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Ocean to Table

We rely so much on food for calories and satisfaction, how often do we actually think about where it comes from? What if we had to put in the effort to get it straight from the source? We tested out this question on a beautiful sunny Sunday. Our main objective? Crabs. Dungeness crabs.

Crabbing in Washington

Photos by Greg Balkin, Words by Stephanie Wright

The other night I went to the grocery store and got a cup of soup, a small loaf of cornbread, a chocolate chip cookie and a peach for dinner. Not a bad haul for $8.50. Getting this food took zero effort save for the walk down the street to my local market.  Some days (actually, most) my schedule seems to revolve around food. I check my fridge for my morning rations, stop by the store for a quick lunch, open a bag of popcorn for a mid-afternoon snack and throw together random ingredients for dinner. However, we rely so much on food for calories and satisfaction, how often do we actually think about where it comes from? What if we had to put in the effort to get it straight from the source?

We tested out this question on a beautiful sunny Sunday. Our main objective? Crabs. Dungeness crabs.

Setting up Oru Kayaks

Crabbing with kayaks

Carrying Oru Kayak

From Seattle, we grabbed some friends and headed up towards the Canadian border to a quaint hippy town called Bellingham. We got to the beach and unloaded our gear.

Our arsenal consisted of turkey legs, crab pots, rope and an array of both the Bay and the Coast kayaks. After some quick assembly, we eagerly paddled our boats a safe distance from shore and dropped a pot. In case our first spot was a dud, we paddled another 100 yards out to sea, dropped a second pot to ensure maximum crabbage and headed back to shore.

Kayak paddle strokes

Paddling Oru Kayaks

Good things take time and crabbing is no exception. We made sure our basecamp was filled with activities to pass the time.  Juggling, volleyball, spikeball… you name it, we were throwing it in the air. After only an hour or so we got impatient and decided to check the pots.

Kayaking camping

Beach camping

Oru Kayak on the beach

We hopped back in our boats and congregated above the first pot. We pulled and pulled and pulled the rope up, the pot getting heavier as it reached the surface. To our surprise, the bottom of the cage was covered in prehistoric, rusty red specimens. A successful quest. According to Washington State law, you can’t keep crabs less than 6 ¼ inches wide so we threw a few of the smaller ones back into the ocean and filled our bucket with the rest. Lucky for us, our second pot was just as prosperous.  

Crabbing in Pacific Northwest

Oru Kayak in the ocean

Paddling an Oru Kayak

Oru Kayak cost

What is an Oru Kayak?

We brought the crabs back to shore where we checked them again for size, killed them (quickly) and cleaned them.  We cooked them at the beach in a pot of salt water and spices, and enjoyed the tender meat with a Pacific Northwest IPA. The fact that our food traveled just over 200 yards to get to our plates was miraculous, even better than farm to table.  This was truly fresh seafood. No farms or antibiotics, just a crew of curious friends with a few kayaks willing to put in the work.

Washington crabbing

Crabbing in Washington

Camping with kayaks

Oru Kayak camping

Crabbing with kayaks