Blogs Are Stupid

Doesn't anyone believe in Dear Diary anymore? What happened to the joy of putting actual pen to paper? And why does every ordinary Jane and John think they can write well enough to burden the world with their scribblings? It’s a mystery that badly needs solving. My first entry contains my thoughts about blogging and will set your expectations. The rest will probably be stream of consciousness garbage, much like you’ll find on any other blog. Perhaps we will both come away enlightened.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Vacation Part II, Day II - "A Crabby Day"

Well, the fish story was worth an entire post, I think, but I've decided not to drag the vacation stuff out over the entire week. I was going to do one post about each day of our vacation, but who needs that? I'll only hit the highlights, so you won't have to listen to me whine about the asshole at the pool, or the crappy food at the Luaou.

Well...maybe I'll whine about the asshole a little bit. But not in this post.

The highlight of our vacation was definitely the shark fishing, but we also enjoyed crabbing a lot. That was actually our first excursion and it sort of set the tone for our whole trip.

We set out on a larg-ish boat with 20 other people and headed for one of the undeveloped and uninhabited barrier islands. Our Captain, Charles, was the strong silent type. But our Guide, a naturalist named Courtney, gave us a very informative and entertaining presentation on the 30 minute journey about Callinectes Sapidus; otherwise known as the Blue Crab.

Blue Crabs are strangely beautiful and they really are blue. Their shell is a deep, almost irridescent shade of indigo. Until you cook 'em, that is, whereupon they turn a rich, pearly pink, which is why most people don't realize that Blue Crabs are blue.

The boys were very impressed when Courtney plunged her hands into a tank filled with salt water and extracted two large examples of Callinectes Sapidus, unfazed by the vicious clacking of their ominous looking claws. Callinectes Sapidus can exert 13,000 pounds of pressure with those claws, which means, that they can quite easily amputate any digit that happens to find their way into them. From then on, she was da bomb in their eyes. Of course, it didn't hurt that she was blonde, tan and leggy, with straight white teeth and a baby doll voice.

When we beached, we were told to pair up, and each team was given a net, and a wooden spool wound with ordinary kitchen string. At the end of the string was a piece of raw poultry. Standing in ankle deep water, one person was to cast the chicken as far as they could, and then slowly, slowly, slowly wind it in, theoretically, luring a fat and greedy little crab to it's doom.

It sounds fairly simple, but in reality, it was very hard. Those crabs are fast, and they can move in any direction they please. Husband and Diminutive One got a nibble very quickly and Diminutive One was beside himself with excitement when he saw that it was a huge crab, enthusiastically scuttling after the chicken leg. He was so excited that he forgot he was the netter. By the time he thought to bring the net down, it was too late. The crab got away.

Crabbing is bascially a game of chance, because you don't actually know if you have a nibble or not. When the string has been wound in enough that you can barely see the bait, you just have to bring the net down and hope.

Diminutive One gave up pretty quickly and scurried off to explore the "bone yard" on the island. He also wanted to find a turtle's nest. It's mating season for the Loggerhead, and their nests are supposed to be abundant on the barrier islands. It is highly illegal, however, to tamper with them in any way, so he was given strict admonishment to look but not touch.

Pre-Pubescent One wasn't giving up though, so he and I crabbed for several hours. We caught one, teeny, tiny little crab. We had to throw him back, because the law stipulates that they must be five inches or larger to keep. But it was a thrill all the same. We had caught one, and that made us feel absurdly triumphant.

Nobody else had much luck either...many of the crabbers were kids of a similar age as Diminutive One, and just didn't have the patience to have much success. It didn't matter though. Everybody had a great time frolicking among the gentle waves, waving at the passing boats, and watching the waveriders and parasailers.

Luckily, we did not have to rely on our own skills to eat. After we had spent a couple hours on the island, Captain Charles and Guide Courtney pulled out several huge buckets teeming with somewhat annoyed blue crabs and put a pot of water to boil over a propane torch.

While we waited for the water to boil, Courtney demonstrated how to peel and eat a crab. This upset both the boys a great deal, as basically, you tear them limb from limb. They are dead, of course, but it's still rather barbaric. Leave it to my kids to anthropomorphize a dead crab.

