Monday, May 24, 2010

Mussel Gathering on the Oregon Coast

We went mussel gathering - wanna see the pictures?
People have been eating local mussels from the rocks of the Pacific NW for longer than I can imagine. Come low tide, they are easy pickings and a nutritious tasty treat. There are ancient Native American shell middens found along the Oregon Coast - they offer evidence of people eating mussels (and throwing away the shells in giant heaps) for thousands of years. I find this fascinating! And I happen to love mussels (or shellfish of any kind) - so this seemed like a fun adventure to try!

All it took was a visit to the local Bi-Mart in Lincoln city with our drivers license and whatnot. Friendly exchanges of social security numbers for tidal chart books. No problem. $7/per person and we can now hunt shellfish (with limits) for one year. The next day low tide (during daylight) was around 1:30pm.
Indeed we noticed low tide starting around noon and so we headed down to the beach. Irregardless of the nasty weather (ie clouds, rain and wind) we headed off with only a sand pail and our licenses. The rocks were neat - the Oregon coast line is amazing. For lack of sounding cheesey - it felt like being at an aquarium. Honestly I have spent a lot of time with the ocean, but I've never sought out low tide on purpose and headed into rock formations to find food - it was a totally new perspective! At first we looked on the North side of the rocks... not much... the South side turned out to be where the party was at! Look at all these mussels! It was incredible - so many mussels! Unfortunately we had not thought to bring gloves or knives/chizzles or scissors.. so we had to use our vulnerable fingers and man-oh-man those mussels hold on tight! Those mussel beards are strong. However humans are stronger! Me and Tim are stubborn - once I started to play tug-of-war with one of those fuckers I wasn't about to let the mussel win! For realz. No matter the sharp barnacles and slippery stuff. The cold weather made my fingers numb, so that helped.

In the end we obtained a small amount of mussels. No worries though - we probably picked about 2 dozen before we gave up (we were soaked and frozen - you would have thought it was December!). They were a fun taste-test. We know we need more tools if we do it again. Good weather wouldn't hurt either.


1 comment:

Nickname unavailable said...

Enjoyed your mussels post-- maybe you 'd be interested in sharing it on the website of the Oregon Coast Visitors Association. You can post the article and photos here:
http://visittheoregoncoast.com/stories/share/
We are always looking for stories from people who share our enthusiasm for the delights of the Coast!