Back to The Friday Harbor Oyster Hunt!
08/16/2019 - 8/17/2019 🍒
First Real Anchoring In The US
The following weekend decided to make a quick little boat trip for one night. The plan was to go to Hope Island on Saturday, for one night and be back early Sunday morning. Saturday was a beautiful day, and as we rounded the west end of Hope Island, we saw all of the State Park Mooring balls full. That happens a lot at Hope Island. No problem, we had a backup plan in our mind too. We would go a couple miles further to Cornet Bay, just inside Deception Pass. The State Park has a coupe of docks there, plus there is plenty of anchor room in the bay. The docks were nearly full, so we chose to anchor for the night. We were successful in getting the anchor to hook. Between the existing anchored boats and the crab pot buoys. This was the first place we planned to spend the night at anchor outside of the calm bays in Desolation Sound. Cornet Bay can get some current being so close to Deception Pass, but it is very protected from the wind. We relaxed all afternoon and evening.
Crab Pot Stuck Under the Boat....Plan A, B, C...
So, after breakfast we made our plans to weigh anchor and head back to the slip. With Tracy at the helm, and me on the bow, I notice a couple of crab pot buoys that are pretty close. I think we’ll be ok. We should drift away as I stow the anchor by my calculations. I was mistaken. As soon as we get the anchor off the bottom, we drift over the top of one of the buoys. Damn it. My optimistic self expects to see it pop out from under the other side. Again, I was mistaken. I tell Tracy to keep the shifter in neutral!! I come off the bow and grab the boat hook and start blindly reaching under the boat trying to find the line attached to the crab pot. After a couple minutes, I am successful. But now I am holding a line in the middle. One end has a crab pot on it the other is a buoy caught on something in the running gear under my boat. About this time, a gentleman sees me fighting with this rope, and offers to come help with his dinghy….I accept. Plan B. My thought is if he can pull the line out the other way…the buoy will come with it. Again, that didn’t work per plan. By this time, the current is drifting us closer to shore-pulling a crab pot. Back to the bow to drop the anchor. As soon as that Rocna hit the bottom, it hooked and stopped our drifting so fast I nearly fell over. So, now on to Plan C. I pull the errant crab pot up and put in the boat. There weren’t even any crabs in it!! I cut the rope off the pot and hand that end to the gentleman in the dinghy. My though this time was that if he could get to the other side of the boat, the buoy would come out the same way it went in. I was close. He was trying to get the line around my anchor line, the buoy came loose and drifted out from under cerise. Success!! We gave the gentleman in the dinghy a bottle wine for his effort. He thanked us by saying that if we had offered him cash, he would have turned it down, but he won’t turn down a bottle of wine!! So now, I have a crab pot and a coil of wet rope in the cockpit. Tracy and I pull the anchor up again and head over to the remote dock and put the offending crab pot there. The buoy had a phone number on it. I sent a text to the number explaining why his pot is on a dock and not where he left it. A few hours later, I get a reply saying thanks and he would pick it up later. So, all is well that ends well. This whole experience took about an hour to play out, but it was much better ending than if we had put the transmission on gear and required a diver.
Ferry + Shuttle + Hike Experience
This was the week after we had finished our first trip to Desolation Sound. If you have been reading our previous blog posts, then you know we still had some unfinished “Oyster Business” on San Juan Island. We still wanted to visit Westcott Shellfish and experience the oyster farm/restaurant that is only available in the summer. The afternoon plans were to take a bigger, faster boat to San Juan Island. The Washington State Ferry Tilikum. We walked on in Anacortes and walked off in Friday Harbor. This was a fun day trip to enjoy the Island. And eat at an oyster farm. Immediately off the ferry, we found the San Juan Transit ( sanjuantransit.com ). This is a wonderful way to see the island. However, it does not have a stop at Westcott Shellfish, but it gets close. We chose get off at English camp and take a nice little hiking trail along Garrison Bay and Westcott bay to the oyster farm. We did run into some others that were returning to English Camp. They confirmed there was an oyster farm and beer at the end of the trail. It was a pretty easy 1.5-mile walk. We made it. We are standing at Westcott Shellfish and they are open!
Once we arrived, we discovered that on Sundays, they only serve raw oysters. Fried oysters are only available Saturdays. Not an issue as Tracy loves raw oysters. She is a regular oyster connoisseur. She has eaten raw oysters all over the globe. At this point, I will confess that I have never eaten a raw oyster in my life. Never. I told Tracy would try a few. As the girl at the counter explained the different types of oysters, I was enjoying the décor and gift shop selections available. I may have looked at the beer case too. We were then directed outside to these huge stainless-steel tubs full cold (very cold) water. The oysters were segregated into different tubs, we chose by the different oyster types. We chose to try a dozen “Salty Franks” on this day, and they throw in a lesson on how to shuck oysters. I had never done that either. It isn’t hard to learn because they have wonderful instructors. The class lasts about 45 seconds.
We carry our bucket of oysters that we selected, shucking knives, and gloves back to out table and dig in. I’ll admit, slurping a raw oyster isn’t bad. It wasn’t as slimy as expected and it had a better flavor than I expected. Tracy loved them. She enjoyed more than half of our dozen oysters and her wine in the sun outside on this lovey Saturday afternoon. It was a wonderful experience. I would recommend it to anyone.
Remember the shuttle didn’t have a stop here? Well, catch the shuttle at 4:12. Yes. 4:12. Since we aren’t at regular stop, we had to walk about a mile to the top of the hill and wait on the main road and flag the driver down between the English Camp stop (4:10) and the Sculpture Park stop (4:15). This is how we were told to do it by the morning driver, I didn’t make it up. Thankfully the shuttle was a few minutes late since we misjudged the walk up the hill and were a couple minutes late ourselves.
We enjoyed the shuttle trip back to Friday Harbor and waited at a bar in the sun for our ferry to take us back to Anacortes. It was a great day.
That is how we finally got oysters at Westcott Shellfish. This summer we will arrive by our own boat and anchor closer.
More pictures from this trip...