They would not eat the crabs, but most of the others had no such scruples, and fell upon the feast like wolves upon a steaming carcass. For quite some time, all that could be heard was the cracking of shells, the smacking of lips, and the groans of contentment.

One little girl, who must have been all of six, ate crab like it was going out of style. She ripped off the apron, she tore out the "devil's fingers", (sort of like gills, will make you sick if you eat them) she slung out the "mustard" (digestive material), she broke those things right in half, and she sucked the meat right out of the carapace. She had crab meat and butter all over her face, but she was oblivious to the mess. She cracked me up going at those crabs, while my boys looked on with twin expressions of horror and distaste on their faces.

I wish I had taken a picture of her. She was precious and fierce and obviously enjoying herself to the fullest.

Oh, and yes...I did, at one point, run shrieking out of the water after a crab ran over my foot. I don't know was purely reactionary. I'm not really afraid of being in the ocean, and I'm not really afraid of crabs. But something about having something that you can't see run over part of you that you also can't see....I think my fight or flight instinct kicked in.

Courtney laughed at me, but not unkindly. I laughed too. I'm a city girl through and through I guess.

Finally, it was time to head home. We had the misfortune to be sitting in the front of the boat on the way back, and the rising winds caused the boat to skip up and down over the choppy water, peppering us with stinging drops of salt water. Husband and I huddled together with our heads down, trying to avoid being drenched, but the boys faced the deluge with mouths open, enjoying the novel taste and the fierce wind that buffeted their cheeks back from their teeth making them flap crazily.

It's these things that I will remember about our trip. Their excitement over simple joys, their abandon, their willingness to let go and have fun. I wish they would always live their lives that way.

I wish I would.


  • At 9:12 PM, Blogger slouching mom said…

    What a great day. And as a kid I was just like your boys -- feeling sorry for the crabs being brutalized.

    The vignette about the girl dining with gusto cracked me right up.

  • At 9:19 PM, Blogger Mom101 said…

    I love this story. My stepfather crabs for a living (among other things) so I'll have to send it to him. This weekend he dropped an intact crab shell in Thalia's kiddie pool so she could touch it but she would have no part of that.

  • At 10:07 PM, Blogger flutter said…

    Oh I wish you would, too.

  • At 11:08 PM, Blogger jen said…

    you can. you can do so much more of this is you choose it. we just decided to choose, and it feels incredibly freeing (and scary)

    i love that you've given them these memories, these things in life they will carry with them always.

  • At 11:09 PM, Blogger jen said…

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • At 11:51 PM, Blogger margalit said…

    I love blue crab. LOVE IT. In Baltimore, blue crab is a summertime feast, with mallets and plenty of Old Bay crab boil poured over the crabs so they are hot hot hot. And SOOOO good. I've got my kids addicted to Old Bay. We even put it in tuna fish.

    Sounds like you have huge memories of this vacation to carry your kids for a long long time. Good on you!

  • At 6:46 AM, Blogger Ruth Dynamite said…

    Priceless memories and a fish story to boot!

  • At 7:14 AM, Blogger Fairly Odd Mother said…

    OK, first Mom 101, was Thalia IN the pool when he dropped the shell in it?!?! That would've been interesting!

    And, I wish I could live my life like you describe too. I also think this when I see a dog sticking his head out of a car window, face in a grin, ears flapping back behind his head, oblivious to how he looks.

    Oh, and I FREAK when something walks over my feet in the ocean. It's why I never stop moving my feet---I probably look like I'm dancing in the ocean.

  • At 7:38 AM, Blogger Jenn said…

    "She was precious and fierce and obviously enjoying herself to the fullest."

    My favorite part.

  • At 8:48 AM, Blogger Pendullum said…

    Priceless memories...and the true salty adventures which will be savoured for a lifetime...

  • At 11:55 AM, Blogger Natalie said…

    That sounds like a lot of fun. I would have freaked at the crab on my foot as well.

  • At 2:28 PM, Blogger painted maypole said…

    When I first moved to Louisiana and went to our first Crawfish boil, I worried that my then 2 year old daughter would be appalled to eat these critters we had just been playing with. When someone demonstrated how you twist, pull apart, and eat the meat she said "Oh! You eat them!" and dug right in!


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