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Free Range Human, Sailor, Writer, Artist, Videographer  

Monday, August 6, 2012

GOT CRABS? A Sea Pearl Story

In our Sea Pearl days too many years ago, our hands down favorite place to sail was the area north of Ft Desoto park at the mouth of Tampa Bay.   Often we'd let the boat sail itself from the boat ramp to the shallows across Bunces Pass until it ran aground among the myriad of Mangrove islands that populate the area.  One of my adult children reminisced  that the Capt's cure for running aground was to make crew members leave the boat one at a time until flotation was achieved.  This is not as bad as it sounds since the Magic Pearl drew all of eight inches or so.

One of our efforts to use the Magic Pearl for an over night cruise found us aground at sunset near a large barrier island near the Gulf Of Mexico.  We dropped an anchor over the bow and ran ashore, without benefit of a flashlight, to catch the last of the sunset .   Returning after dark on a moonless night had us wishing we'd at least lit the anchor light.

Our Magic Pearl had disappeared in the darkness.  So did everything else.  

As we walked bare foot along the shallows of a large beach we could hear what sounded like silverware clinking.  We could not place the direction of the sound, but it was very close.   We stopped and it stopped.  The two of us stood in the pitch black darkness completely befuddled.  Suddenly Linda, who is not known for this behavior,  let let out a shriek and ran in the general direction of where the boat might be.

I felt them a moment later.  Unseen  wild creatures with lots of legs were scampering over my bare feet. While I won't admit to a shriek, we eventually ran into the boat from which I grabbed a flashlight and returned to the scene.

At first I couldn't process why the ground seemed to be moving away from me.  In an instant I discovered the silverware symphony came from thousands upon thousands of Fiddler crabs snapping their huge claws as they tried to get out of my way.  If I stopped and especially if I had turned off the flashlight, they would return to crawl all over my still naked feet.

Fiddler Crabs On the Move!

Earlier this year found us encamped near the Lower Suwannee river hiking the many trails in the area.  After crossing a foot bridge to an island we found a wood bench near the seldom traveled back waters begging for company.  As we sat there awhile we realized the waters edge was literally crawling with Fiddler crabs.

At that my friends was the inspiration of the movie:

Wild Beach Camping or Why I Like My Compac 23 Cabin

Yes it's cheesy but it was a lot of fun in the making!   

Next time back to sailing "Weathering the Gunkhole Storm"