I’m writing to inform you of an amazing experience I had visiting your island. It involves one of your local merchants, Ray from the Keystone Café in Coupeville.
During years that the salmon run, my buddy Ryan and I make a trip to Whidbey to fish on the shores for pinks. We look forward to this trip more than any other we take and it has become a two-year tradition. This past August, we were fishing the Admiralty Inlet for the better part of three days without much luck. Our tradition is to eat lunch at the Keystone Café.
We were talking to one of the locals who said we should ask the owner of the café, Ray, for any tips on where to go and what to use. We asked for Ray at the counter and a few minutes later Ray came out and sat down with us. For the next 20 minutes he expounded on all the recent fishing action, gave us advice on where he would fish and told us stories about his own fishing expeditions. We thanked him for his help and went back to our fishing.
The following day Ray was pulling in to the café just as we were. He got out of his truck and said, “Hey Blue and Ryan, any luck?” I was blown away that he remembered our names from the day before. We told him that we went out to a spot he told us to try and we didn’t have any luck. He asked us what we were using for bait and we showed him. He recommended something else and gave us detailed explanations as to why the bait would work and where to get it. He then said, “why don’t you come out to my truck and I’ll show you what I’m talking about.”
We followed him to his truck and he proceeded to dig through his significant amount of lures and show us what he wanted us to try. He said, “Actually, why don’t you just take what I have,” and gave us several lures. Over the next couple days we began catching fish and having success.
We would make our customary lunch trip to the café to tell him about our luck and thank him for his help. On one of our last days there he said, “hold on, I’ve got something for you guys.”
He went to his freezer and gave both Ryan and I several frozen fillets of a special fish that he catches on his boat while out at sea. He told us to take the frozen fillets to Seabolt’s with our own catch and ask for the owner and that he would ship them both to us.
Ray also told us that if he could get his boat working that night that he would take us out and try and catch some of the salmon that had escaped during the big spill. He showed us amazing weather apps and gave us his cell number for any questions and urged us to call him on our next trip.
I have never met a more kind and generous person than Ray from the Keystone Café. He spent time with us, shared his knowledge, gave us his own tackle, let us use his connections and treated two strangers as if they were family.
My hope is that anyone reading this will considering giving patronage to his restaurant and to acknowledge an amazing man from your community.
Thanks Ray. We will never forget your kindness.
Blue Haught & Ryan Harris