Life of Carmen

Just for the halibut

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Gilean Todd was moored over at the landing, said to have rockfish, halibut, and cod. Spattering rain, gale warning in effect. But the tide had just turned so I put on my all-purpose bike gear, hauled out the blue kayak (like a split milk-jug), and set out for the wharf. With one boot full of seawater and the wind at my back.

I pulled up alongside and shouted up to the boat: Hey—you got fish?! Yup. Halibut. But only whole fish, said Silas, hoisting a glossy 14-pounder. Both eyes on one side, shiny as live. Just yesterday swimming off Comox.

I paddled round the wharf and dragged the kayak up the beach. Gary showed up and we worked out a deal. Silas filleted the fish artfully with his huge knife, and Gary took the bulk of it—meat in one bag, carcass in another (for the garden). I climbed back into my vessel and headed back across the lagoon, hard into the gale with my haul: three pounds, plus a cheek.

Supped on halibut in a crust of almonds and herbs, with a light sauce of yogurt and dill. I did it, and of course, it had to be done. Just for the…well, you know. Just for the fish.


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