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July 8, 2013 / JustinKays Porter

Mendocino Birthdays

For as long as I can remember, my family has gone camping near Mendocino, usually twice a year to coincide with the best conditions for abalone diving. This was tradition from before I was born all the way through high school. Then we all went our separate ways (i.e., college) and it was just too hard to get everyone in the same place on a weekend with good tides during ab season. So after a few year hiatus, I decided it was time to reinstate the annual Mendo trip! I was having abalone withdrawals…

Last year, we made the trip to Mendo on Justin’s birthday weekend. It was cold and foggy, but we still managed to gorge ourselves on abalone and wine. We even went wine tasting in Anderson Valley on the way home. However, with the wedding planning madness of last spring, we just couldn’t get our act together for Justin to dive. This year was a different story!

All bundled up with the birthday boy (2012)

All bundled up with the birthday boy (2012)

fog + food = typical Mendo (2012)

fog + food = typical Mendo (2012)

Justin got all set up to dive, AND it was sunny and warm. Like shorts and t-shirts warm. This is relatively unheard of for Mendo camping.  It’s more likely to rain sideways than be sunny. And this year it was my birthday, and I really couldn’t have asked for a better weekend.

Shorts and tees for the birthday girl this year

Shorts and tees for the birthday girl this year

SUN!

SUN!

Justin went diving and successfully “caught” his share of abs for our feast.  I’m not sure if you catch abalone, or what the term is… The abalone are like giant one sided clams. They have a big suction cup foot that attaches to the rock, and abalone divers have to pry them off the rocks. And I should specify: I don’t mean dive like scuba dive. I mean dive like free dive (no tanks, just one big breath), down to 10 or 15 feet where the abalone search and prying activities commence. Oh, and the water is absolutely freezing. You couldn’t convince me to go out there without a dry suit, and then I’m still not sure I would go! Needless to say, these abalone divers are savages. At least in my humble opinion.

what a savage. look at those abs!

what a savage. look at those abs!

more savagery and awesome abs :)

more savagery and awesome abs 🙂

So the men dove and the girls sat on the beach. After our morning festivities near the ocean, we went back to camp. We spent the afternoons playing games and prepping the abs. Then we feasted!

waiting for our men to bring back dinner :)

waiting for our men to bring back dinner 🙂

our "view" from the beach. can't really see much until they come in to shore...

our “view” from the beach. can’t really see much until they come in to shore…

the welcoming party

the welcoming party

yard games back at camp

yard games back at camp

abalone preparing and feasting. glorious!

abalone preparing and feasting. glorious!

Moral of the story: we camped, we indulged, and we conquered. Well, Justin conquered. Me, not so much. Still waiting for that dry suit…

Side note: we also went into town at some point. We popped in this really cool reclaimed wood shop that had Justin and my dad drooling (and my mom and I to a slightly lesser degree).  We also tried to go to a brewery in Fort Bragg, but the brewery didn’t open until 6pm on Saturday. Who does that?!

drooling...

drooling…

we could have spent hours here...

we could have spent hours here…

Second side note: we went wine tasting in Anderson Valley on the way home (again). It just so happened that we caught the tail end of the Anderson Valley Pinot Fest, which we thoroughly enjoyed 🙂

yaaaaay pinot fest!

yaaaaay pinot fest!

 

Third (and final) side note: Talk about an EPIC birthday weekend. 26 is going to be a good year!

2 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. michaelstpaulporter / Jul 10 2013 9:56 am

    Glad you had such an awesome weekend! Loved the “nice abs” pun.

  2. Anne Bybee / Jul 9 2013 9:30 am

    My mouth is watering for the abalone AND the wine!!!

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