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An insatiable hunger for shrimp and scuba | Beyond Kitsap

Bill Mickelson/Staff photo A group of divers headed off for training in Hood Canal... without me. - Bill Mickelson/Staff Photo
Bill Mickelson/Staff photo A group of divers headed off for training in Hood Canal... without me.
— image credit: Bill Mickelson/Staff Photo

Continuing the journey along Highway 101, Beyond Kitsap, seeking fresh Hood Canal shrimp and an impromptu scuba trip.

After a breakfast like that, with all the major food groups covered — your bacon, potatoes, cheese and blueberry cobbler — you’ve no choice but to be productive with your day.

In the post-meal haze sitting at the Timberhouse, we struck up a conversation with our waitress asking about all things Highway 101. I mentioned a crazy lust, one which I’d been trying to ignore, for fresh Hood Canal shrimp. I’m not much of the seafood type, but something about these Hood Canal shrimp had grabbed me by the taste buds. We’d just finished a full-course breakfast, still I couldn’t stop thinking about those shrimp. I turned to my crew, perhaps we could get a license, grab some pots and get out on the water to catch a few of our own.

McKay Shrimp and Crab Gear in Brinnon, our waitress interjected, is ‘the’ place for shrimp and crab pots.

Brinnon is one of the shrimp capitals of the 101 corridor. Every year the tiny town hosts a Shrimp Festival over Memorial Day weekend.

Unfortunately, we were a touch early to experience all of that. But we did U-turn the 20-or-so miles back to Brinnon with hopes of outfitting ourselves for a day shrimpin’ — immortalized by that guy on “Forrest Gump” as one of the most glamorous seafood excursions there is.

I should’ve known right there — any over-zealous rookie shrimpers should be sure to read right here — to go shrimpin, you’ve got to have a boat, which we didn’t. You’ve got to get out to at least 200 feet, the seasoned shrimp pot seller at McKay’s told me. And even then, you’ve got to know exactly what you’re doing, and exactly where you’re going because the shrimpin’ season on Hood Canal is a strange one, open at intervals of only four or five hours per day.

Well, if that doesn’t just rob you of all your zeal.

I left the shrimp and crab pot store discouraged and empty-handed but I wouldn’t be denied a productive day after such an invigorating logger’s breakfast.

So we set our sights on Scuba diving. Diving is one of the more apparent activities along the Hood Canal. Divers park off to the side of the 101 sometimes, seemingly hopping right off the shoulder and into the water.

Strapped into wet suits with oxygen tanks on their back, goggles and face mask, scuba divers are the portrait of the glamorous life along Hood Canal. But again, all over-zealous rookies take note, you’ve got to get certified before you can dive.

While scuba’s considered a fairly safe hobby, it can be incredibly dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing. Which is why, despite all amounts of pleading and press pass flashing, the folks at Mikes Diving Center just north of Quilcene wouldn’t let me in the water for anything deeper than a snorkel.

Check back next week for the Beyond Kitsap Highway 101 finale.

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