Foraging in Opossum Bay, Tasmania
It's impossible to outshine Mother Nature's beauty. Whether it's her bountiful natural supermarket, an experience that cannot be replicated or a breathtaking landscape, simply nothing compares. One of the best things about visiting Tasmania is the ever-present connection with nature. I have no doubt this is even more apparent in Opossum Bay, located 40 minutes drive South of Hobart. We were lucky enough to stay right on the beach and we reaped the benefits.
In Opossum Bay we went for morning walks along the sand and were treated to immaculate ocean views every waking moment. We explored the rock pools and discovered sea anemones, darting flashes of silver fish, scuttling crabs, green starfish and other critters. Each pool was a tiny universe, completely unaware of the giant industrial world beyond it and entirely dependent on the natural pull of the tide.
But our greatest discovery was that the rocks were heaving with mussels and giant oysters. On one particular evening, we decided Opossum Bay was shouting us dinner. We purchased an oyster knife from a two-dollar shop, waited until low tide, grabbed some bags and a Cooper's dark ale and set to work.
We were careful to only take what we needed and removed the shells in a way that didn't damage the ecosystem. We ate the oysters right off the rocks. They were humongous; instead of slurping these oysters down in one go, each took three bites to consume. They could not have been fresher and it was obvious from their creamy, salty flesh.
As for the mussels, we cleaned them thoroughly before steaming them in a pot with onion, garlic and herbs. They opened to reveal pale orange meat, firm and sweet.
Interestingly, we got more than we bargained for. Each mussel had a tiny crab inside, evidence of some sort of symbiotic relationship. Some of us ate them with a crunch, others left them for the seagulls.
When the last mussel was gone, we lounged on the deck in awe of Mother Nature. And just when we thought she couldn't possibly impress us further, she gave us a magnificent sunset. She was clearly showing off...