Crab king.Trevor headed up catching, boiling, cleaning and.... eating the crabs. He developed some delegation skill and had 2-4 other family members involved at all times. Add that to your resume, son.

Trevor hasn’t been so passionate about anything since…….. taking up surfing a couple of weeks ago- but before that, since a long time. He came around and got all the way on board after Ethan’s passionate campaign about the benefits of crabbing ‘for our family’. Trevor became the money man, fronting $25 for the deposit on the crab pot, and $15 for the rental, which they negotiated with Kelly to be offset by her purchasing the crabs for $1 each- if they caught any. This little arrangement encouraged them to stick with the project and earn some money back, and bought the family a cheap crab dinner. Ethan and Trevor quickly befriended everyone on the dock, including fellow crabbers, the dead fish processors, and bystanders. Everyone had a different opinion about how long to cook them (14 mins to 40 mins), and what to cook them in (fresh water with salt added, sea water, or sea water with salt added). They ended up using fresh water with salt added for 18 minutes. You’ll recall that we’re travelling with a skillet and microwave in the galley- so cooking crabs was a little daunting. We were asking for shopping hints about where to pick up a stock pot- thinking we’d heat it on the propane grill- and our best info source suggested that he only cooks them in about an inch of water and mostly steams them…. We could boil an inch of water and hold the steam in, in our high walled skillet- saved us a few bucks there. Adults without a license are not allowed to help- to touch the rope, to carry the crabs, to do anything with the catching of the shellfish- and the kids 14 and under don’t need a license- so the boys handled them as far as the kitchen (set up OUTside the bus), and then Kelly bravely took on the task of immersing, cooking and removing the meat.

Learning about fish. This gentleman was part of the work staff that was handling the dead fish catch- boats either caught fish and sold them dead, or live- depending on the type of fish, and how deep they were I guess. He had out 5 types of fish at one time, let everyone get a good close up view, touch the ones they wanted, gave a brief lecture on the dangers of spines in the dorsal fin of some, and then slide them back into the fish crate. They would be shipped to Charleston every couple of days for processing.

Here’s how they caught the crabs: the crab ‘pot’ is two metal rings, one about half the diameter as the larger one, which is about 24” around. The smaller one has a solid wire screen strung on it, and the two rings are connected with wire chain link style  mesh that collapses when they are laying flat, and stretches out to create a wall between the smaller and larger one, forming a basket that it attached to a 50’ rope when the rope is lifted. To catch the crabs, the pot is baited with meat, preferably not a crab predator (salmon and turkey legs are good bait, lingcod is bad) that is tied to the center of the small ring. The pot is thrown into the water, and sits for 15 minutes to several hours. The local recommendation was no more than 15 minutes, and he was right. The crabs either loaded up or didn’t, but 15 mins was a good time- and the boys stayed interested with this short interval. They crabbed until about 10:30pm, with Ethan pulling off early because he was nearly asleep while standing- and was assigned the early morning shift. For the day, the take was about 14 big fat edible crabs. Local street value of about $120 (about double that in Colorado).

Anya got in on the 'holding crabs for a picture' station. The good part of it was to see Trevor encouraging her to do something she wasn't comfortable with, and being big-brotherly toward her.

Well, crabbing started at about 2pm, so let me back up to 6 am. The dock is a working dock, and could be one of the RV-worlds best kept secrets. Since it’s a government run entity, they don’t publicize that they will let you stay for just 10 bucks, since there are 2 RV parks within a mile. They also don’t have a lot of space, since it’s a busy working dock, and parking is at a premium when the fishermen are parking their trucks and trailers (every boat has to be driven to the crane). RVers, take note: the dock can accommodate any size of RV (we’re 45’ + a 12 psgr van). Unhook your towed vehicle before you descend the hill into the port and onto the dock. Park anywhere- we chose the spot right in front of the stenciled NOOVERNIGHTPARKING (with backwards N’s) since it was abutting the ocean on 2 sides, then, ideally you pay the crane operator- or he will come to you and ask if you’re staying overnight. Fred, the crane operator, was very friendly and wrote a legitimate receipt from the Port Authority with our 2 license plates so the 4am crane operator wouldn’t give us a hard time when he got in. The crane area is busy and off limits, so if you want to seek out the crane guy, you’ll have to watch until he gets out to go into the office and then mention that you’re staying overnight- he’ll come by later with his receipt book. Running the generator isn’t a problem, cooking crab on the asphalt next to your rig isn’t a problem. We watched several recreational crabbers haul out the propane fired cook pot after returning and time their beer changes with crab drops- it was like a classic hunting expedition complete with ceremonial cooking following the hunt. Several times we were complimented on our timing to be here- they say that the wind can blow here, hard, and it does most of the time. Since we arrived the sea has been glassy, without a breeze to be felt, and full sun all day.

