Crabs? Crabs?…Yeah I’ve had Crabs!

Of course I’ve had crabs, I live on a boat. Mud Crabs are just walking gourmet lunch boxes aren’t they.
It actually took me a while to warm to mud crabs, one, their price to buy, two, their fearsome claws if you catch your own and frankly I have always preferred Sand Crabs. But living aboard you come to utilise most forms of seafood and the mud crabs abundance and tastiness puts it right up there on the menu. Catching them is relatively easy, just pick a nice creek with mangroves nearby, bait your pot and chuck it in and time will take care of the rest. It gets progressively harder from there. As you can see from the photo the crab is tied up, YOU have to do that, leave them untied at your peril. The claws are as fierce as they look. You may also notice the handle of a plunger at left of shot, the plunger I use to hold the crab still while I put my raw naked toes on his back to hold him down while I tie his claws, this is true gladiatorial cuisine here. The crab in the pic is a monster; we were anchored at a place called Island Head Creek on the east coast of central Queensland. As often happens the weather stepped in and we ended up being blown in and stayed anchored for 11 days, not the original 3 we had planned. Island Head creek is very isolated, no roads in, access is by sea only and the area is part of the Shoal Water Bay military reserve and is closed for live firing military exercises for part of each year. The whole estuary system some ten odd miles of sandy beaches, towering mountain cliffs and mangrove forests is a literal Jurassic park. The crabs are bigger, the fish are bigger, the birds, dingoes and turtles are bigger and no doubt the occasionally spotted resident crocodiles are probably big too. Oh did I mention the oysters? some as big as your hand and they grow on the rocks, you don’t even have to get in the water to get them. The couple off the other boat we were traveling with ended the month there having eaten 28 crabs for the month. There is something very primal about hunting and gathering your own food, doing it in a place like that with a menu of crabs, oysters, fish, prawns and squid helps make it quite civilised in deed. Mud crabs are very versatile too and you can make heaps of great dishes with them such as Crab and Tomato Consomme and Singapore Chilli Mud Crab. I will dig out some pics and post some dishes.
These are some Island Head Creek oysters, we gather about 5 dozen in 1/2 an hour off the rocks

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