|Port of Garibaldi and cloud "mountains"|
Having planned a rendezvous with our friends, Rich, Gloria and their daughter, Lynda, in Nehalem, we moved quickly toward the coast. Anticipating the opportunity to go out into the Pacific to harvest some Dungeness Crab was a highlight we were both looking forward to. Arriving at their rental getaway, our first priority was to obtain the crabbing license.
Regulations are fairly straightforward; the shellfish license allows each crabber to
retain 12 male
crabs that are 5 ¾ inches across the body.
Another friend, Bill, was our captain for the day. Supplying the boat, the traps, the bait and
years of know how, we met with him the following morning to make the trip to
the Port of Garibaldi at Tillamook Bay, the largest bay in Oregon. The launching ramp was bustling with
activity. Bill, flustered by too many
helpers, wound up pulling away from the ramp with the boat still on the
trailer. As we stood around with our
mouths open, he realized his mistake and returned to launch the boat.
Mother Nature supplied a perfect day, which is not necessarily the norm in
Oregon. Rain falls an average of 150-200 days per
year along the coast. So a sunny weekend
brings out crowds to take advantage of the nice weather. GPS coordinates pinpointed the drop points
for the traps based on Bill’s knowledge of the waters. Alan tossed the traps in, as directed, and
then we moved on to the Three Arch Rocks National Wildlife Refuge.
Designated as a Wildlife Refuge by President Roosevelt in 1907, the islands are home to tufted puffins and common murres in the spring, but none were visible during our visit. Creation of the NWR,
|Three Arch Rocks NWR|
came as a result of the influence of photographers William Finley and Herman Bohlman, who had witnessed the senseless slaughter of seabirds by
cruise boat passengers in the early 1900's. Roosevelt established the first NWR, Pelican Island, in 1903 in response to seabirds being killed for plumes. (This NWR is right in our "backyard" back home in Florida)
An unfortunate bout with seasickness meant I needed to return to port, and Gloria
stayed behind with
me. But the rest of the crew resumed the
outing. By the end of the day, after
baiting the traps twice, they had harvested 28 of the beauties. Alan hauled in the nets; and Lynda sorted
through, ejected the illegal catch and stored the legal crabs. In our opinion, there is no shellfish
superior to the Dungeness, so we enjoyed our dinner immensely.
|Alan pulling in a trap|
|Cape Mear Lighthouse|
Another sunny day provided us with a chance to explore the nearby, Nehalem Falls Campground. While kayaking, fishing and tubing are among the activities available below the falls, we opted for merely enjoying the beauty of the park.
Next, we traveled to Cape Mears lighthouse. It’s the shortest lighthouse on the Oregon coast at 38 feet. Free tours of the lighthouse are offered on a regular basis, and since the structure is so small, the workout to get to the top is minimal. Overviews from the lighthouse and the surrounding lands are dramatic, and include the Three Rock Arches NWR.
Before departing Nehalem, we arranged a final outing to collect California mussels from the rocks on the beach. Arriving at low tide, so the mussels would be easy to grab without taking a dip in the chilly waters, we found a few places appropriate for gathering the shellfish. The rocks were home to a diversity of sea life, in addition to our next special dinner.
We are now moving very slowly south along Hwy. 101; enjoying the beauty of the Oregon coast.
|View from Cape Mear|
|Reflection in the tide pool|
|Lynda, Gloria, me and Rich taste testing the catch|
|Starfish and Green Anemone|