Ilwaco, Washington’s Dungeness crab fleet headed out to sea in the wee hours this morning, to start dropping baited crab pots ahead of the Thursday season opener here. Today is “dump day” – the day crabbers can legally start dropping pots, so they can harvest them on Thursday, they hope, full of crab.

The fleet’s comeback was nothing less than astounding, after an incredible fundraising and gear-gathering effort on the part of people and businesses all along the coast.

Neighbors joined forces to step in and save the fleet from the aftermath of a horrific fire last week that destroyed critical gear and a fishing facility on Ilwaco’s waterfront.