Sustainable Oyster Farming, DBOC style – Stewardship concluded, thankfully

Please click the words above “Sustainable Oyster Farming, DBOC style ….” to see this entire post.

Happy new year.

1 January came around and I had no choice but to go enjoy the first day of an unimproved Estero.

The first thing to catch one’s eye is the new sign out on SFD….


Here is an image of this same spot on 24 Feb., 2013
Johnsons-DBOC spacers

Driving down to the put-in, the empty parking-lot surprised me, not another boater out enjoying this auspicious new year.

There was a large truck poised to haul out another load of stewardship.

Unloading my boat, odd specks in the water caught my eye.

Remains of a barge DBOC crushed into pieces while in the Estero so they could remove it. Too bad they left thousands of pieces of foam to further pollute The Estero.

Remains of a barge DBOC crushed into pieces while in the Estero so they could remove it. Too bad they left thousands of pieces of foam to further pollute The Estero.

Wow, it looked as if they had destroyed one of their barges and left the shards of foam as one last gift.

After putting my boat in the water and paddling around to photograph the mess, the truck driver on-shore informed me that they had indeed crushed a barge into pieces so they could lift it out of the water.

He then asked me if I could fetch the large wooden piece of barge still floating in The Estero and bring it to him so he could take care of that. I said sure and paddled over to it, threw a leg over it and paddled to shore dragging what must have weighed a few hundred pounds. He thanked me, as did I him.

After reading the comments made by one of the managers of DBOC at the “wake” held Saturday in Point Reyes Station, “The company, which also raised Manilla clams, has removed every oyster from the water in compliance with the terms of the settlement, according to Ginny Cummings, the farm’s manager.

We have taken anything out and with as much care as we always used in our operations,” Cummings said.”,

I can confirm that the same care was used in dismantling the operation as was used in running it.

As I returned from my short boating excursion, paddling against the strong ebb tide, thousands upon thousands of chunks of foam drifted with the tide, towards the mouth of The Estero. I picked up a few dozen of the larger pieces as I hurried ashore to meet a dear friend who was coming to visit.

Thankfully, the variety of stewardship practiced by The Drakes Bay Oyster Company, and their workers for the past 30+ years will no longer impact a landscape that needs no improving whatsoever.

The grebes seen below can once again be grebes, unencumbered by the deep respect of DBOC.

As always, click on an image to see a larger version.

apologies for low quality iphone video of the mess

apologies for low quality iphone video of the mess

Horned Grebe

Horned Grebe

Eared Grebe

Eared Grebe

Birds of Tomales Bay

Click on the title of this post to read it and see a related header image.

The bay was flat and the wind was light. A great day to paddle around and see what is going on.

Black-crowned night heron

Most of the birds spook rather easily, even when I am hundreds of feet from them. So I am learning to keep far away from the large groups of what I think are a mix of sea-ducks, else they lift with a great roar and move to a new location.

Black-crowned night heron

A group of grebes took flight, though one remained, committed to finding food. So I tagged along for over an hour watching and making pictures and video. At first I kept back 30-40 feet and kept my paddle noise to a minimum. Over time that distance shrank and shrank. Eventually the tiny bird would paddle right up to my boat, nibbling at my paddle and the boat to see if it was edible. It was fearless as it swam along. Eventually I had to leave this adorable bird and head over across the bay. It would have been easy to spend the rest of the day watching this tiny bird paddle around and dive for food.

Horned grebe

Horned grebe

Horned grebe….well, it was there a moment ago.

A few boats were out and about, as well as many small to medium sized planes. One large, vintage military twin-radial completely dominated the landscape and shut down any idea of gathering video footage. The cold, dense, calm winter air makes for great flying if you are inside the plane. For anyone outside the plane near, or far, not so great.

Brown pelicans in flight

I came upon a large water-logged log, perhaps eighteen feet long, bobbing in the water smack dab in the middle of the bay. Surely not a good thing to hit with a small Boston Whaler at 30 MPH. Having never towed anything with my kayak yet, I tied a rope to it and tried to pull it out of the shipping lanes. I may as well have tied my boat to a living tree, firmly rooted in the ground. After 2-3 minutes of pulling hard and going essentially nowhere, I untied my rope and wished the log, and all boats venturing near it a good day.

Here is a one minute video of some of the bouncy footage I recorded from my boat.