Pat and I joined our Probus hiking club yesterday for the annual hike to Sandy Island to gather oysters.  We drive south to take the ferry to Denman Island (which is just off the coast from us.)  Then you drive on gravel roads to a spot near the north end of Denman Island.  Hike to the bluffs, climb down to the beach, hike a kilometer north on the beach to reveal the neck of land that is only revealed at very low tide in May and June that leads to the Sandy Island.

The official hike then takes the kilometer on the exposed land to the little island where you wander through sandy meadows covered with flowers with great views of the mountains and glacier.  Then you hike back through the stretch that is normally under ocean, where you find acres of oysters and other sea creatures.

I have a fishing license that allows me to harvest 15 oysters.  This year I knew to wear a back pack to carry this treasure home.  These are not the little tiny oysters that you see at expensive oyster bars… these are the real thing.  The size of softballs.  But as they are in the wild they have massive encrustations attached to them.  Mussels and rocks and barnacles cover them.  I brought along a chipping hammer to clean them before Pat put them in the bag in my backpack.  Still at the end I had at least 30 lbs of oysters in my pack as we made our way back to Denman Island.

There our base crew (made up of the guys who are smarter than me so do not to take the field trip through the flowers) had built a fire.  When we arrived they had lots of oysters in the embers and we shucked them open and consumed.  We had been 2 hours hiking around Sandy Island, while the guys at the base had been harvesting, building the fire, drinking wine and bbqing oysters.

We had to leave early as Pat and I had a Miata event, so we left the group and trudged back the 1 km to the 100 meter staircase that takes you up the bluff and the short hike to our car.  Let me say that with the 30 lbs of oysters on my back and the sunshine, I was tuckered by the time I arrived at our vehicle.  There we had a cooler loaded with ice to accept our oysters.

It is the next day and Pat and I are enjoying the oysters cooked on the bbq.  As you see from the pictures, these are not the small oysters you get at a restaurant, these are massive.  The instructions you may have learned on how to open an oyster, using a shucking knife and then levering them open at the base, do not apply.  You have to use a chisel and hammer to break through the hinge and then you use the shucking knife.  What comes out is a huge beast.  I doubt if Donald Trump gets to experience these.  You have to work to get them, but they taste delicious.  No way you swallow one down whole, you would choke.  You carve it like an oyster steak.

First picture is the array of oysters I opened tonight.  The shucking knife is 6 inches long to give you perspective.  The second picture is an opened oyster.  The third is the massive monster hanging on my knife.  The final picture is the pearl that Pat found in one of her oysters.  I think I found one as well but swallowed it.

An adventure meal.  Delicious.

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