Mussel Man

We've picked mussels at Okane bay on the Banks Peninsula before, but it had been nearly a year.  The weather was predicted to be unseasonably fine and low tide was conveniently at noon,  so we braved the car-sickening twisting roads to the remote bay and made a day of it.  The green lipped mussels (romantic, eh?) are at the far end of an old wharf road that is now falling into the ocean.  This is my kind of fishing--no luck or chance involved--the mussels are just waiting there on the rocks to be picked when the tide is low enough and the sea is calm enough.

We’ve picked mussels at Okane bay on the Banks Peninsula before, but it had been nearly a year. The weather was predicted to be unseasonably fine and low tide was conveniently at noon, so we braved the car-sickening twisting roads to the remote bay and made a day of it. The green lipped mussels (romantic, eh?) are at the far end of an old wharf road that is now falling into the ocean. This is my kind of hunting–no luck or chance involved–the mussels are just waiting there on the rocks to be picked when the tide is low enough and the sea is calm enough.

I say picking mussels is my kind of hunting, but this day I actually just sat on the warm sunny rocks with Milo and watched Jeremiah get wet.  Someone has to care for the kiddo.....

I say picking mussels is my kind of hunting, but this day I actually just sat on the warm sunny rocks with Milo and watched Jeremiah get wet. Someone has to care for the kiddo…..

I introduced Milo to the love of sea snails.  These things fascinate me.  I love the little rock pools they inhabit with the sun-warmed water.  I love picking them up to watch their door snap closed.  I love laying them upside down and watching their foot and feelers ooze slowly out to grip the rock and spin their shell back above their body.  Milo didn't have a lot of patience to wait for their re-emergence, but he did enjoy finding them and throwing them back into the deeper water, or relocating them to different pools.

I introduced Milo to the love of sea snails. These things fascinate me. I love the little rock pools they inhabit with the sun-warmed water. I love picking them up to watch their door snap closed. I love laying them upside down and watching their foot and feelers ooze slowly out to grip the rock and spin their shell back above their body. Milo didn’t have a lot of patience to wait for their re-emergence, but he did enjoy finding them and throwing them back into the deeper water, or relocating them to different pools.  He asked about eating them, but I told him they were too small….maybe not strictly true, but I like snails and don’t feel the need to eat them.

These rocks were actually sharp and unforgiving, full of barnacles.  Milo was an amazingly good sport about me keeping a constant hand on him.

These rocks were actually sharp and unforgiving, full of barnacles. Milo was an amazingly good sport about me keeping a constant hand on him.

Back at the beach Milo was in little boy heaven.  Sea worms make little sunken holes in the sand and though he never managed to catch one (neither did Mommy), he didn't tire of trying.

Back at the beach Milo was in little boy heaven. Sea worms make little sunken holes in the sand and though he never managed to catch one (neither did Mommy), he didn’t tire of trying.

His footprints always stop at the shells, which he picked up and tossed into our bucket.  He's still pigeon toed, and I'm duck-footed.  "Match; birds" as Milo would say.

His footprints always stop at the shells, which he picked up and tossed into our bucket. He’s still pigeon toed, and I’m duck-footed. “Match; birds” as Milo would say.

Splashing in tidal pools was the other major hit of the day.  "Leave no puddle un-splashed" was Milo's motto.  I remember the joy of kicking in shallow pools during family vacations at Cape Cod, and I'm glad Milo can experience something similar, even if he's missing the warmth and the crab bites and the cousins.

Splashing in tidal pools was the other major hit of the day. “Leave no puddle un-splashed” was Milo’s motto. I remember the joy of kicking in shallow pools during family vacations at Cape Cod, and I’m glad Milo can experience something similar, even if he’s missing the warmth and the crab bites and the cousins.

Milo was worried that my feet, disappearing down into the sand, were getting stuck.  He grabbed a leg and started tugging upwards.  Helpful little bugger!

Milo was worried that my feet, disappearing down into the sand, were getting stuck. He grabbed a leg and started tugging upwards. Helpful little bugger!

He didn't want to let his own feet ooze down too far beneath the surface, but he enjoyed hiding just his toes.

He didn’t want to let his own feet ooze down too far beneath the surface, but he enjoyed hiding just his toes.

Jeremiah was reticent to pick Milo up the conventional way because he was so soggy, and his pants got so wet that they wouldn't stay up....but we eventually made it back to the dry clothes awaiting us at the car.

Jeremiah was reticent to pick Milo up the conventional way because he was so soggy, and his pants got so wet that they wouldn’t stay up….but we eventually made it back to the dry clothes awaiting us at the car.

Here's a small portion of our day's take.  The limit is 50 mussels per person, so we got 150 of them and Jeremiah was kept busy cleaning and steaming them for the rest of the evening.  And no, we didn't eat them all at once.  We're giving some to friends and we'll try freezing some for later use.

Here’s a small portion of our day’s take. The limit is 50 mussels per person so we got 150 of them, and Jeremiah was kept busy cleaning and steaming for the rest of the evening.  You should have seen the state of the kitchen when he was done….  And no, we didn’t eat them all at once. We’re giving some to friends and we’ll try freezing some for later use.

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