You’re probably not supposed to be poking around this particular area because it’s the equivalent of someone’s vegetable garden but I had no idea until we were upon these oyster beds exactly what was being dealt with as I’m a dyed in the wool landlubber and since landowning Orcas Islanders have installed nearly fifteen billion No Trespassing signs around the perimeter of the island right down to the danged shoals and henceforth since there were no cyclone fences with barbed wire or guard houses with dorky guys named Alan reading back issues of Sports Illustrated and since I’m lawfully rebellious, I figured this was fair game. To tell you the truth, I’m still not exactly sure. At any rate, these are obviously mussels in the foreground but in your peripheral vision are oysters snug and cozy inside their little saltwater apartments which prevent them from being eaten by predators like crabs or simply bothered by photographers from Seattle. Rest assured, these oysters were in no way, shape or form threatened by my presence: In fact, I wondered if it was possible the person in charge of these oysters kicked the bucket as a result of island fever because if seafood is on the menu from here I’ll take a pass.
Orcas Island is shaped like a horseshoe, split as it is by East Sound and Crescent Beach is situated very scenically at the northern end of this nearly eight mile long fjord-like body of water. The beach is just sorta okay- for my taste it’s too hemmed in by the adjoining road but nevertheless it was enjoyable to stop and wander about for a change instead of rubbernecking past as usual (best of all it’s public so you don’t have to worry about old ladies storming out in their Sperry Top-siders to rip you a new one because of the badminton shuttlecock you picked up due to your boys’ contagious infatuation with goofy treasures). The village of Eastsound, not to be confused with East Sound, is practically walking distance from here so the beach could make a nice evening exploration after dinnertime. By the way, our first choice this particular night had been Madrona Point but we were sadly disappointed to discover it has been closed to the public for a period now going on seven or eight years. The land is held by the Lummi Nation and apparently they grew weary of bad behavior considered a desecration (things stupid white people do) to old burial grounds which are found there.
In other somewhat more recent news, our original plan last Saturday was to spend the day in the woods below Mt. Baker but a loosey-goosey family vote left me no choice but to alter course just north of Arlington and so we meandered down the skinny finger of Camano Island (which is only barely an island thanks to the Stillaguamish River) to the eponymous-named state park, where we spent the rest of the afternoon lounging on a surprisingly pristine beach which we had to ourselves for nearly six wonderful hours. A fortuitously low tide allowed us to steal around Lowell Point for extra privacy below hundred foot bluffs and we chose a spot half in the shade. The boys absorbed themselves for hours in battle against a despicably foul-mannered alien species (vaguely resembling rotted, putrid kelp) and they were aided in this endeavor by an arsenal of approximately 500 driftwood blasters, flamethrowers and missile-launchers (the flamethrower was my idea). Their parental guardians talked about life for hours while taking the occasional potshots in the form of projectile crab claws which it turns out can leave a mark. The boys took periodic furloughs from the intergalactic crisis and striking their parents in the head with dead sea creatures, in order to conduct field studies involving billions of still-living crabs on the beach. The prize find of the day in all our beach-combing was a beautiful pink muffler festooned with sparkly sequins, Adam and I agreed surely it must have blown down from the bluff top. At the end of the day we moved over to the picnic areas on the west beach for another view of Saratoga Passage. There were people. However, the exquisite sounds of their laughter and expertly-played violins carried gently on the evening air as we consumed the last milk chocolate Easter bunny before hitting the road and listening to a few innings of the Mariners game on the way back to town (two home runs in the first inning).