After realizing the summer was quickly slipping away, I spent the last three weeks exploring Newport and soaking in what it has to offer. There was a free screening of the documentary, Reluctant Radical, at the Newport Performing Arts Center followed by a Q&A with the director, Lindsey Grayzel, and the subject of the film, Ken Ward. The film offers the perspective of father and eco-activist Ken Ward by following him through: blocking the Shell icebreaker from leaving Portland Oregon, shutting down the U.S. tar sands oil pipeline, and the trial following his arrest. When framed by the fear of his son’s future given current oil consumption, Ward’s actions make sense. To view the film you can find or host a screening at https://www.thereluctantradicalmovie.com/ .
I also participated in the NOAA fish cutting party which was a huge success!! Three days were scheduled for fish processing but a great early turnout of volunteers cut the processing time in half. Over 1900 fish were processed, which included removing the stomachs and otoliths, as well tags and fin clips in some. While I have gutted and filleted fish before, searching for otoliths was a whole new challenge. Otoliths, tiny little ear bones the size of a sesame seed, slip from your tweezers in the blink of an eye escaping to a mess of brain and tissue. It was easy to become immersed in the search and all the more satisfying when the little piece was found, especially knowing the otoliths were being used to age the fish by counting growth layers like rings on a tree.
Up at a nearby café, Café Bosque, my roommate and I spent an evening with Ranger Ryan talking about marine debris along Oregon’s coast. He presented a slide show on the subject and then screened Chris Jordan’s Albatross the Film while providing commentary along the way. I am currently working on research outside of my Sea Grant project which investigates the presence of microplastics in seawater and zooplankton and it was nice to see the combination of art and science to help communicate such a hidden yet ubiquitous issue.
I went and checked out the historic Nye Beach neighborhood which was filled with live music. There was a band playing outside the Newport Visual Arts Center, another at the Taphouse at Nye Creek, and more at Nana’s Irish Pub! Nye Beach is a cute little area with a lot of shops and restaurants near the beach. I ended up taking my visiting family there for breakfast at Cafe Stephanie where we all had delicious breakfast burritos and complimentary scones.
I also finally made it to the Saturday farmers market with my roommate, where I stocked up on berries, salad, and tomatoes. There were so many good smelling food stands serving prepared food that next time I’ll have to remember to go hungry. Later that day, my roommate and I went crabbing on the public dock. We sat out in the sun, reading our books, and chatting with fellow crabbers for about four hours. We had some exciting catches of a couple Dungies that were just a little too small to keep. We ended up with 3 Red Rock crabs but realized we wouldn’t be around for dinner, so passed them along to our neighbors.
While my brother and sister-in-law were visiting we checked out the Aquarium Village, then went for a hike in Wilder, followed by a beer at the nearby Wolf Tree Brewery, and topped it off with dinner in Nye Beach. It was a lot of fun showing them around and exploring new places at the same time.
I am currently soaking in a little more Newport by eating some clam chowder I made from cockles gathered in Yaquina Bay. I have to say, it was a lot of work shucking and cleaning the cockles, but it is the best clam chowder I have ever had and am already planning when I can get back out and harvest more.
In other news, my summer project is complete! We ran the last experiment on Friday, but you’ll have to wait until the next blog post for all of the details.