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Foraging at Sea and on Land

October 12, 2018

You knew I wouldn’t be able to resist writing about food, right? We’ve been eating well as usual aboard the Blue Mule. But more rain and less wind on this trip means more adventures ashore in the Sea Goat to forage at the water’s edge and on land.

George hunting for crab from the Sea Goat

On our first rainy passage, from Vancouver to Prevost, we saw proof that we weren’t the only sea foragers: a harbor seal caught a salmon and hurried to ingest it while fending off hungry seagulls.

We’ve seen several feeding seals since. George has become pretty good at spotting the signs: a bit of splashing and thrashing around with a seagull stationed nearby.

Seal: “Fish? What fish?” Gull: “Gimme.”

Some of our first foraging was at the Ganges Farmers’ Market. We returned to the Blue Mule with oyster mushrooms, strawberries, arugula, and other goodies from the Salt Spring purveyors. The original plan was grilled Thin-Crust Pizza, but we were sidetracked by the fisherman selling wild prawns straight from his boat. That night, we feasted on grilled prawns and oyster mushroom bruschetta instead.

We put off pizza one more night after we discovered safe clam digging and oyster harvesting waters on the edge of James Bay. The parkland, like many in the San Juan and Gulf Islands, featured old orchards from its prior life as a homestead. We grabbed apples, pears, and chestnuts. We weren’t the only ones: black-tailed deer and a piliated woodpecker were busy harvesting as well. Our bounty led to another impromtu feast, this time featuring an improvised clam chowder.

We found even better clam digging at Walker Hook, where the soft sand yielded up handfuls of clams in the first shovelful and a hole that could be widened just with our hands. Ripe pears were ready in the old orchard, and I collected a pocketful of wild rose hips. But George made the real find: a patch of Shaggy Mane mushrooms. We went to bed with bellies full of beer broth-steamed clams, sauted mushrooms, and grilled sourdough flatbread. Not bad for a foraged meal cooked in the open cockpit of a Venture 25.

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