It was a beautiful morning -
clear skies right from the get-go,
A perfect day to treat ourselves to lunch out
at the local marina.
Although boat culture is not our thing,
we love to look at them.
So we took ourselves to a ringside seat,
with a close-up view of hungry starlings
and brightly blooming hibiscus,
and a more distant view of masts and docks.
Dick had his favorite seafood Louis salad,
I had a chicken quesadilla,
and we just sat and breathed for a while,
taking in the spectacular view
and wondering aloud every so often
if very many of these boats
before us actually make it out to the open sea.
noting how much clearer the water is now,
after a major harbor clean-up a few months back.
We spied one turquoise-bottomed fishing boat
as it slowly wound its way into the dock.
We stood and watched a bit, as it idled
in the unloading area while we walked
south along the wooden decking.
There were others out and about, too,
enjoying the warmth of the sun,
One of the things I love about our town
is the juxtaposition of ocean and mountains.
There is always something beautiful and inspirational
to look at, no matter which direction you face.
At least two fisherfolk were still out at sea
(see their empty slips in the picture below?);
we hoped we might be lucky enough to see
at least one of them come in and unload their cargo.
a small, 2-person ship -
complete with crow's nest -
came chugging into view as we walked along the pier.
These boats are far more interesting to us than the
luxury cabin cruisers and humongous catamarans
that dot our marina.
(See that big one in the right-center-rear
of the picture above?)
Maybe that's because these small, well-worn boats
represent the life and livelihood of a dying breed
in these parts - the journeyman fisherman.
Their territory has been impinged upon by
multiple facts-of-life -
government regulation, most of it necessary;
predatory otters - all of them adorable, but destructive;
over-fishing and diminishing quantities of some of the
Santa Barbara channel stock-in-trade -
abalone and lobsters in particular.
The white-haired gentleman atop the boat is the captain;
his long-suffering wife is waiting on the dock,
barely visible through the rigging.
There was one other crewman,
middle-aged and about as worn looking as this boat.
We'd seen scarecrow-owls atop buildings before,
but this was the first time we'd seen one
on a sea-faring vessel.
We waited patiently, walking from one of the
weigh-in piers to the other,
noting two grey, covered trashcans on the deck.
What could be inside this time?
Slowly, the winch raised those grey cans off of the ship
and onto the dock where a scale waited.
These two gentlemen below,
with Chinese last names,
opened some grey trashcans of their own,
taken from the bed of their small pick-up truck.
And then they poured amazing quantities of...
octopi... into them.
The longer-haired gentlemen switched position
at the exact same moment I clicked the slow-shutter on
my point-and-shoot camera, so I did not get a
picture of those slimy critters as they swirled into the can.
The buyers snapped on the lids, to protect their precious
purchase from the vagaries of freeway traffic,
then got into the cab of their truck,
and drove those things back to somebody's
favorite Chinese restaurant somewhere.
Just before we headed home,
we snuck a peek into the local Fish Market
to remind us of what we usually see
when we come here!
A beautiful selection of fish,
much of it very high-priced -
all of it delicious and fresh, fresh, FRESH.
We may not be part of the boat culture,
but we are most definitely part of the FISH culture.
And we are appreciative of the those who are dedicated and brave enough to gather the fish that we eat from the sea.
All in all, a lovely summer afternoon.
Joining Michelle and her Graceful Summer invitation each Friday of these summer months: