Friday, June 04, 2010

To Blake we paddle


On Memorial Day, David and I busted out the kayaks, packed some shovels, buckets and our fishing licenses (I know, as if WDFW officers would be there but STILL!) and shoved off from Vashon's North End to Blake Island. Of course, it wasn't before jinxing myself on the slimy boat ramp, where I fell square on my ass as the feet slipped off in front of me carrying the front end of the kayaks (the butt bruise is hummin' even five days later).

I always get motivated to move out because of the ferries--even when hugging the coastline. On this little cross channel extravaganza, our timing was great both ways, ferrywise. The paddle crossing to Blake was smooth--took about 45-50 mins.

As we neared the island, whole families of raccoons were feasting along the low tide line. When they spotted us, they ran up into the forested bluff, disappearing into a shady Madrona grove. This sequence continued as we rounded the south end to the southwest part of the island. It was like a Planet of the Apes episode I must have imprinted as a little one. A little creepy, but nice to know these critters can sustain themselves on shellfish.

Low tide was just hitting so we began digging for geoducks. What we kept encountering, however, were butterclams. Big ones. Lots of them. So eventually we realized the taunting water show of shoreline "squirts" were not the geoducks (probably not a low enough tide at -1.5) but were instead just butterclams. So that's what we maxed out on. And that was just fine with us! Sun parted the clouds and we soaked up a few rays before packing it in and rowing back.

The paddle back at about 3:30 ish felt like we were moving upstream. In small rapids! Chop shop waters, oncoming current. It was hard for me; David was just fine. I was +running up the "down" escalator. Just edging ahead. Fortunately, I focused on my oasis: La Playa! Si, si, si. There it was, slowly coming into focus. Soon, we'd be in there scarfing on tacos and I indulged in a little margarita. It was blissful.

The next day David endeavored on a clam cleaning mission that took hours. It was worth it. Now we have lots of meat for chowder, curries, seafood cocktail and more. We slurped them up in a wonderful lime infused broth already. Good eating. Easy picking! Gotta love island life.