Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Creel Boat Trip

What a fantastic day! We went out with Ian McWhinney on his fishing boat for a very educational, fun morning. Ian is a local fisherman that supplies shellfish to local buyers as well as the suppliers for major restaurants in London and on the continent. He and his wife also run a B & B and self catering cottages on Dry Island, a small privately owned island in Badachro Bay. Ian's family has been fishing these waters for generations.

We hopped on his boat and headed out to check the creels. He has approx. 900 in the loch and catches brown crab, velvet crab, prawns and many other sea creatures. Ian shared some of the history of the loch with us while in route and then we pulled up 2 sets of creels. In the first group, we found brown crab, velvet crab (devil crab), spiny starfish, cushion starfish, pipe fish, and a spider crab. In the second group we found langoustines, flounder and more starfish and crab. Ian was quick to point out the differences between each creature and showed us how he measures the shellfish to determine if they are keepers. He threw many back and said from a fisherman's perspective, he did not have a "good catch"; but for the Nicol family, we had a "brilliant" catch!

The boys loved being on the boat and asked Ian many questions. They loved picking up all the leftover bits of shell and shellfish on the boat to see what they'd found. Charlie really liked looking into the crates of live crab to check on them and see what they were doing. After Ian taught us about his fishing business, he toured a little more of the loch to tell us more history and then to search for seals. To our delight, he found a group soaking up the sun!

We could not have asked for a better way to spend a couple of hours on a holiday morning! Ian shared some of the catch with us so that we could have a feast tonight telling us how long to boil each crab and langoustine. Let me tell you, what a feast it was! The boys helped to prepare the boil and Ethan said it was a meal he would never forget. (even up there with his Uncle Chris' crawfish boils!)

Of course we had to sample the local fare on the way home so we had lunch in the bay at the Badachro Inn. Superb.

I knew Wednesday was looking up!