing at the circling sea birds.
Back on the boats we checked the crab pots. Nada. So Doug tossed them in again right off the bow of Gretel II. In the 15 feet of water Amy could spot crab walking toward the pot. We eventually got one and steamed it in the cockpit of Gretel II. With freshly caught crab, plenty of butter, cold beer and fun friends we proceeded into the evening no doubt making a few of our neighbors jealous!
This was one of those days you always remember in your life.
Video from Day 4 (1 mins 43 seconds) — Caution, graphic crab killing!: