That journey, a guy-only road trip to Mendocino, California to dive for abalone (aka: sea snails), camp, and jam on guitars around a fire was also known as AbaloneFest 2011, the 17th annual occurrence of the event, but my first time in attendance.
Sadly, I had to miss AbFest 2012, but, as you read this, I’m in a car with three Bellingham buddies, tearing down Interstate 5, en route to our first stop in southern Oregon, and then tomorrow our destination.
Needless to say, I could have done without reading this news just a few days ago (via Salon):
Three recreational abalone divers died in separate incidents over the weekend in Northern California, where powerful rip currents were reported…
Deaths from abalone diving are common during the recreational harvesting season. However, three in a single weekend was a shock, even to authorities…
Since the early 1990s, dozens of people have died in their quest to collect the prized sea snails. One diver was decapitated by a shark in Mendocino County in 2004.
I immediately emailed the article to my buddies, and the following exchange happened between me and one friend who happened to pass on going diving the last time:
Me: I might be hanging out with Tom on the beach this weekend.
Tom: Very important job, holding the beach down. I could use some help, thanks!
Me: I’m thinking we need a flask of something to sip on while we’re “holding the beach down.”
And so, I’ll be away from the interwebs at least until I return from AbFest 2013 on Monday, potentially longer if I do decide to dive and something bad happens.
In the meantime, as I’ve done the last few times I’ve been away from the blog, I’ll once again be featuring some older posts of mine, as part of my continuing Best Of Fish & Bicycles series. I’ve selected a post that will appear each day, and I’ll start later today by reposting my piece on AbaloneFest 2011.