Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Gifts Fit For a King

-Written Sept 2nd
Spoiler alert: I probably shouldn’t have given away the thesaurus as I seem to be running out of synonyms for HUGE!

We are anchored just off the cute little town of Bandon, OR and I’m sitting in the cockpit of Gratitouille with only a layer or two over my long johns! The sun has burned off the worst of the clouds making it warm where the cabin protects me from the freshening SW breeze. After an orange and one of Darren’s delicious hard boiled eggs for breakfast I am enjoying a dessert of a cup of hot chocolate and the thought of yet another meal of giant Dungeness crab. Although we didn’t net any keepers last night after we anchored out, in the first ½ hour since Darren threw the ring out this morning there is already a huge specimen in our holding bucket. All he needs is a friend (or three) to join him and we will continue our streak of crab feasts on the OR coast. We have yet to land a tuna but the good mojo of Boater Bob the Dungeness Crab King of Newport must have rubbed off on us as we have enjoyed and shared over 13 big crabs in the past 2 weeks. We threw back most of the little rock crabs.

We met Bob as we were tying up to the dock in Newport after a lumpy 2 day run from Ilwaco. Most of the crew hadn’t even left the cockpit yet when Bob yelled over to Darren, “Welcome to Newport, do you like crab?” “Well, yeah.” Darren replied, still a bit dazed from long shifts and the newly discovered bright disc in the sky (rumor is it’s called a sun?). Bob proceeded to regale Darren with a tale of a full dock crab feast he had hosted the night before as he waved him over to see his holding trap crawling with HUGE Dungeness crabs.  When Darren got back to our boat he pulled me aside to let me know that Bob was going to cook us up 2 crabs for breakfast in a short while! Ever mindful of the budget and mindful that we weren’t in Hood River anymore, I asked how much he would expect to be paid but Darren hadn’t broached the subject with him and said we’d ask later. We went back to the gear exchange between our boat and John and Sonya’s van and lots of hugs and kisses and “I love you” with them and the kids.

After they drove away, Bob called us over and asked if we were ready for a crab breakfast. Darren asked him if we could offer him anything in return and Bob replied, “Just a thank you will do.”  Darren counteroffered with “How about a thank you and a smile?” (smiling is our favorite!). Bob picked a couple of crab out of his holding trap, cleaned them, threw them in the pot and told us to come back in 10 minutes. We returned to 2 piping hot crab and even melted butter to go with them! We tore into the crabs as if we hadn’t eaten in days and after a couple of bites, Darren lifted a piece of crab to cheers me with and said, “NOW we are cruising!”.  Definitely more like the vision I had been dreaming of.

Over the next 26 hours we had a chance to spend a little time getting to know this generous soul (his generosity reminds us of a certain someone back home) as he brought us 2 more crab for supper and invited us to join him to check his pots the next morning. We nearly turned him down as the only plan we had for the next morning was to sleep as late as possible before getting started on yet more boat projects. Knowing he was leaving at noon we couldn’t resist the opportunity to hang out with this character and share his joy in catching crabs and sharing them. So we set the alarm for 7 am and took turns going out to check Bob’s pots for a few hours which gave me just enough time to whip up a batch of chocolate chip oatmeal cookies to send with Bob for his drive home. We were rewarded with 5 more ginormous crabs to share with the other boats on the dock, plenty of the line he was getting rid of to set up our own crab ring and the reminder that even though we have left the comfort of our friends back home, there are characters such as Bob waiting everywhere we go to become new friends. Fitting gifts from a King, no?
Boater Bob the Crab King of Newport
To our old friends: Though we miss you dearly, we hope we bring you joy in the new friends we introduce you to along the way.

Jodi and Darren
s/v Gratitouille

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