I have a crazy love affair with crab…dungness crab to be specific. So much so that if I were to ever get a tattoo it will be a crab. Oh crabbies, why do I love you so much? Well, you are a hoot to catch, you scare me and you taste oh, so delicious. Delicate, sweet and slightly salty …who’d known something so scary and ugly would taste so wonderful.
We wait, wait wait for crabbing season to open in the San Juan Islands. Low crabatonin levels set in and sometimes the frozen crab in the freezers runs out. This horrific malaise, low crabatonin can only be cured with a big plate of fresh steamed crabs. Many a vacations on our boat have been planned around the opening crabbing weekend. This year was no exception and we were expecting several friends from Portland over the next few weeks to join us on Beach House. Our cruises were planned around our favorite crabbing spots and there was a lot of crab on the menu. Not to get to cocky, but I was pretty sure we would have an abundant harvest so I got busy perusing some favorite recipes and checking out a few new ones.
In anticipation of a crabby summer on the boat, 40 lbs of chicken hindquarters were purchased at Cash and Carry for a mere $25.10. Thankfully, we have friends in Anacortes with a big freezer who love crab too so we have a place to stash some of it. Yes, they will be paid in fresh crab…isn’t that an awesome deal!
Crabbing isn’t rocket science but there are a few tricks to getting a good harvest. Obviously, you need pots or rings and a location that is attractive to crabs. I won’t bore you with all the details but if you are curious follow this link to a great blog post on crabbing – https://skyaboveus.com/fishing/How-to-Catch-Dungeness-Crab
We were on a mission to get our pots in the water on opening day so we could have a big crab feed to celebrate our friends Steve and Donna’s 28th anniversary. The tides and currents for crabbing at Hunter Bay were perfectly aligned to their arrival schedule so we were loaded and underway by early afternoon. The guys had the pots in the water by 4 pm which gave us one productive pull before alternative dinner decisions would need to be made. There were cheers all around and a glass or two of champagne when 8 huge keepers were steaming away in the pot.
Dinner was simple but delicious, champagne, fresh steam crab, garden salad and garlic bread followed by lemon bars toppled with fresh raspberries, oh and more champagne.
The following day the crew cruised to Wescott Bay which is on the northwest side of San Juan Island. We anchored not far from the Wescott Bay Seafood as fresh oysters were on the appetizers menu that night. The dinner menu included Lemon Pasta with Crab served with a Caesar Salad. Creamy Lemon Pasta Recipe
There is plenty to see and do around San Juan Island so our two days flew by. Crabbing of course, a whaler trip to Roche Harbor for lunch and shopping, a hike around English Camp and some exploration via the whaler kept us busy. Bentley loves walking around the old English Camp, not because of the great historical value but rather to look for deer in the orchard and possibly scarf some deer poop. If you are more cultured than Bentley and actually enjoy history here are two links about the British/US occupation on the islands.
We took a break from crabbing to show our friends Roche Harbor and have lunch at the Madrona Bar and Grill. It is only a 15 minute ride in the whaler, so in no time flat we were seated on the deck with a killer Bloody Mary in hand. Not only was lunch great but Donna, the galley clean up slave got the afternoon off from dishes.
Back at the Beach House later, there was crab to crack as crabbing was very productive the last two days. Dinner was a Jalapeño Avocado Cream Soup topped with a huge mound of crab and garnished with chives and a radish. Ridiculously good! Avacado, Jalapeno and Crab Cream Soup Recipe
Our next destination was Prevost Harbor on Stuart Island which is one of our favorite anchorages and is definitely crabby. Our cruise from Wescott Bay to Prevost took us around the west side of Henry Island in Haro Strait up to Turn Point on Stuart Island, then on into Prevost Harbor. The water was flat and calm the entire cruise so we anchored Beach House just in time for lunch and a glass of wine.
It was so pretty we decide to cruise around to Reid Harbor where we eventually stayed for the next two nights. The crew decided to take a break from crab, crazy but true! For dinner we feasted on Smoked Pork Tacos with a spicy Ancho Cherry BBQ Sauce and a Southwest Slaw which Steve had prepared in Portland and brought with them. Crabbing was closed on Tuesday and Wednesday so we had plans to do the 6 mile hike to see the Turn Point Lighthouse and have a picnic lunchtime following day.
After a great 5 day crab cruise, we headed back to Anacortes to drop our crew and gear up for the next guest. No, I am not tired of crab yet!