And the road goes on forever...

Friday, October 31, 2008


The Grumpy J could very well be parked in our driveway as a sign and reflection of our mood rather than silently sitting at dock waiting her next turn at sea. What started as a dark morning walk soon turned to thickening rain clouds and ran us out early—we only got one lap done.

One lap; but enough time to note that the Coast Pride is getting new line strung from the big truck on shore as she hovered at the recreational dock and the Cape Fowlweather is back in port dumping her catch to the seafood factory.

The gull still sits patiently on her perch above low tide in a picture pose filled with the color grey, matching our moods.

Winter is moving to the Oregon coast. We’re still here; still waiting on Marc’s knee to heal.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Crabbing With the Dad

Our weather has been holding spectacularly this fall on the coast although the day dawned with the typical fog ceiling which lent a grey cast as we had Marc’s dad drive south from Florence to join us for crabbing. By 10 a.m. we were launched and out on the glassy bay. Several boats were already there before us, sucking up the prime closer-to-shore string line Marc prefers. “I’m in 26 feet”, I yelled back as Marc launched the first of nine pots overboard. It was time for coffee!
The big Coast Guard ship glided smoothly by as Marc got ready to pull the first pots. Since the tide was ripping in, the first pulls were not all that good. That’s ok; Marc had two buckets of dead tuna heads for bait and we had plenty of time to try again. Repositioning some of our pots, the second pull was much better. Dick took his turn at the crab puller with Marc nearby giving guidance. After lunch on the water, bobbing, and our third pull we were ready to head for the dock with 27 crabs. A great haul! Now for all the work of picking them. Thanks for coming Dick!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

More Crab?

Yes, we caught an even bigger haul on Tuesday as we launched in the morning and floated peacefully for several hours doing two full pulls of the string. The crabs were plentiful and large which was great since Marc planned to take the majority of them over to my parents and son to enjoy. He goes to Bend to get his knee checked Wednesday.

Have I talked about our weather? What a treat: clear, vividly blue skies, no fog, very little wind. Heaven on earth!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

We Sluiced Them!

Zoom…”Marc, I think this float plane looks like he’s aiming right for us.” “That’s not a float plane; it’s an ultra light” he notes as the waving pilot clears us by about 50 feet off our port side and flies on. We’re out on the bay crabbing today in mild wind and it reminds me of just one more reason why it always pays to have the camera along.

Crabbing was spectacular today; the best it has been for us all year and reminds us of how it typically used to be when we were here in 2003 and always came back with our limit. After setting the pots, Marc sets the anchor as we bob patiently waiting for the 45 minutes we allot for the crab to get trapped. When it’s time to pick them up, he is amazed with the first pull; even more amazed with the second and third. Keepers swarm the bottom of the bin as Marc sorts them. Six pots and we already have our limit and can head back. The crabs are large and full for the most part.

After washing the boat and motor, the crab get killed and then cleaned. Marc gets the large boiler going, the one he has made out of an old stainless steel beer keg. Twenty minutes later we have a mountain of crab to clean; deciding to give four to our RV park owner since they were kind enough to have invited us to dinner tomorrow night at their new home. Today’s take: retail, about $200-240. See what you’re missing?

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.