Monday, December 20, 2010

Dungeness Season 2010 - Part 3 - Bust Out The Caesar Salad and Sourdough

Ya know how it gets to a certain time of year and there are some flavors that you just can't wait for?

Well crab is like that here this time of year.

We usually get a hankerin' (people in rural areas use words like hankerin...go with me on this) for it right after we clean up from the Thanksgiving feast.

Immediately after...

Exactly 5 minutes after.

So when the season gets delayed it's a sort of slow torture waiting for what we know is coming.

Even the seagulls are waiting...

Posting guard at the end of the jetty.

When the boats start to make their first deliveries you see a lot of smiling and fist pumping from the crews and a lot of drooling from the spectators as we get the first peek of crab in the overflow containers on deck.
I love the seagull escort on this one:

By the time Sean brought his first load of the season in there was somewhat of a wait at the unloading dock so they radioed in and waited for their turn.

Which gave me time to get permission from the owner to get a closer spot to shoot from.

And while I waited I did my usual ADHD act and became very distracted by light and colors here as the sun began to set.  I almost asked on of the dock guys to pose for me under this amazing light, next to this cool crane thingy... but I didn't think the crew from the boat currently being unloaded would appreciate that.

Really though, it was such a waste.

Note to self: Someday you must find someone willing to stand in upper rigging of a boat with it's lights on at dusk.

OK time to get back on task....

We get our first look at the overflow crab that didn't fit in the hold.
Is it just me or did anyone else just get a flash back of when Sean used to look just like that when he backed up his little VW peddle car when he was 3?

From the upper dock they lower this silver bucket thing for the crew to fill and send back up.

Which then gets dumped into these larger totes.

And repeat.

After the guys got the overflow stuff unloaded the super nice owner of the fisheries plant let me peek straight down into the main hold of Sean's boat.

Sean's load filled up two of these big totes.

On this day he had about 40 pots in the water.
Every time they run out to collect crab they bring more gear to drop.
So as the season progresses he will have more gear in the water.
The big boats drop all their gear at once.

Between the pots he owns and the ones he will be leasing he could have as many as 150ish in the water.

His permit allows for 200.

These fellers tried to make a break for it but no such luck.

When the boat is unloaded the large totes are picked up by a forklift and moved to a scale where the weight is recorded.

The fishermen are paid by weight.

This boat load weighed in at about 1400 pounds.

This is just me getting distracted by the cool lights from across the harbor...

These trucks get loaded full of those big totes and they head to a market near you.
Which totally remind me of one of Sean's favorite books from when he was a little tyke.  Let's Follow That Truck and See Where It Goes.
One of the perks of hanging around the crab dock, drooling into the hold is that more than likely the boat owner will want you to go away and he knows that the fastest way to get rid of you is to promise crab fresh off the boat.

I say this every year but I swear that was the best crab ever.

I ate mine without lemon or butter...just plain with our famous caesar salad and sourdough on the side.

Oh man...heaven.

We picked and froze some to go on our eggs with Hollandaise sauce on Christmas.
And some for future crab enchiladas.

Looking forward to that.

I probably won't post again til after the holidays so I'd like to wish you all a season of peace and joy with hearts full and open to overflow and spill out to those around you.

Merry Christmas to all,


Saturday, December 18, 2010

Dungeness Season 2010 - Part 2 - Ready To Be Crabby

It seems as though every year the crab season opens just as the ocean gets really nasty.

And the Oregon coast....

Well let me just say....

This ain't no Mission Bay.

And so the Chetco River Station Coast Guard unit was standing by on the morning the local fleet made their first run.

12:01 a.m. was the time set for dropping the first sets of gear.

Mostly the larger boats of the fleet went out at that time.

The smaller boats waited for daylight and a check on the river bar conditions.

This river bar can get real serious real fast.

These next two shots are from a day in November when we had high surf warnings.

And so as the first of the boats came back to reload with more gear early that morning, the Coast Guard acted as escort at the harbor mouth.

Can I just say...

One of my most favorite things about living here is waking up when it's still dark out and seeing the light from these boats on the water.

It's really beautiful.

And it reminds me of how really wimpy I am...


I would be such a whiner in those conditions.

And as some of the boats came in our #1 kid got his small but mighty boat ready for it's first gear run.

While some of the boats utilized then loading services of the cranes on the docks.

And this goes on for the better part of of few days....

Depending upon the size of your boat, the ocean conditions, and the limitations of your permit.

One of the local boats headed out with more gear...

And Sean on his first run of the season.

He decided to err on the side of caution and go with a light load for the first run to test the bar conditions.

And this is when it starts to look reallly small to me...

I know this kid has been on the ocean since he was 5....

I know he knows what he's doing...

I know he carefully watches forecasts and conditions...

but still...

And my #2 kid is on the crew of this larger boat farther north up the coast.

And still I worry...

These guys are hard core, round the clock, out in almost any conditions...
I meant to get a shot of them all geared up too before he left but I blew it...sorry about that.

So do me a favor...

When you sit down to your holiday crab feast and bow your heads....

Throw in an extra mention for the men who go out on the ocean to bring it in to market.

And all the mamas, wives, friends, and families who worry over them.


One more comin...


Friday, December 17, 2010

Dungeness Season 2010 - Part 1 -The Waiting Game

Well alrightly then.

My clickin finger's been gettin a workout lately.

There's just something about living near a working port during crab season that is really unique and everywhere I look I'm goin' "Oooo check that out."

The trouble is that everything else...season-wise is happening at the same time and it all kinda gets to be too much for the twisted tangle that is my mind.

And so...

In the interest of actually getting this stuff posted this year...

And because I have a  lot of stuff to show ya...

This is gonna be a three parter.

I'm gonna keep the words to a minimum.

Generally, Dungeness crab season begins Dec 1st here on the Oregon coast.

The guys all start getting gear ready in November.

I love to walk around in the port when as far as I can see there are crab pots and colorful buoys and line.

This year, the crab, like every other thing in nature, were running a bit behind so the fishermen agreed to hold up an extra couple of weeks to guarantee a top quality product.

Boats were stacked and ready.

OK this one doesn't have any crab gear... 
I just got distracted by the colors.

And the rain drops....
And patterns...

Sorry about that...
It's part of being me.

And so they patiently...
Or impatiently...
Waited for the go ahead.
And tolerated my presence.

More comin...