This, RV friends, is the spot $10 can buy you in sunny Port Orford, OR. Unless you want the bluff overlooking the bay, or the private spot along the picket fence location. Just make sure your tanks are empty before you come.

The sea life here is exciting. If holding a 9” crab isn’t enough for you, how about a black cod, hardhead, rock fish, sea urchin, lingcod, china rock fish, or tuna or blue sharks (5 FEET long!) The kids saw each of them up close and personal, handled each- did you know that small pieces of a sea urchin will keep moving for a long time after it’s broken apart? They also had these lay experts give the real life perspective on fishing life to the kids. We didn’t cover the genetic makeup and marine class angle of these fish, but received a complete lesson in real life fishing lifestyle- how they’re caught, what they do with them, how they’re processed, and to Anya’s delight (?), what’s actually inside those fish sticks she loves.

Perspective view of the Port from the access road. I've marked Bussie's location on the photo, which is next to Griff's restaurant/gift shop/museum, worth a look if you get there.

As if we hadn’t seen enough, the whales that have been in the area were surfacing and blowing off the dock throughout the warm afternoon.

With all of the boats up on dollies or trailers, it's easy to check out the sea-side of them. Many larger boats are stored on the dry dock when not in use, which was the case with this one. Simon walked under and pointed out the parts he knew: the "rudder steers it, Dad" and the "propeller pushes it". He knew because a submarine toy he owned briefly had the same parts and he would run it in the hot tub at home before we left.

We wrapped the day up late yesterday, and assumed everyone would get up a little later on Thursday. No such luck. My alarm goes off at 630, hoping to get an hour in before they start to get up doing something quiet, or just taking a shower with last nights hot water remnants. Trevor and Ethan smelled pretty bad before bed, and Kelly was able to talk them in to showers before sleep, so that hot water that was getting ready for my shower in 7 hours? Cold shower for Dad this morning… Ethan was next up, almost out the door with the crab pot before he was even fully conscious… Then the others began to show up in the front lounge until everyone was up and slowly at ‘em. Kelly headed out early to run 9ish loads of stinky laundry from some heavy beach/ocean activity, and returned as we were wrapping up crabbing (rental pot due back at 1030) and the cooking started. Today, the cooked crab ended up in bags on ice getting ready for the trip to grandmas, where good fresh crab is appreciated fully. We did get on the road around 1, and enjoyed 5 hours of good scenery as we moved inland a bit and headed North.

One of the boats collected several thousand sea urchins this day, which will be shipped to Japan as well as consumed domestically. Apparently they're an ocean style rocky mountain oyster- the expensive delicacies are the gonads. We were offered a taste of them by several folks working there- who all said they had tried them but 'blechhh!', they wouldn't try them again, ever! We declined politely.

Fuel was a great deal in Oregon! The sign read 2.67 for Diesel, you bet we stopped! The fine print was carried to us by an employee as I got out at the pump- if we didn’t have a PUC#, we would need to pay the additional 24 cents road tax on each gallon… That brought it up to 2.91, which was the cheapest diesel so far on the trip, so I wasn’t fussing. We pulled into grandma’s house after 8pm, and will get the bus lined up nicely tomorrow morning for our week-plus stay in this area. Besides being glad to see grandma and grandpa, their dog was very excited to see the kids, and Kelly was surprised with a birthday cake they had ready for her. Trevor gets to sleep inside tonight on a wide bed all to himself, and  everyone else opted for bus accommodations, comfortable and familiar. I can remember just 4 weeks ago when a certain group of kids were pretty sure there was no way they would be able to actually fit on, much less enjoy the bus beds. It does feel comfortable having our own space wherever we go. RV travel sure does have its perks.

Now, we’ll try to get through all of the packages we’ve been forwarding to ourselves, here. Mail, window blinds, sign supplies, etc.

It will be good to concentrate on school and feel rooted in one familiar place for a few days…