When it's calm, you can really notice how clear the water is. The lack of algae makes Hood Canal a relatively lean place to grow shellfish... but that's o.k. because growing slow helps with oyster deliciousness, giving them a clean yet complex flavor.
The beach crew picks oyster clusters for shucking into the metal tubs. Single oysters are picked by size into 10, 5, or 3 dozen color-coordinated bags. Barge operators dunk the slings several times to wash away mud and any hitchhikers, but still hermit crabs, sculpin, and shore crab come up with the oysters and need to be swept back to sea. For some reason the fall colors are amazing this year. If you're anywhere in Western Washington, you should take time to drive somewhere maple-y this week.