And the road goes on forever...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Boat Camping the Beach

The day dawned beautiful and promised to reach 57 degrees as we towed the boat down to pick up dead tuna heads on our way to launch. We were on our way for a night of beach camping and figured we’d get in some crabbing as well.

Things didn’t go quite as planned right off the bat, as Marc slipped off the trailer tongue unloading the boat, wrenching his knee and falling in the water. I could tell he was in a great deal of pain but he said he was all right, so we launched our fully laden boat. The wind was mild as we crossed the bay but by the time we investigated a couple of areas it was nearly 1 p.m. before we tied off the boat on a lovely stretch of “all to ourselves” beach on the North Spit and I started to unload. Marc hobbled to shore and proceeded to get rid of some berry vines in our campsite. Together we erected the tent and he pumped up the air mattresses as I continued to slog stuff back and forth from boat to beach. Whew, tent camping is a lot of work!

The afternoon could not have been prettier as we relaxed in our chairs, Marc wrapped in a sleeping bag due to his wet clothing. We hadn’t brought a change. By the time we had some drinks and snacks it was really too late to crab plus the tide was going out quickly, so we recorded the progress in a series of photographs as our boat looked more and more like a beached whale. We were truly marooned now. Like magic, over the course of less than ten minutes, wispy wads of fog drifted in from seaward and soon encased us in a cocoon of grey.

It was time to start a fire.

While Marc was busy with the fire I decided to see if I could scare up some rock crab hiding in the sea grass—they often dig into the mud and hide as the tide goes out but none were to be found today.

Marc and I snuggled in front of the fire as we watched the pelicans feed and the fog bleach all color from the day and the beach.

Throughout the night as I would drift in and out of sleep I heard the constant roar of the ocean breakers on the beach across the spit. Also the drip, drip, drip of the condensation formed from the fog off the small coast pine right above our tent. One lulled, one nagged. Oh well, sleeping on the ground has been worse. We awoke to a fresh world of rosy grey light, heavy scents in moist air, and the sight of the boat running horizontal on the beach instead of perpendicular to it as we had left her the night before. The smell of the percolating coffee finally roused us to bedroom conversation as we stayed wrapped in the sleeping bags against the chill. Finally, it was time to think about the big pack-up in time to meet the incoming tide which we hoped would be high enough not to leave us stranded another twelve hours. Success; with Marc’s prodding, we floated free.

Crabbing on the way back, we managed to land one Dungeness and four smaller rock crab for our dinner. The boat rocked and rolled with the heavier seas today and water spray soaked all that we carried in the bow. Back home, it was a big clean-up process. Have I said how much work tent camping is?

One of the delights of the trip was watching the bird life; especially the big gathering of pelicans who fished right at our doorstep.

Despite being a lot of work for a short period of time, it was hours spent in refreshment of spirit; in a world all to ourselves, marooned in our thoughts and feelings for each other. Only a bay away from ordinary life…yet a sensory world unto itself.