I peeled the top back about half-way, and folded it. They didn’t need to shred the tins.
After setting the trap and docking the boat, it started sprinkling a little bit. It soon developed into a steady rain. I came home and tried to call a friend (she wasn’t home), read a bit, and then decided to take a nap and stretched out on the floor, falling asleep sometime between track-and-field and sailing on CBC’s coverage of the Olympics. Then the phone rang and it was my friend. We talked for nearly two hours, and then it was time to check the trap.
It was still raining on the short drive to Blaine, but it slackened quickly. By the time I was at the harbour, it stopped. I put a bucket, a cooler, and some other stuff into the zodiac, drove back to the trailer parking, and then walked the quarter-mile to the boat. There were several inches of rain water in it, of course. No way to drain it while it sat in the water. No worries; it’s an inflatable, and extremely buoyant I started the motor and headed out. Once I cleared the harbour I poured on the power. The bow came up steeply… and stayed there. The extra weight of the water, now sloshed astern, was causing a balance problem. It was then that I remembered that there is space under the deck, and that I had a lot more water than I originally believed. The boat did come to plane though, and I was off.
I’d marked the location of the trap in my mind by lining up on a house on the shore and either the red buoy or the red marker at the mouth of the harbour. I went straight to my buoy. Except it wasn’t my buoy. Oh, there’s another one a short distance off. Nope. That’s not my name either. I cruised around for nearly an hour, checking every single red-and-white buoy to no avail. And it started raining again. Fortunately I’d brought along my Gore-Tex jacket and was wearing swimming trunks.
I was becoming very discouraged. Did my trap somehow drift away, the buoy being blown by the wind? Did someone steal my trap? I’d set up a sort of “grid pattern”; which is to say that I motored inshore and offshore, checking again the buoys I knew well weren’t mine, an worked my way back toward the harbour entrance. Then it occured to me: could I have thrown my pot much closer to the red markers than I thought? I came upon a “field” of crab buoys and checked my bearings. Hm. There’s the red marker buoy. There’s the house on the shore. It looked right. After a couple of false leads, I found my buoy.
(Note to self: Next time make three reference points instead of two; or just bring the bloody GPS!)
In the showering rain I tool the loop on the top of the buoy and looped it around the handle/cleat on the side of the boat. “Haul away!” The leaded line began to accumulate on the deck. Soon I could see the trap, and there were things in it! I hauled the trap aboard and saw my little catch. I could tell right away that several of the crabs were undersized, and that a couple were females. I opened the trap and tried to catch a crab with my diving-gloved hand. Those guys are pretty fast, even out of the water! And their claws have a greater range of movement than I thought. And they can hold fast to the cage with their feet. I used the sizing gauge to distract them, putting a corner of it into their claws. I pulled out the females, gauging them anyway even though their illegal to take, and then deposited them back into the briny. I got the males and found them to be of legal size, and they went into my bucket. One of them had a “withered claw”, indicating he had lost a claw at some point and it was only half grown back. Finally I caught the red box crab. I gauged it, and it might have been legal. It was so close (the boat was rocking, the crab was struggling, and it was raining) that I thought I may as well throw it back. The game warden was waiting at the dock, and I didn’t want to take the chance that I’d mis-gauged it. Besides, I was after dungeness.
I soaked my canvass “goody bag” (part of my SCUBA gear) in the salt water and laid it over the two crabs I kept. Now back to the dock, slowly because of the water still in the boat. (Note to self: Bring the kayak pump when it’s raining.) I used the little flip-top Igloo cooler to put seaater into the larger cooler.
When I got home I took a large potfull of the seawater from the cooler and began to to boil on the stove. I offered a crab a chopstick, which he took, and seized him from behind. He went on his back into a baking tin. I laid a heavy knife lengthwise along his belly, which he didn’t like at all. He tried to grab it with his legs, which was annoying since I meant to whack the knife with a rubber mallet. He moved his feet and the mallet came down, bisecting him. I cleaned out the innards, removd the carapace, and put the legs and – whatever you call that mass where the legs attach – into the seive portion of the boiling pot. The second crab underwent the same procedure, except that it managed to move the knife at the last instant and I didn’t quite slice it down the middle. The claw on the larger half tried to grab my fingers, but it stopped once I removed the viscera.
With four halves of crab in the “seive”, I put it in the boiling seawater and jumped into the shower.
Eleven minutes later I pulled the seive out of the pot and put dinner on the plate. Hm. That’s more crab than I thought! I melted butter in a bowl, got another plate, and dug in. I really wished my friend were here. She likes crab, and I was getting full. I did devour both crabs by myself though. I think in the future however, that I’ll only eat one crab for dinner. You can freeze the crab meat in seawater, then top off the container after the water has frozen with more seawater. I hear it preserves the flavour very well.