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Crab season sees good start despite weather

Posted: Wednesday, Dec 15th, 2010

Randy Ripka, left, and David Stringer from the F/V Western Breeze show Danielle Johnston and Alexis Stringer - who’s “almost four” - a pair of hefty Dungeness crabs from among the haul the vessel brought in very early Tuesday morning. Stringer said the crew and vessel were out since Dec. 9, weathering the storm that battered the coast for the past few days. (Photo by Terry Dillman)

Folks with forks at the ready, anticipating fresh Dungeness crab for the holiday season, can finally relax, don the bibs, and prepare to feast.

Crabbers, who were delayed by the price negotiation process even though the 2010-2011 season officially opened as expected on Dec. 1, were out in force this past weekend dropping gear and hauling in crabs, despite horrendous weather conditions. Some of them literally weathered the storm.

David Stringer, a deckhand aboard the F/V Western Breeze, said they went out Dec. 9 and stayed out, battening down the hatches, yet working through what he called “a Pacific hurricane” that battered boat and crew. Fresh replacement boards in the aft deck silently testified to the storm’s ferocity, and a diver busied himself beneath the boat Tuesday afternoon to make sure things were shipshape below the water line.

“We rode through it,” Stringer noted. “We got it done.”

The crew returned to the Newport docks at about 3 a.m. Tuesday morning with the hold brimming with fresh, full Dungeness crabs. Stringer and crewmate Randy Ripka said the vessel would head out again today (Wednesday), ready for anything the ocean and nature could throw at them.

Timing is essential for crabbers, not only to cash in on the lucrative holiday market, but to stay ahead of nature’s whims.

For the complete article see the 12-15-2010 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 12-15-2010 paper.

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