Monday, August 4, 2014

Whidbey Weekend: Pedis, Fishing, and Crabs

Last weekend, we packed up and headed northwest to spend the night with Eric's parents. A trip to Whidbey is always a fun adventure, this trip was no exception. The exception to this trip was how much we crammed into the time we were on the island.

Eric's mom had the brilliant idea of us girl-types getting pedicures while we were together. Originally, she suggested she and I get them done while Eric, his dad, and the kids were on the boat, not realizing I'd offered to help Eric with the kids on the boat. Quick as a whip, she then suggested that we take Annika for a pedicure, too. This was Annika's first pedicure (aside from us putting nailpolish on her at home) and she loved every second of the experience. The salon had two pedicure chairs designed just for kids, and they had DVD players next to the kid chairs. Brilliant! Annika liked her pedicure so much that she asked the gal painting her toenails to paint her fingernails, too. We walked out of the salon incredibly pampered feeling ... and ready to show the world our gorgeous toes.

Many people tend to choose low-impact activities after getting their nails done. Not us! We headed to the water and went crabbing and fishing! Eric's dad (aka Jack/Bestefar) took Annika fishing for the first time last summer and Conor was feeling left out of the "I've gone fishing" group. So this summer, both kids got to go fishing on Bestefar's boat. We geared up, slopped up with sunblock, tried on our life jackets, and headed out to the boat launch.

Fishergirl Annika.. ready for action!

While Eric and Jack launched the boat, the kids and I did a little beach combing and practiced skipping rocks in the water.  The kids found plenty of interesting shells and even more rocks that were happily flung into the Puget Sound.

Annika working on her rock skipping technique

Conor opted for "biggest splash" instead of skipping his rocks

Annika's beach combing treasure

Conor's beach combing finds

Eric waiting for Jack to join us on the boat

Jack and Eric ... ready for a kid-filled, water-based boating adventure

Once it was show time, we boarded the boat and set off to check the crab pots Jack had dropped the night before. Both kids got a turn to drive the boat (much to their great pleasure). Bestefar taught them how to read the GPS display on the dashboard (do boats had dashboards??) and steer the boat in the direction of the crab pot coordinates. Unfortunately for us, the first pot was picked by someone else (the big jerky crab thieves!!), so we didn't get any goodies from that pot. The second pot, however, was teaming with crabs. Take that, you crab swipers!

After re-baiting and re-dropping the crab pots, we started the fishing portion of our adventure. We set out in hopes of catching salmon. No such luck. We did, however, manage to catch two dog fish, so the kids were able to say they caught something, at least. The fish were anything but biting... poor Jack had to work an insanely long time to even snag a second dog fish so both kids could have the bragging rights of catching a fish. 

Without a doubt, Annika's Norwegian heritage shows when she's on the boat with Bestefar. She's intrigued with the entire process and thinks fishing is great fun. She rarely (if ever) expresses boredom. She pays attention to everything Jack does, from prepping the bait and putting it on the hooks, to reading the GPS, to understanding how the water changes based on tides. Conor, on the other hand, was a bit less enthusiastic about sitting still, waiting, and ummmm... waiting some more. He did great when we were crabbing because there was lots going on, but the fishing part wasn't nearly as interesting for him. Maybe next year, when he's a bit older, he'll think it is more interesting for a longer amount of time.

Eventually, we called our fishing excursion a bust, collected the crabs from the pots that we baited at the beginning of our outing, and headed back to land. Our final tally for the day was 2 dog fish (not kept), 8 crabs (keepers... threw many that were too small or female back), 2 pinched fingers (Eric and Jack both got a finger caught by a crab ... this was Jack's first pinched finger in 50 years! Eric's crab got him so hard that it broke through his fingernail!!) 

When we got back to the house, Jack whacked the crabs (when you kill a person, you say they're sleeping with the fishes ... when you kill a crab, do you say it is sleeping with the people??) and then we boiled them up and popped 'em in the fridge. The next day, I spent over 2 hours shelling crab. At that point, I was really glad we hadn't caught any more of those tasty critters. :)

We are so grateful for the fun day, yummy crab, and treasured memories. At one point while we were on the boat, Jack and one of the kids were driving the boat, and I had the almost core-of-my-being desire that the kids hold onto the memories from the day. I hope they store details like how much their Bestefar loves the water, fishing, and crabbing; how he taught them how to bait crab pots; and how happy they were on this day waaaaaay down deep in their memory banks so they can recall a wonderful day. Yes, I got a bit nostalgic that day.... and I hope they can be nostalgic about it one day, too.

Hey kids: Your grandparents are amazing people who love you dearly. Remember that .... always!!!
Conor and Annika ready to set sail

Annika driving the boat
Eric and Annika pulling up the crab pot

The sea's bounty

Eric and Jack measuring the crabs to ID the keepers

We'll call you two "Crab Cakes" and "Tasty"

Bestefar and Capt. Conor, at your service


Bestefar, Annika, and Conor on the Puget Sound

Eric and Conor trolling

Our happy boating girl

"It was thiiiiiis big"

Annika and Bestefar taking us to the crab pots

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