Thursday, June 25, 2009

Another Day in Bird Cove...Sand Dollars...Fish...Eagles and Orca Whales

Somehow we have not been able to start north through the Yaculta Rapids and are enjoying another day in Bird Cove which has its rewards. Bird Cove has a shallow entrance that yields a treasure trove at low tide. Among the oysters, clams and cockles there are hundreds of Sand Dollars both alive (purple) and dead (white).

After a fierce rain storm last night the day broke calm and pleasant. Our shrimp pots yielded little less than bait for our fishing trip. The commercial prawn boats have been in non stop for the end of their season and the pressure has been heavy. We did better fishing. Our fishing trip yielded two nice Vermilion Cod, a small garden variety cod and a nice Ling Cod. We lost two other lings who ran for the rocks and divested themselves of our gear.

Each day we have watched the pair of eagles who patrol the beach at low tide. They chase the crows away and keep a wary eye on us from their perches when we are on the beach.

We were surprised this morning by a large pod of Orca Whales as we returned from fishing. Orca Whales travel in pods of three to 40 with the larger pods being the locals. We must have been visited by one of the local pods as there were at least twenty-five. They were cavorting and breaching before we got the camera out but we did get a photo of a female's fin. Quite an amazing experience.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Babies and Bivalves

As we left Gorge Harbour a lumpy Common Merganzer appeared on the horizon. On closer inspection it was a mother carrying her six babies on her back. When Mom saw us she panicked despite us quieting our engines. Mom raced off with one baby onboard, four close behind and one paddling for all it was worth. Our series of photos showed the mother and all babies safely reunited some distance from the boat. Baby Merganzers can swim but are unable to dive and it is common for mothers to carry newborn babies.

We are anchored in very pleasant Bird Cove on Reading Island for some of the lowest tides of the year. Max, an eleven year old who lives here, was picking up crab out of the eel grass on the incoming tide. Our crab traps are set. Doug and I captured two bivalves that we had not encountered before - cockles and a moon snail. My google search indicates that moon snails are edible and should be prepared much like the conch we ate in the Carribean. We have mixed feelings about eating the moon snail. What are your thoughts? Moon snails are typically prepared by slicing the foot into 1/2 inch steaks, tenderizing with both meat tenderizer and with a mallet and frying. We are going to dig goeducks today. Doug and I could enjoy many new culinary delights or not!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Learning the Larder of the Sea in Desolation

We are learning to forage for food in Desolation Sound and offer many thanks to Jon and Lois Kipper for their many kindnesses and their delightful company. Their thirty years of cruising Desolation have provided them with a great deal of expertise which they so willingly shared with us. Jon took us prawning, taught us the ins and outs and then gave us the catch. They shared with us their freshly caught smoked salmon and greenling and led us to fine oysters and clams.

Greenling was a species of fish that was unknown to us. It is an amazingly colored with a bright turquoise mouth and tongue and soft aqua flesh that turns snow white upon cooking. We cooked our first paella of the season to share with the Kippers. A small thanks and great fun for us.

We eat oysters nearly daily, enjoy clams and are looking forward to solo prawning and getting started with fishing. Jon caught a nice 14 lb king a few days ago so we know the fish are waiting for us.

and making friends with other cruisers. In Grace Harbor we had the delight of getting to know Jon and Lois Kipper aboard the Kipper. They graciously shared their experience of thirty years of cruising Desolation Sound. They took us prawning, showed us clam beaches, shared their smoked salmon and smoked greenling with us.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

North to Desloation Sound

Slowly we proceed north. We left Everett for Blaine where we had the delightful experience of having dinner with an old college friend, Karen Walter. Karen is a world sailor who currently has her boat, Mystery, there.

From Blaine we transited to Whiterock for customs clearance and had the experience of being selected to be boarded to train a new customs officer. The officials were courteous but businesslike and we are cleared.

After two days up the Frazier River to visit our friends, Sandy and Gene in New West Minister, we headed to Smuggler's Cove.

Smuggler's is a beautiful anchorage with a gruesome history. The anchorage gets its name from its nefarious activities the most notable of which involves an unsavory character named "Pig Iron" Kelly. Pig Iron "assisted" Chinese laborers into the United States. These laborers paid Pig Iron $100 and agreed to be shackled together and attached to a pig iron anchor. In the event that US Customs should become involved the workers and the pig iron were jettisoned. Such a cruel history for such a beautiful cove.