Saturday, April 30, 2011

Spring Break with the Oneonta College Outdoor Club


Snapper wanted a Lowcountry experience for his group of girls from the Oneonta College Outdoor Club, and what better way than to spend the morning paddling in the estuary followed by an afternoon of fresh seafood from right out of the creek. After all, crabs fresh from the pot and oysters right off the bank might be the best way to re-fuel after a long paddle.

Zach Fischer and I instructed the girls on baiting a couple of crab pots to soak while we paddled out toward Morris Island lighthouse. Snapper and his group were on the tail end of their week long journey of paddling some of the most pristine waters in the coastal southeast, and today they would add another nine miles of paddling to their trip. And what a nine miles it was! The morning was a quiet glide, the air calm and still, the water’s surface like glass, and the silhouette of the lighthouse on the horizon growing bolder as we paddled on. A marsh hen announced high tide during lunch on Rat Island, and we watched dolphins feed in the creek as the tide fell on our way home.

Back at the hill, we pulled the crab pots to find a few big Jimmy blue crabs and three monster stone crabs. Oh the bounty of the estuary! Zach got the steamer going while I popped open a few oysters for some creek-side sushi, and I don’t believe I’ve ever seen oysters disappear quicker. We had certainly worked up quite an appetite.

Several of the group filled their bellies, and even some of the non-seafood lovers shucked a few oysters and cracked some claws. It was the end of a good, long day, and I think we all felt pretty salty and smelly and exhausted, but more than anything we were hungry. Besides, sometimes it’s nice to feel salty and smelly and exhausted after a good long day in a Lowcountry estuary.

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