Saturday, September 20, 2014
WESTPORT HARBOR, PART ONE.
Westport Harbor has a marine Museum located in the former Coast Guard Station, an appropriate transition.
It is on a board, how can you get a notion of the size of a 126.5 lb salmon. Having just carved up a 5.25 lb salmon that has thus far provided Jim and I with three meals and three left to go in the freezer, I had to think seriously about this big fellow. It was 53 inches long and had a waist line of 42 inches. Now that puts it as tall as a 10 year old boy with the stomach of a pregnant woman. Yup! On a board. There is pictures of other giants on the wall at 57 pounds and down. I now look at them as food. No wonder the Indians of the Northwest were so healthy and prolific.
I try to find something that I've never seen before in a museum. Certainly the salmon qualifies and so does this dairy. Instead of a milk delivery from door to door, the milk was delivered to a tree. Now that is novel.
One building on the Coast Guard complex was devoted to the fresnel lens from Destruction Island Light House. Ive seen many lenses but never so beautifully displayed. The docent imparted a bit of trivia, telling me that the state with the most lighthouses is Michigan. Since I lived there for 13 years, why did I not know this?
This building held skeletons of whales, the Minke, and other whales are endangered because Japanese hunters refuse to obey the hunting ban. The length of the building, the long part of the L shape, is 100 feet. A blue whale, the largest living mammal on earth, would take up the entire building. What interested me about this exhibit is signs on the building, Clam Chowder, $5 a bowl. A hotdog and a soda, $4. It went on to compare fish foods to junk foods and gave me another perspective on the relatively cheap food we have in America, healthy as opposed to unhealthy.
It was about lunch time and we zapped over to Bennett's Fish Shack, which came highly recommended and we weren't disappointed.
Clam chowder and crab cakes. The docent at the museum told us Dungeness crab tastes better than king crab. I have to agree.
On the street we met little dog, Mikey. Who could resist a pose like that. I know he was just begging me to take him home. If I ever get another dog, I'll chose a little one.
After lunch, we walked in one of Washington State's "heavy mists" along the harbor. It turns out that Westport is the most western point in the U.S. mainland coast. It also has the highest lighthouse on the West Coast, now open to tourists. We didn't get there. But we had a great time photographing the largest Marina on the outer coast of the Pacific Northwest. I stopped and gabbed with this fisherman and a couple of others. No luck. They all complained they'd seen few salmon in the water but this guy said, in a couple of weeks, there will be thousands of them in the harbor. People here love to fish.
Suddenly, on float #8 (I think it was 8) we saw some excited activity, a plastic bag full of red meat salmon on the float. (Click to enlarge this photo, then back arrow to the blog.)
A fishing boat had come in and this dude on the right was filleting them for the guys to take home.
I asked him how many fish he's cleaned and whether the people on the boat had any fun, like a little wine, some music, maybe a dance or...? He looked at me and said, ..."fishing is fun, that's what we do." He said he'd probably cleaned a million fish.
These two silvers were on the boat walk and the fisherman was waiting in line to have them fileted.
He was only too glad to hoist them up for us to take a picture. He got the pin for the day's catch, "I caught the big 'un on the Tequila. " He hadn't had them weighed yet. All hands estimated the big one to be 14 pounds. The captains know where the fish are and everyone got their limit which is two salmon, plus whatever else they are allowed.
This guy was tagging heads. He knows how many boats go out each day. They are all licensed. They told him they had to throw back a silver which he records on his chart. He tells what boat these fish came from, the total catch, and a number of other statistics. He knows where they were raised, from what hatchery and the statistics give him an idea how many are still out there and when to close the season to allow for spawning. Fishing is tightly controlled to make sure enough survive and keep the fish numbers sustainable.
We walked the floats and took pictures around the harbor. This is Jim's favorite nickname for me.
The marina is a fascinating place with small, individual boats like this one.
To huge net trawlers like this one.
We see very little color in this gray atmosphere.
As we drew nearer the commercial floats, pens of fingerlings have been planted here. This gull somehow got under the net and then could not get out. We watched her try and try to get out. I know some birds mate for life, maybe gulls do to because the brownish gull kept returning to her and watching helplessly by while she struggled. It was sad to watch.
A heron stayed hopefully by the fingerling beds for a long time.
In two weeks, maybe the whole fishing fleet will be after the salmon. A poor fish doesn't have a chance. I think there were 15 floats with boats tied to each side.
We found fresh air, wonderful people, fish and beauty. But, I'm not finished. More tomorrow. We move 100 miles south today to Seaside.