Smoking salmon at TokelandThe first of August Bill and I drove to the coast so he could attend the annual council meeting of his Native American Shoalwater tribe on the reservation.  While he was involved in the meeting, I found places to spend some time sketching.

This sketch is of a tribal member smoking fresh King salmon over a fire deep in the large pit that had been constructed for the occasion.  The fish is butterflied, placed between two cedar stakes and held in place with two smaller cedar cedar sticks.  Then it is roasted over the fire and partially covered with I imagine a heavy damp cloth.  This delicious fish was served at the main meal along with other assortments of sea food.



After sketching the smoking, I drove to the pier at Tokeland to sketch this wonderful old building covered with beautiful patina and full of character.  It is fun to imagine what type of business and activity occurred there during the prime of it’s time.  It had to be something to do with the sea life since it has its  own pier and it was constructed over the water.  I don’t know if it’s part of the Coast Guard history while it was stationed near the same location many years ago.  Now the station is no longer located in Tokeland and not long ago governmental officials decided to tear down the white Coast Guard building.  Fortunately, I had recorded the building in my sketchbook before it had been demolished.


Old building full of patina

I was so involved in sketching the above building I didn’t notice a car pull up behind me until I saw a man on the beach digging clams with a clam gun.   So, of course, I had to sketch him while he pushed the circular tube into the mucky wet sand then pulled out the gun  retrieving the clam with every dig.  How easy!   We use a forked garden tool and have to retrieve clams through rocks in the sand with our hands when we dig along the coastline on Whidbey.  We almost always get scratches and sand in our finger nails with our process.

Man digging clams









4 thoughts on “A weekend on the Washington Coast

  1. Thanks, Paula. What is it about a large campfire that draws people to it’s warmth, sounds and light? It’s a great place to gather for circling, conversation and laughter with friends and family while enjoying a meal prepared over the embers.


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