Mud crabbing is such a dirty business
Of course, you’d think it is a dirty business. With most things in life the extend of something so obvious only becomes even more apparent when you’ve tried it yourself. Mud crabbing is a really good example.
I have another – let’s call it weakness. In addition to the occasional inability of making obvious connections I also find the notion of getting my own food (non supermarket based) very romantic. In fact, we bought fishing gear at the beginning of our trip with the best intention of picking it up as a new hobby. Unfortunately, when I plan the practical process that has to occur between standing on the beach waiting for fish to bite and sitting down for dinner I’m turning into a wuss. Hence the fishing gear had remained untouched until we finally sold it in Darwin.
When I saw “Mud crabbing” offered as an afternoon activity at Eco Beach, south of Broome, I wanted to give it a try, not fully realising two things: searching for mudcrabs would include wading through mud (duh!) and then arranging their exodus too (sniff!).
Kurt, the mud crabbing and fishing expert, lead our small group consisting of three couples around Jack’s Creek at low tide, picking out the good spots to look along the river bank. Armed with a 3 metre long metal rod and a trained eye for good sized wholes it didn’t take long until he poked and prodded the rod into wholes listening for the sound of metal hitting the shell of potential prey.
Kurt explained that mud crabs can also be dug out, but it’ll mean the whole would be destroyed and next time he’d have to go searching for new places. With his metal rod technique however he’d be able to hook the rod behind the crab, pull it out and leave the crab’s home intact so that a new tenant can move in. Next time he could then check the same wholes and hope for the best.
After a few hours of getting sucked into stinky mud close to loosing my balance a couple of times and squeezing through thick, prickly mangrove forests I understood why it’s nice to have regular wholes to check and not spend hours walking around trying to find new ones.
Fortunately, we got lucky three times and each couple got one crab, which the chef at Eco Beach cooked for us. I did feel sorry for all of them, but the dirty, exhausting business of the afternoon made me hungry! Mud crabs are very scrumptious food and I’m still grateful that I could skip the step of preparing the crab myself…