Posted tagged ‘Eden AU’

Oysters In Eden

October 1, 2019

In the tiny town of Eden, Australia I went on an oyster farming tour. Since we’ve tried our hand at growing oysters at home on the island I was eager to see how it’s done in this part of the world.

A group of us from the ship got on this oyster punt with a guy who calls himself Captain Sponge. Despite the goofy name, he’s as knowledgeable and articulate an oyster farmer as you could ever hope to meet, and he regaled us for several hours with fun oyster facts as we motored gently around Lake Pambula.

He farms about seven acres of Sydney rock oysters, a process that begins with catching the spat of these wild oysters that hug the shore and sequestering it for his annual production of about million oysters a year.

He uses a floating bag system to raise the oysters

in a relatively shallow environment. He wades in amongst the silt and eel grass to tend his bags, avoiding the occasional shark.

Here he pulls out some of his crop to show us their various sizes and attributes. Then he feeds a couple of platefuls to us, and happy slurping sounds can be heard running quietly through the group.

Back in town I visit the Killer Whale Museum, which is dedicated to a most peculiar bit of whaling history. Between 1843 and 1934 local orcas helped the resident humans hunt other species of migrating whales by herding them into Twofold Bay and trapping them there, until humans could dispatch them. As a reward the orcas were given their favorite bits of the butchered whales, the lips and tongues, and so the cycle continued. Honestly, I couldn’t make this up.

The centerpiece of the museum is the skeleton of Old Tom, the orca who is said to have been the chief Hunter’s Helper. This might be the only museum ever to have been dedicated to an individual marine mammal, and I found it fascinating.

After my visit, walking back down a long and winding hill road to the ship, and keeping a sharp eye out for snakes, I saw instead these parrots grazing contentedly on someone’s lawn.

Not having had lunch myself, grazing seemed in order. I stopped at a restaurant near the ship where I had heard they had good mussels. Alas, the restaurant was upstairs, and my sore knee didn’t feel up to the climb. However, this charming lady, a friend of the restaurant owner, was determined that I should have lunch, and brought me a chair to sit on the sidewalk, where she told me to wait while she fetched a table. A fellow passenger walked past and stopped when she saw me sitting essentially in the middle of the road. I invited her to dine with me, and so a stool was produced so that she too could sit.

Next thing you know mussels, oysters, and wine appeared in front of us, and I like to think that our impromptu and very much al fresco meal was the envy of all the passengers streaming past our sidewalk picnic on their way back to the ship. I can only conclude that Australians are amazing.