Anacortes, WA, is a small town located on Fidalgo Island about 75 miles north of Seattle and about 60 miles north of Lake Pleasant RV Resort where we were staying. Anacortes is east of the San Juan Islands and is therefore a popular boating destination.
Anacortes is also the home of Seabear Smokehouse, which smokes wild Alsakan salmon and other fish. When we ran across their web site, we read you can tour their facilities and watch them fillet and prepare fish for smoking. We were intrigued, so we went for a drive.
The Seabear web site says the best time to watch filleting was between 9:15 and 10:45 in the morning, so we timed our trip to arrive around 10:00. The photo below shows the entrance to Seabear Smokehouse.
Seabear receives frozen Alaska salmon almost every morning. After the fish is thawed, it is filleted. Unfortunately, the pickup of the fish from the airport was late the day we went. Although we didn't get to see them fillet the salmon, we did get to watch a video showing the filleting, and we got to see some of the other operations.
After they fillet the fish, it goes into the smoker. After smoking, the fish is cut, weighed, and sealed into foil pouches. The workers on the left were cutting and weighing smoked fish and putting it into pouches.
The pouches were being sealed out of view behind the bins on the right in the above photo, then they were placed on racks. Smoking is only to add flavor, not to cook the fish. The fish is cooked for a couple of hours in the steam-heated retort. The next photo shows the workers sliding racks of salmon into the retort.
The next photo shows the retort itself.
After cooking, the pouches are wiped and inspected.
The fish in pouches is just like canned fish. As long as the pouch is unopened, the fish will last about 7 years without refrigeration.
Seabear ships retail product direct to consumers and it also sells wholesale. You can buy gift boxes of several varieties of salmon or just one pouch like Margery is holding. We bought a pouch of smoked sockeye salmon. We haven't tried it yet, but it sockeye is their signature variety.
Just as we were getting ready to leave, the day's fish finally arrived. Since they still had to thaw it before cutting it up, we decided not to wait and drove around town instead.
The waterfront at Anacortes is lined with boat yards filled with yachts and sailboats. There are numerous docks and boats are also hauled out of the water for storage like the one being carried up the road in the photo below.
The storage areas had plenty of boats for sale like the one in the next photo.
Paul liked the sailboat in the next photo that was designed to look like a Chinese junk.
At the north end of town, we passed Dakota Creek Industries shipyard. There was an almost-completed ship standing in the yard towering over the street.
The ship is the Ross Candies, which is a 309-foot long inspection, maintenance, and repair vessel that will be used to service off-shore oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico. The round grids near the bottom of the bow are bow thrusters to increase the maneuverability of the ship. The platform is a helicopter landing pad.
Along side the Ross Candies, they were working on another, similar ship. It was interesting to be able to see the decks and bulkheads inside the hull.
From the shipyard, we headed back to the motor home. The next day, we had a free day to make a last-minute grocery run, to catch up on laundry, and to relax. We would be traveling for a couple of days, so that was a welcome break.