Our family has a new hobby, crabbing!
We are in between seasons right now so I have time to post (hahaha). But seriously, we did spend a lot of time enjoying the ourselves. Kim and Kyle had been making their plans long before they had our boat up here in Washington. Wednesday through Sunday, you can stand in our house and watch the people dropping their crab pot; which aren't pots at all, they are more like cages. Turns out there is a shelf on the floor of the Sound right near our house and that's where you what to drop your pots. The days were sunny and clear and the guys were pretty useless, they wanted their piece of the action. We hadn't lived here more than a week and before boxes were unpacked, we were out crabbing. They went out one night to our local Fred Myers and got three crabbing license, one for each of them and one for Kloe. Why Kloe you ask? Her license was free, because at the time she was still under twelve. They bought 2 crab pots, rope, and buoys. They had hung out in the fishing department, of the said Fred Myers, enough to feel confident that they knew exactly what they were doing; so it was time to give things a try.
The morning of our first crabbing adventure, they went to the local Safeway and got the bait, two large turkey thighs. They tell you to use turkey legs, but Safeway was sold out, so they got thighs. They also have a special bait made up of salmon, but after multiple tries we found that the crabs in our area like the thighs, besides the thighs are cheaper and so many people here crab that the stores are almost always sold out of the legs. The weather had been so beautiful since me got here that we didn't check the night before and we woke to a gray sky. Being optimistic and knowing there was no way Kim and Kyle could wait any longer, we set out on our adventure. It was the first day we had taken the boat out on the Sound and the guys were like kids on Christmas.
We launched our boat here at our Mukilteo boat launch and the adventure began. After our names and address were on our buoys and the 120 foot ropes attached to the pots and the buoys, we picked our spot and dropped the pots. Thanks to Kim's depth finder it was easy to know where to drop them. You want them on a shelf at about 100 ft down, this is because as the crabs come and go with the tide, they will pass the pots and be tempted by the yummy turkey. As we prepared and dropped the pots, Kyle kept telling us how they do things on Deadliest Catch; you could tell he had done his research. With the pots dropped we had two choices go home and unpack boxes while waiting the 2 to 3 hours the pots sit there or go explore the Sound. The weather was a little gray, but not cold at all so we went exploring. We meandered up the Sound to Oak Harbor at the north end of Whidbey Island, stopping once in a while to check out little bays and towns. The sun had come out and we thought we were going to have a nice day after all. As we started back to retrieve our pots it started to sprinkle and by the time we were half way home it was raining. We were as happy about the rain as we were about the whole day. There was almost no one left on the water in our area when we got to our pots, just the crazy California transplants.
Karly pulled up the first pot and we were so happy to find 3 nice size dungeness crabs, sadly two were female and had to be tossed back. Again Kyle was telling us about Deadliest Catch as he pulled in the second pot. As you can see the second pot was the mother load! The pots have two side doors that the crabs can go in, but not back out. They do however, have emergency exits in case the owners of the pots lose their way or their buoy and never make it back to retrieve them; it just wouldn't be right if they didn't. There are rings in the sides of the pot that are held in place by little bits of rope; if the pots are under water too long the string disintegrates so the crabs can go free. We got a rectangle and a triangle pot and the crabs seem to like the rectangle one best. We caught 12 in the rectangle pot giving us a our maximum allowance of 15. Each license is good for 5 crabs per day, Wednesday through Sunday. We ended up only taking home 11 because of size and gender.
They were feisty little guys and one tried to take off the end of Kyle's finger, again we got the deadliest catch stories. Next time we'll bring a better first aid kit, but all it all it was a great day.
On the way home we gave Kaira Fern and Tyler a call to ask if they were interested in a crab feast. They met us at our house and brought the big pots, mine were still packed up.
We boiled water with a ton of salt, bay leafs and garlic, once things were going we added the crabs. It took a little while because we only had so many pots. We boiled the crabs for about 15 minuets and then they get put in ice water for a few minuets, then the messy part, they get cleaned out. The great thing about all of this, the guys did the cooking and cleaning!
We girls just enjoyed the food. There were enough crabs for one and a half each and I think Tyler and Kyle were the only ones that ate all of theirs. The rest I got to clean from the shells to make other yummy things with like crab cakes, omelets and soup. We gave Kyle the pleasure of eating the one that snapped his finger. That crab turned out to be the biggest of them all.
When I was down at Pike's Market a week of so later I checked the prices on dungeness crabs. It turned out we got quiet the deal. After just one use the license, pots and the rest of the gear had earned their worth and then some. For the rest of the season the guys were out almost twice a week. We didn't have as good a catch as the very first one, but we never had empty pots. Some of us started getting a little tired of crab of dinner or snacks. I wonder how you can crab?