You Can Swim, But You Can’t Hide

Thursday October 4, 2012

Spending another day just trying to get boat related things accomplished such as a few loads of laundry in town and trying to figure out why our engine would not start we heard the familiar sound of knocking on our hull.  Brian and Stephanie had come over to see what we were up to and let us in on a little secret.  They knew how badly we wanted to catch a Chesapeake Blue Crab while in the area and while taking a leisurely kayak ride down the creek that morning Stephanie had seen a few hanging out on the walls of the bridge just a few inches under the water.  They had a net and a bucket in their dinghy and were ready to go crabbing.  We jumped in their dinghy but realizing that four people plus hopefully a lot of crabs inside one dinghy might get a little crowded, we made a pit stop at their boat so Stephanie and I could jump into kayaks to follow the boys in the dinghy and also scout out spots along the bridge before they got there.

Even though my kayaking skills appeared much better than they had been years ago when we owned our own, that or the kayak I was borrowing was much lighter with much better paddles, I still arrived at the bridge a few minutes after everyone else.  While Matt and Brian ran along one wall scouring the water line for anything with claws I didn’t want to get in their way and just lazily paddled on the other side.  I hadn’t even been looking at the wall for ten seconds when I spotted one.  I had no net, I had no bucket, but for some reason my mind was thinking I might be able to be helpful by scooping it up with my paddle and dumping it onto the top of the kayak until I could get it to the bucket.  My paddle went in the water just inches away from the crab when it sensed my presence and scuttled away.  Realizing I would most likely be useless as far as catching I went to check out the guys and see how they were doing.  Already they had a rhythm down where one would stand and slowly move the dinghy across the wall by hand and the other would stand near the bow on lookout with the net.  As soon as they saw something the dinghy would be stopped and the person with the net would dip it in the water behind and under the crab and come up on it with a sneak attack.  A much better formulated plan and pretty soon they were coming up with something on every swipe.  Not that every one was a keeper though.  Luckily Brain had studied the rules and found out that it’s illegal to keep any females or any males under 5.5″.  Most of the initial catches had to go back and although I’m sure they didn’t want to be dumped into our ‘keeper’ bucket they weren’t doing a good job of letting themselves be dumped back into the water either.  Their claws would get wrapped up in the net and Brian or Matt would have to stick their hands in and try to work it free.  This is where being an bystander really worked out for me.

We were originally guessing the lengths at first until Stephanie went back for a tape measure.  At this point we already had three in the bucket and the goal was to have one crab for each person.  When the fourth keeper was pulled out of the water we celebrated that we’d be able to have a crab dinner the next night, probably with lots of sides since a crab in itself (especially one that measures less than 6″) would not be a hearty meal.  But the boys were ambitious and wanted to keep crabbing.  They went back to search all the walls they had already gone through on the swinging bridge and then moved up to a fixed bridge a few hundred feet up the creek.  We were now two hours into this fishing expedition and my back was starting to kill sitting in one specific position.  I think Stephanie was feeling the same way and after paddling next to me we both slouched down in our seats, letting the current carry us wherever it felt like.  That happened to be the docks of the apartment where BMac lives and he was just getting home from work, ready for Brian and Stephanie to treat him to a sail before he treated them to dinner.  The boys stopped their fishing but when they came back announced they had twelve keepers in the bucket.  Maybe sides won’t be necessary after all.

Being transported first back to Rode Trip so I could drop of the kayak and then to our boat I was happy just to pass out on a cushion as I had already been feeling a little under the weather all day.  Or maybe it’s just exhaustion from our busy boat life.  Projects during the day and get togethers at night.  No one said this life was going to be easy.  Like sipping Painkillers at the boat show tomorrow and then ending the night with a fresh crab dinner with friends.  Not easy at all, but someone’s gotta do it.

This lucky little lady gets to be thrown back.

We caught this one while he was busy munching on a fish.

Our bucket of crabs.  Much better than a barrel of monkeys.

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6 thoughts on “You Can Swim, But You Can’t Hide

  1. Psh. You think this is going to be a vacation for you? I thought your visit was going to be a vacation for us where you cook, clean the dishes, and trim the sails. Plus I was going to make you come up with a fantastic drink we can name after you since you wife already has ‘The Jackie Meal’.

  2. Hey there! I was referred to your blog by another Saber owner and thought I’d check it out. The look on Matt’s face while holding that crab is priceless. Good luck in the journey south! We’ll be following on your tails, though quite a bit more slowly.

  3. Thanks so much for following Tasha! Although I would have loved to see the look on Matt’s face while holding up a crab that is actually our friend Brian from s/v Rode Trip. Good luck on your journey as well, if you catch up to us along the way make sure to give a holler and we can compare notes over a bottle of wine. :)

  4. You’ve had much better success with the crabbin’ than we did on the Chesapeake! We’re going to use your bridge-pickin’ method on the way back North, for sure!

  5. So glad to hear that we can provide some helpful advice to you as well! Are you sure you’ll be able to eat them though? I thought I read you threw a few back that you had caught yourselves. Enjoy your trip South, we’ll be following your travels and continue to gather advice from you. :)

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