While we enjoy returning to the lower 48, we’re not quite ready for the rat race. So we scoot over to the Washington coast, and on a whim, stumble upon  a seafood shop – East Point Seafoods. Hoards of fresh oysters hide in their shell and entice us…the price is right at $7.00 per dozen.

“Are there any motels with kitchens around here?” Mare asks.

“Yes, right down the street at the Seaquest,” the lady looks at me. “You’d better buy a shucking knife.” She senses Mare’s passion for oysters.

I purchase my first shucking knife, and head out armed with 2 dozen Kumamoto oysters in search of a motel with a kitchen sink. We have stumbled upon the oyster capital of the world, South Bend, Washington, located along Willapa Bay in Pacific County. We cop the last available room with a kitchen in this small town. We shall shuck and drink, and then drink and shuck.

Several small towns sit among the mud flats and waters of Willapa Bay. Factories harvest freshly farmed oysters by the millions, in fact they provide one out of six oysters consumed in the US. They plant the seed on private intertidal beds and the oysters do the rest with their strange sex life…

All Kumamato oysters are born as males. They release massive amounts of sperm which murk the waters. Many of the males mature into females after mating season. Essentially, they have sex and reproduce quite solo…and I think about how difficult things were, back when I hunted to mate, around 1970 BI (Before Internet). However, I’m glad that I did not turn into a female.

We venture to Longbeach, Washington, where Alaska Jack gets back to the Pacific ocean and dives for rocks and driftwood…then it’s off to a larger seafood shop, “Seasonal Seafoods” where fresh oysters only cost $4.50 per dozen. Here, we stock-up for the remainder of our stay.

Mare runs Jack in the muddy rivers where he dives for oyster shells. Then she wanders around South Bend to capture some photos. Old “Invisible Man” games and eerie dolls crowd the local craft shop “Creepy Beautiful.”

At the Pacific County Courthouse, a probationer tells her, “They should’ve let tweakers steal the copper roof. When they remodeled, they got peanuts for the copper. An insurance claim for theft would’ve given a better price.”

In the morning we purchase two dozen more oysters to go, along with five pounds of steamer clams and two dozen razor clams. We will share the harvest with sister Pat and brother Frank in Portland, where I will use my knife one last time.

Yes, the world is my oyster…more accurately, “The world is whatever I make of it.” I guess it comes as no surprise that Mare is flying to Rome in a few days to join her sister on a two-week Western Mediterranean cruise. I shall stay in Oregon to cat/apartment sit and enjoy quality time with the brother-in-laws at the Springdale and Brass Rail taverns. Or, perhaps I shall hibernate in Pat’s apartment like a bear…or should I say an oyster?

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