Monday, August 17, 2015

Stalking the Blue-Eyed Oyster . . . and Other Wildlife

Ken and Kathy.  My favorite people in Rhode Island.  And beyond!
What's better than a summer day with friends, exploring a new part of the ocean?  Not much. Especially when the sun is strong, the friends are Ken and Kathy, and kayaks are involved!

I've just returned from a long vacation driving down the East Coast, catching up with old friends, spending time in and on the water, eating amazing food -- and looking at a couple of boats, too!  It's always strange coming off the island and landing in the middle of everyone else's summer.  The night before we left the island, the fog rolled in, the wind picked up, and I ended up wearing my winter hat. That was July 25.  It was time for some summer, that's for sure!

One of our amazing stops on this trip was in Rhode Island, to visit our good buddies Ken and Kathy. We met them several years ago on vacation in Florida, and some how they haven't been able to get rid of us since.  Ken and Kathy have dragged us out on many an adventure, and have a passion for life like very few people we know.  And they know Rhode Island like the back of their hands, including the best places to throw a kayak in the water and mess around on the water for a few hours. Plus, they are very tolerant of my excitement about finding amazing ocean plants and animals.  They even act like they are listening to my lectures.  They nod and smile, and rarely even walk away while I'm talking.

I want to be like these people!  The raft barely floated, but they had a great time.
Damon looks like a real water badass here.  Nice hat!
Kayaking was great.   The sun was warm, the wind wasn't too strong, and the waters were quiet. Although I was concerned about getting sucked out the inlet at the Charlestown Breachway, my kayaking skills (and everyone else telling me I was being silly) got me through and we headed west along the barrier island until lunch started to call to us.  It's a good thing everyone around me was so capable, because I found nothing cool and they found everything cool:  swimming scallops, giant lady horseshoe crabs, hermit crabs, and spider crabs.  I just raced around grabbing up the treasures everyone else found.

Cool thing #1 about scallops:  They have blue eyes.  Lots of them.  Or at least eye-spots.  See them?  Cool thing #2:  They can swim.  Check out the videos below!

Ken found this big lady -- and then Kathy found another.  We know it's a lady because it's so big!
She doesn't pinch or sting, but she is strong and can scratch.
I wasn't put off by that!  Here she is in her glory -- book gills!
And her mouth -- in the middle of her legs!

Ooooo! What's this?   Spider crab!
What better way to end a day on the water than with some beer and "buck-a-shuck".  This buck-a-shuck is perhaps my new favorite thing -- $1 oysters, with several varieties to choose from.  We ordered three dozen and pretty soon were slurping them down and comparing their qualities.

The source of said oysters.  Ninigret Pond is chock-full of oyster farms!  That's my kind of aquaculture.

When in Rome . . . 
. . . do as the Romans do.  And love it.

Now this isn't from Rhode Island!  Not anymore.  That's from Maine, I'll bet my last oyster!
It's hard to believe summer is almost over.  I'm here in my office, cleaning and thinking about the prep I need to do before the semester starts.  Soon, the students will return with their wonderful energy.  The days will grow hectic, and we'll start to feel autumn approaching.  And in only a couple of months, we'll be back to short days and snow.  On those days, I like to pull up posts like this one and remember it'll all come back around eventually.  Hopefully it'll include a warm day with Ken and Kathy -- with some seafood thrown in for good measure.
Isn't this how it's supposed to work?


  1. what a cool outing! scallops..horseshoe crabs..oysters on the half shell..nasty ' kind of day..

  2. That 'gansett was good at the end of the day!