Outpost Caretakers Week 28 ~ Spring?March 26, 2012 | 1001 Views
March 16th was circled in red and given a gold star in my calendar this past week.What made this day so special, you ask. The pictures tell it all.
So spring has finally arrived at the Outpost, as it seems to have done in Ontario also.
Family and friends have all passed along pictures of flowers starting to bloom and being outdoors wearing t-shirts and sandals. It’s only March… where is the snow and slush that is the normal weather for this part of the world? Well I’ll tell you, it’s here!
My one day of sun-bathing was thoroughly enjoyed and thoughts of morning coffee on the deck were foremost in my mind but it was not to be as the next day my sun spot looked like this.
Not having TV here we tend to be looking out the windows for our entertainment, watching the changing sky, the eagles, maybe an otter fishing out front so it’s not surprising when we do manage to catch sight of a trawler heading into the bay beside us.
What we don’t see often is the trawler leave since I imagine they get underway at the crack of dawn ( I’m still sawing logs at that hour) so it was something new to see them in the light of day. We watched as the smaller boat played out the net, than they headed to the open ocean. We always wondered what the boat name was and finally getting a good shot of their transom we discovered she’s called “Queens Reach”.
“There’s a boat coming in” Mike says, although in a tone of ‘nothing special’. I didn’t react to much since it was just yesterday that we watched a trawler come in so I didn’t give it much thought. When I did look out the window to the furthest island since that is where it would be, I didn’t see anything, must be behind it right now. I than realized that Mike was gone and at that point I noticed that there was a boat coming in, into our BAY!
Mike was already on the radio hailing the vessel and after trying several channels he got a reply. They had been here several years ago and asked if it was ‘banjo Pete’ the caretaker at that time, whom he was talking with. They chatted for several minutes and asked if they could tie up to the heli pad for the night. Seems they had done this before so we gave the OK. We than headed down the dock to greet our visitors.
Meet Michel, captain of the “Silver Dawn”
Don, 1st mate, chief cook and bottle washer. In my opinion the hardest job on board.
After the vessel was securely tied everyone headed out to collect kelp, which is why they were here. During low tide the scourge the shoreline looking for this plant to harvest, which is used for a popular product sold mainly in Japan – Herring Roe on Kelp.
Once collected in totes the kelp is taken to ‘ponds’ (an enclosure using nets) and suspended on lines using a clip and a weight. Herring are then released into a pond ( up to 80,000 lbs for a large pond) and will than spawn, their eggs adhering to the blades of kelp. Roughly a week later the crew returns to collect the kelp which is than put back into the totes with a brine mixture. After several processes of grading are undertaken, it is shipped to Japan where it is sold in restaurants and also given as gifts. This has been a very simplified telling of the process but I hope it covered the basic idea.
Mike and the prized kelp.
By 8 o’clock their work was done and Mike and I headed down for a visit. The conversation was lively and varied as we all had stories to tell and questions to ask. Both Michele and Don are ‘boaters’ so of course we had that in common and talk of anything that floats was discussed. While they were out getting kelp, mussels and sea urchins were also tossed into the boat, which Don cooked up (the mussels not the urchins) for a bit of a snack. I love mussels and you certainly can’t get any fresher than this. The sea eggs as Mike (my Mike)referred to them was not something I’m accustomed to eating and the sight of the’spines’ moving as Don obvious enjoyed his snack was not my cup of tea.Upon leaving close to 11pm a bag of goodies in the form of some apples, bananas,oranges and eggs was given to us. I must have mentioned at sometime that these things were long gone or maybe it was the way I way looking at the bowl of fruit on the table, either way it was greatly appreciated. With good-nights said and plans to see them around 9 am for coffee after they did their morning collection, we headed back to the lodge.
Wanting to show my ‘thanks’ I decided to bake them some bread, and than I decided to throw together a pan of brownies and while these were in the oven I thought ‘I bet the guys would like some cookies’ and since we are going down for coffee in the morning wouldn’t some scones hot out of the oven be nice. Four am found me just tidying up and heading to bed where I set the alarm for eight so I could finish the scones and pop them in the oven.
We could have sat for hours talking but after only 45 minutes they had to head off. Emails exchanged we promised to keep in touch and possibly get together once we are out for the summer.
Lucky for us they saw our dilemma when it came to trying to get across to the next dock. If you noticed in the first picture of the vessel tied to the heli pad you will see that there is a board instead of a bridge between the 2 docks and now that board was in the water. Several days ago we found the ‘bridge’ floating upside down between the 2 docks, total mystery as to how this happened as there haven’t been any storms and we had it tied with 2 lines. Our plan was to tow it out with our tinney and drag it ashore to remove the plywood and than we could manhandle it onto the dock and put it back in place. The guys aboard ‘Silver Dawn’ didn’t hesitate to come and lend a hand. Thank-you everyone.
Jan and Richie are ready to go.
Under blue skies and calm seas they headed off.
Just one final word…..Happy Birthday to me!