A Day on the Water in Wilbert, The Boat That Could

Heading out with Jamie at the helm.
Heading out with Jamie at the helm.

My son and I named our 12-foot aluminum skiff Wilbert. Wilbert has taken us pretty much everywhere on the bay, which is our playground. We usually fish and/or crab, and it’s always a fun adventure. Wilbert never lets us down.

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Wilbert, The Boat That Could
Heading to the fishing grounds.
Heading to the fishing grounds.
Charleston boat docks.
Charleston boat docks.

While launching at the Charleston boat ramp last week we ran into our neighbor, Cliff, who has seen us out on Wilbert during the annual salmon fishing tournament each August. Cliff said he worries about us out there on such a small boat. I assured him that Wilbert is The Boat That Could, as we affectionately like to call him. Heck, we even have TBTC on the stern next to his name. When Cliff said he wished we’d get a larger boat, I said we do have one (a 26’ sailboat). It’s just that Wilbert’s so darn much fun.

Recently we were treated to seeing the tall ships heading out for a battle cruise.

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The Hawaiian Chieftain tall ship.
Friends out sailing.
Friends out sailing.

We also ran into our good friends, Lonny and Rachel, out sailing. They had big smiles on their faces.

On a typical day, we head out and set our crab pots and then go anchor along jetties or piers to fish. Along the way, we are surrounded by beauty.

Fishing off the North Spit.
Fishing off the North Spit.
Checking a crab pot.
Checking a crab pot.
Baiting the hook with sand shrimp.

If you like to fish on the bay for rockfish and perch, using sand shrimp for bait is the way to go. You can dig for them yourself at low tide, or pick them up at The Bite’s On fishing shop in Empire. The Bite’s On is a happy place and their employees clearly love their jobs. More smiles on lots of faces. That’s what Coos Bay does to you.

We always take plenty of snacks and basically just sit back and enjoy the scenery while fishing once the anchor’s set. The birds become comfortable with us and go about their business of scouting for food. There’s a huge osprey nest on a range marker out by the North Spit, and we watched as the adult bird brought back food to its nest. We could see a little head peeking up out of the top. Nearby, seagulls and cormorants found their spots on rocks, pilings, and other navigation structures. It’s nature at its finest. Very peaceful.

Birds of the bay.
Birds of the bay.
An osprey taking food to its nest.
An osprey taking food to its nest.

Have you seen the translucent blue jellyfish-like invertebrate recently in the bay?

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Velella velella cruising the bay.

We’ve seen lots of these guys out on Wilbert recently. Their most obvious feature is a small stiff sail that catches the wind and propels them over the surface of the sea. Its scientific name is Velella velella (the marine life so nice they named it twice) and, like the jellyfish, it belongs to the phylum Cnidaria. Also known as “by-the-wind sailor,” velellas float on the surface of warm waters, subsisting on small plankton. Each apparent individual is actually a hydroid colony, and most are less than about 7 cm long. They typically bloom and float toward coastlines in the spring, going where the wind goes, and rarely wash ashore before the end of their lifespan.

And that’s your science lesson for the day.

More smiles on the bay.
More smiles on the bay.

2 thoughts on “A Day on the Water in Wilbert, The Boat That Could

    1. Yes it is! I originally started the website to speak out about the environmental concerns I was aware of it Jordan Cove which were being swept under the rug. I now try to make it a lighter website but I rarely get to it.

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