Thursday, November 17, 2011

A Life Aquatic

I've spent much of the last two days on or about salt water.

After motoring by the Red Oak Victory in Richmond Harbor for the past five years, I finally found cause to visit from the hard side. What gave me the long awaited nudge? Tuesday we went to visit a battleship.

After a decade at anchor in The Mothball Fleet, the USS Iowa has been moved to Richmond's historic Kaiser Shipyard #3 to be prepared for a tow to Los Angeles where she will become a floating museum.

The siting of the Iowa couldn't be worse...she's tied up a quarter mile from the nearest public space. Long lenses are in order, and though my pocket camera has a modest zoom lens, the big battlewagon deserves a big fat expensive telephoto lens on an advanced DSLR.

Even a quarter mile distant, the Iowa is an awesome sight. There's no mistaking the beautiful lethality of an Iowa Class Battleship when viewed from the bow. We spent the better part of two hours driving around Richmond's working waterfront trying to fine a close-in vantage point. The temptation to trespass was hard to resist, but resist we did. Finally after covering most of the compass in our quest for the perfect "Kodak Picture Spot" we headed down to the quay where the Red Oak Victory is tied up.

What a difference a little dry dock time can make for a nearly forgotten  77 year old Liberty Ship. The Red Oak Victory was shining like new. New paint from stem to stern shone in the brilliant November sun. Even the big bronze propeller received some love...years of marine growth was cleaned off, and the prop was sharpened! About a 6-8 inch swath of the edge of the blades had been ground, exposing the noble alloy to the sun's rays.

We spied an osprey nest atop the old Shipyard #3 crane, and we snapped photos and jotted down names of some of the other historic vessels lurking around the waterfront awaiting restoration by the National Park Service. Finally we headed home with a stop at the Asian market for a box of frozen squid.

Wednesday, SturgeUrge and I put that squid to good use on Tamales Bay where we reprised last week's dungeness crab hunt.

Upgrades included departure from the SturgeUrge Compound an hour and fifteen minutes earlier. The tides were more favorable, and we decided to crab "string-style" where we drop all our pot in a line, relatively close to one another.

Our early start allowed us to miss most of the commute traffic. In fact we arrived at the Boat Ramp two hours earlier than last week. The weather was even better this week, so still that we ended bobbing about for a half hour after we launched, waiting for the fog bank to lift enough so we could see the fishing grounds.

Fishing the string allowed us to make a halibut drift after each set, but the only fish we hooked was an angel shark...a sort of combination of a shark and a sting ray. They're called Guitarfish on the East Coast. We pulled the traps four times vs 7-8 last week, and we caught two limits (2 X 10 crabs each) vs 13 total dungees last week. Two thirds of the crab were big enough that we didn't need to even measure them.

Aside from losing a half an hour at the boat ramp on the way home, we still returned to the SturgeUrge Compound well before sundown. We flushed the outboard, washed the pots, boat and trailer, tow rig, and rods and reels. Urge steamed the crab, built a salad, and we enjoyed a great crab supper.

1 comment:

  1. Cool Pics! Looked like a fun day! Dinner sounded good too.