Monday, November 12, 2012

November to Remember!

Guest post by Omid. Enjoy!!

November is here and well on its way. In the Northwest, this usually means a few things like weather is going from bad to worse or it now rains 5 days out of the week. To some people it could mean stay home, watch TV, play games or plan your upcoming holidays. But to me, it means go CRABBING baby!!!


 
My plan was to get the family together and go for an outing to Hammond, Oregon in November and do a little bit of crabbing.  I knew if I wanted them to also have fun, I better do my homework on a time slot when there is at least a chance of a break in the weather “and” a decent tide. I had been paying close attention to the weather and tide predictions for two weeks and it happened … seven day forecast predicted 20% chance of rain on Saturday Nov 11th with partly sunny skies, winds calm to 5 mph, and the incoming tide starting early morning to slack high at 10 A.M. It happened to be on a weekend which is all the better.

Here is a fun fact for you. The Dungeness crab is named after Dungeness, Washington, which is located approximately five miles north of Sequim and 15 miles east of Port Angeles. Its range extends from Alaska's Aleutian Islands to Point Conception, California.

 We asked Papa and Grammy to come down on Friday so we can head out early Saturday morning. I have learned to give myself plenty of time when planning these outings. Getting the boat ready, charging the batteries, getting the electronics mounted, loading the crab pots, thawing the bait and packing them in bait nets and bait cooler, getting enough coolers and ice, food and drinks for everyone, loading the truck with the burner, propane and boil pot and NEVER forget the Old Bay seasoning powder.  

 
Grammy and Papa made it down to our house on Friday and we had a couple of our famous 2.5” rib eye steaks plus some shrimp and salad for dinner. The steaks turned out perfect with the sear marks and char on the outside and medium rare inside. Everyone had plenty to eat (and drink) plus Naseem also came after her work shift, visited with grammy and papa and had a few bites too. It is now about 8:30 pm and I start wrapping things up and letting the folks know we need to go to bed soon if we want to have an early start tomorrow. As usual, no one listened and kept on with the festivities and lively discussions.
 
Before the night was over, I emphasized on the need to dress warm for when we go crabbing. Dress in layers, many layers I said. I received the same response back as when I said it’s time to go to bed and a lot of laughter. (We’ll see who is laughing tomorrow!!!)

Saturday 3:30 AM!!!! Erin and I are up and taking care of last minute items. I open the garage door which is a great alarm clock for Papa and a few minutes later, papa and Matty are downstairs all dressed up and ready to go?!?!? Mmmmmh!!! May be I was wrong for suggesting everyone go to bed early!? Boat is hooked up, truck is packed up, making the last round of checks, and I ask once more, did everyone dress warm? Here are the responses I get…. Dad, I’m fine … oh yes I’m fine … I’ve got my 1980’s ski jacket, I’m fine …

First stop and the boat is all gas’d up, it is 4:00 A.M. and with that, we are on our way. Not soon after we get on the highway, Matty is laying down and asleep. The thermometer is reading 37 degrees in Vancouver. We head up to Longview and the thermometer is reading 31 degrees. We want to stop at the Starbucks right before the bridge for some coffee and breakfast but papa is staying put in the car where it is warm. The panini sandwiches and coffee were great and hit the spot.

We crossed the bridge and head up the hill towards Astoria. As we got closer to Clatskanie, Papa reads the thermometer and says, that must not be right?!?! 27 degrees? I said your jacket better work for you. He waits a minute and says “I want to go back home now”. When he realized that it was going to be a long walk for him back home, he elected to stay…
 
6:30 A.M. and we reach the Hammond boat launch with about a dozen other boats. It is cold and there is mist in the air. We get in line, and since my team works very well together, we launch the boat in no time. More and more boats are showing up and you could tell, it was going to be a mad dash to the crabbing grounds. Heading out of the marina and onto the main channel, the sun is starting to peak out of the clouds and the scenery was beautiful.
 

We get to the spot, Matty and Papa bait up the pots, working together like a well oiled machine, and throw them in for the 2 hour soak, mark them on the GPS. We take in more of the morning scenery with the big ships making their way out to the ocean and we make our way back to the docks for some R&R and family time.


Once we get to the docks, the need for getting warmer takes precedence over the R&R and some add on more layers of clothing with hand warmers stuffed in their gloves, some break open the “warming” bottle and some take care of the morning rituals like bathroom breaks (those toilet seats were COLD). I think you can pick them out from the pictures below without naming them …

We had a good time together, watching boats come in and go out, listen to some music, talking about stories, some old, some new and enjoyed being with each other and anxiously awaiting the crab pot soak time to be over.

9:00 A.M. rolls around and we decide to check the pots to see how they are doing. We head out of the marina again and make it to the 1st GPS location. Matty snares the line like a pro and starts to pull it in. (I know he was thinking about the Swamp People show)

First crab pot is in and papa and Matty are sorting through and keeping the legal crabs. Once all sorted, Matty closes the pot for a second soak and we make our way to the next pot. Matty snares the next pot, pulls it in and throws the ready pot overboard. Erin driving the boat and me … well, just sitting on my hand … Like a well oiled machine I tell you…


 
The quality of the crabs is excellent with hard shells and mostly male and bigger than 6.5” size. We are all excited about the catch that we forget to count them as we are putting them in the ice cooler. After a couple rounds of counting, our 1st soak yield 19 crabs. Life is good and we are heading back to the docks for some more R&R if you know what I mean …

 
The next two hours go by quicker than the first and the 2nd soak and the total tally for us were 43 crabs. We decide to call it a day and were out of the water by noon. We make it to the other side of the park with a pretty view of the river, take all the cooking utensils out and proceed with the boil. The nice sunny weather but still chilly makes everyone huddle around the fire …

 
 
With the crabs all cooked, and the camp site cleaned, we load up and head back home. We arrive home at 4:15 P.M. and my good crew are at it again. Everything cleaned, washed and put away in 2.5
hours and we are enjoying Erin’s best crab cakes in world in front of the TV.

What a great day to be together with the family and enjoy what our local fisheries have to offer. These are the times that define the unity of the family and etch the memories in our lifetime.

4 comments:

sbaily said...

excellent post by your guest blogger erin. iwonder if he has a second secret job as a newspaper writer,if not , he should have, bye the way, that old guy, sure is good looking

erinz said...

Thanks for coming with us, Dad!

Katie B said...

What a perfect day! Omid, you have a gift for bringing people together with your amazing cooking and well planned adventures.
Thank you for sharing.

Katie B said...

Omid, you have a gift for bringing people together with your amazing cooking and well planned adventures.