Oysters, Alabama Style



When I was a kid, my dad, a traveling salesman, came home on the weekends. He drove all over the South, mostly small towns far from cities, from North Carolina to Florida and all the way to Mississippi.

Whenever he went through the Florida Panhandle and the Gulf Coast of Alabama he sometimes brought home oysters. Tired with roadburn, he’d pull into the driveway on a Friday evening and open the trunk of his old Mercedes diesel to reveal a bushel of Apalachicola oysters in a big burlap sack. We’d stand in the driveway in the twilight and eat them right out of the trunk.

Then we’d haul them around back in a wheelbarrow and invite all the neighbors over. Steam some on the grill under the same wet burlap, eat more raw. Oyster stew. Fried oysters. Oysters for days.

A great article in

The Bitter Southerner


“He beat the guy with a baseball bat, set him up in a rocking chair, and then shot him,” Brent says. “You might not want to get that graphic. You could just say it didn’t end well.”










Janes Island ~ Bright Sun, Big Downwind

 Harris with a tailwind in Mabu


It’s now gusting over 20 knots, and waves are building quickly. With the second reef tied in, and the chicken jibe out of the way, we have the wind and waves spanking us in the backside. Essentially this is now a five boat drag race across the river, all running for the mouth of the canal.

We’re way out ahead because we started first, but the other boats are coming really fast. It’s not a dead downwind run, which is no fun, but a very broad reach. Still, the Caledonia is amazingly well-behaved. This is probably the biggest wind Harris has had the boat in so far, and I can tell he’s both nervous about how she’ll handle and pleased with the results. Whitecaps are starting to break around us, charging in from the Sound.


Continue reading

Janes Island ~ Bright Sun, Big Wind Video


direct Youtube Link 

This is video from the morning and early afternoon, up to just before the wind really kicked up and we decided to tie in another reef.

Great sailing. Here’s the whole track:



The next post and video will pick up where this leaves off.


Janes Island ~ Bright Sun, Big Wind

Harris at the tiller of Mabu 


Unlike last time we were here, there is no argument over which direction we’ll go today: North. The wind will continue out of the Northwest – sensible in the morning but build steadily throughout the day to something very unsensible. I’ve always heard old sailors say the wind is strongest on the backside of a cold front. This prediction bears that out.

Based on the forecast, I plan to explore the marshes inside Janes Island in the Melonseed, staying clear of big water, but Harris suggests I ride with him. He has a sparkling new Caledonia Yawl, Mabu, bulit by Geoff Kerr of Two Daughters Boatworks in Maine. Sounds good to both of us. I’ll be free to take photos again, and he might like two sets of hands when the wind pipes up, especially in a new ride. Continue reading

Janes Island ~ Amphibious Interlude


They’ve redone all the bathrooms at the park. Now they’re nicer than we have at home. Pretty sad when taking the wife for a camping trip is a step up in the world.

So nice, that critters have taken up residence. This little fellow greeted us in the showers in the morning. I stood in the door to the stall, staring at this thing on the wall, trying to get my half-caffeinated brain to register what it was. Too compact for a spider. Shiny and green. Are any spiders shiny and green?

It moved. It dropped with a plop. A Green Tree Frog,  Hyla cinerea, and a pretty big one. Dude was having a tough go of it. Scalding hot water would probably do him in. I scooped him up and put him in the shaving kit while the cleansing operation proceeded.



Turned him loose by the campsite. He took a shine to the water jug before heading off into the woods.