Lagoon Island Pearl Farm

There are definitely enough of us here on the west coast to organize a posse and come up to check out that gorgeous area and your farm and meet you! Probably next summer------------

That would be great!

Although the scenery and seafood are always extraordinary, the basic farm infrastructure is only in genus stages.

That said, the lagoon itself, is SPECTACULAR!!! Unlike tide pools, the reaches of the lagoon are broad and shallow, allowing visitors a hands on experience of rare creatures, color, archaeology, and nature. Year round.
 
Beautiful, Dave. Beautiful! I would absolutely adore visiting your side of Canada... Hi guys :) !!! Summer here in Nova Scotia too, but I haven't had much time for my own mydulis e pearl hobby.

I am very much enjoying reading about your journey Dave. You have beautiful photos too.

Pierrette
 
Oh, Pattye I am so IN on that trip!! The pacific NW is the most beautiful place in the world IMHO... Man I wanna go back to Alaska now so bad!!

Post as many pictures as you want, Dave- I will greedily continue staring! ;)
 
I haven't had much time for my own mydulis e pearl hobby.

Pierrette

Do you have any photos of your edulis pearls?. The blues here rarely produce naturals. In fact, I've never seen a single one, other than micoscopic size. However, just yesterday I did observe some shell changes in an over-mature specimen. There were a couple of thin blisters from parasites.

Here, blues grow fast, die soon.. often less than two years. Paper thin shells and small meat.
 
With summer, comes plankton. Foggy mornings and hot sunny afternoons have caused a huge proliferation of plankton in the water column this week.

Although the water runs red, it's not really a "red tide" in the sense that ingesting bivalves would lead to paralytic shellfish poisoning. Only warm-blooded animals are affected by PSP, not shellfish itself. Lab testing is done by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and guaged in "mouse units" depending on the limits of tolerance of living animals. At best, it's a day to day study, but I prefer a more time-honored method of testing. Traditionally, the natives of the region would dig a few clams, lay them in the open and stand back to observe the behavior of crows. Normally, crows LOVE clams, by dropping them from a great height on to rocks. When crows ignore them, it's prudent to do the same.

Aside from diatoms, dynoflagellates make up the next largest body of eukaryotic algae in our northern waters. The toxic components of PSP often come from Gonyaulax sp., which are not evident in large concentrations (at this time).The neighbouring oyster growers are on pins and needles though, because they are in harvest mode.

For me, I couldn't be more delighted. Plankton means food, and food means growth!
 

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The plankton in the bay is heavy.

Pilchards swam in dense schools in the bay, until the seals showed up. They feasted a week or so until the jellyfish moved in. They don't sting like the southern varieties, but do cause some minor irritation.
 

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Ryley takes a coffee break.

He's soon to be a site manager and wild stock harvesting foreman.
 

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Again, for those gastronomics... How about a few steamed clams with wild sea asparagus salad?

August is peak salmon season, so I'll be loading up with enough lox, Indian candy and hot smoke for visitors (hint hint).

I'm also really eager to harvest a stash of fresh chanterelle mushrooms, which will start in September after a few of the first rains. Likewise truffles, but that's a little later in the season.
 

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In the process of restablishing my leases, I overcame a huge hurdle yesterday. Normally, all lease development in the area has been suspended for new applications, but the feds/province will entertain a re-application.

The experimental permits have been issued, to allow the science to continue.

Also, I have been in contact with the local first nations band with respect to land use. They have a lease a mile to the north of the lagoon, which was intended to produce "half shell" oysters. However well intended, half shells don't grow properly in submerged trays. The shells are too thin to shuck properly and often crumble. Beach oysters are much better suited for this purpose.

With that, they have a vacant site and lots of floats, trays and equipment, which are unused at present. This meshes well with fair trade principles, traditional land use and economic development opportunities. It also greatly speeds up the application process and indicates approval from concerned stakeholders.
 
Dave,
Thank you for sharing. I thoroughly enjoyed the jellyfish photo. Can you send some sea asparagus? ;)
 
Can you send some sea asparagus? ;)

Haha! It's really delicious. I often munch on it raw, when I stroll the meadows between the lab and the lagoon. It proliferates when the summer high tides touch the grasses.

It has a green bean flavor when raw and slightly nutty when blanched.

A few teaspoons of balsamic vinegar and a touch of olive oil, makes for a lovely side dish.
 
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I had raw sea asparagus prepared with blue marlin and masago. I really like the texture and its crunchiness.
 
The first major storms of the season are hitting the coast.

It's days like today, when I'm glad to have selected a site with protection from wind, as opposed to longer daily sunlight. While the outer coast is battered with 40-50 knot gales, we are nestled calmly at the foot of the lagoon, experiencing only minor gusts and some surge.

All floating assets are secure and though there is no inventory to speak of, all the experiments are alive and well.
 

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It's great to hear that your location is fairly sheltered. And I love the moody photo. You are surrounded by great beauty, which should inspire your efforts to produce marine beauties. ;)
 
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