I distinctly remember being equally terrified and enthralled by the sounds of scuttling in a bucket. Claws that grabbed noisily against the tall plastic sides while whatever was trapped inside fought to escape.
The large expanse of mangrove afforded us a plethora of sights- trees with roots that towered out of the murky water, brightly feathered birds casting shadows on us as they flew home for the evening and unforgettably… The clean eerily shiny backs of blue crabs as they crept out of their dark holes and across the land in the moonlight.
My grandfather would set hand made wooden crab traps. The were rickety and seemingly held together tenuously by wire but their appearance belied their strength a time and time again they caught and housed these creatures.
Crabs really are strange to look at. Some have claws, gundees as we call them, dragging on the ground as they were abnormally large. Others have legs that are covered with coarse hard hairs that trap mud. All however have those two beady eyes peering at you from their mysterious dens.
I always wondered what down a crab’s den/ hole would look like. It was so tightly tunneled and mysterious… Was it like that all the way down? Or did it open up into some vast open space below? Or was it all a network of tunnels – a convoluted maze?
Decades later, crabs in that area are now scarce as people have built so many houses / buildings that the mangrove area is barely present other than in our memories. However at 92 years old my grandfather remains on the lookout for these shadows within our memory that show themselves every so often…
(My grandfather and a blue crab he caught earlier this week – 10.11.15)