Sunday, April 17, 2011

Catching things

For about a week we thought somebody had stolen one of our traps.  We had the spot marked on GPS but when we went back to get it there was a commercial trap set in exactly the same spot.  We searched far and wide with no luck and eventually came to the conclusion that either it had drifted off completely or else someone had stolen it.  It was more than a little depressing and took away our enthusiasm for running our trap line for a while.  The day immediately preceding was the day we had to cut the line on the other trap after I foolishly entangled it in our running gear so the two events felt like a one-two punch.

We eventually recovered our enthusiasm and purchased a couple of commercial prawn traps.  On Friday we took a friend of a friend out with us when we went to set our traps.  We’ve been at it long enough that we were able to ask some semi-intelligent questions and Geoff had some good tips.  Time will tell whether or not they improve our success. 

We had also been tied up to the dock for close to a week until Friday.  We’ve been losing about a cup of coolant every four hours or so.  For a while I put it off as the system recharging itself after I did the coolant change in Seattle but lately I’ve been sure it was using coolant.  Not much but enough to notice and by extension enough to matter.  There were only two places it could be going – either we were burning it or it was going out with the raw water through the heat exchanger.  It clearly wasn’t going into the oil and for a variety of reasons I was pretty sure we weren’t burning it.  Last week I finally got around to replacing the heat exchanger and I changed the oil coolers at the same time.  All that activity meant that the engine was hors de combat for several days so it felt good to fire it up and go for a cruise again. 

Yesterday Marilyn got an email notifying her that whales had been sighted in Sansum Narrows.  After we had dashed off (“dashing” meaning 8 knots in this case) to not find them she discovered that the message said they were sighted Friday afternoon.  On the way back from the whale non-sighting trip we checked the traps.  We were skunked on prawns but Marilyn pulled up a whole trap full of crabs.  It turned out that most of them were females and out of the whole works we only could keep one but the full trap looked pretty impressive coming out of the water.  And thanks to some cooking advice from Geoff we were able to extract a surprising amount of meat for supper from that single crab.

Yesterday I got some teak veneer and started gluing it onto the cupboard renovations that we’ve been doing.  Like my father, I’m more of a carpenter than a cabinetmaker and this project is no exception but it doesn’t look as bad as some of the jobs I’ve tackled over the years.  Epoxy covers a host of sins.

This morning we caught another mess of female crabs and one great big male.  Geoff explained that the best way to clean a crab is to whack him in half before he goes into the pot.  It actually works really well.  You take the live crab, flop him on his back and use a cleaver to whack him squarely in half down his middle.  He doesn’t go into this willingly mind you but when done cleanly you have two crab halves and its dead simple to get the guts out of him.  Once he’s split in two you can clean away his mouth parts, remove his gills and peel his shell off him.  In the process you wash out all the guck in his stomach and clean away the guts.  When you’re all done you have 4 legs with half a body attached to throw into the pot.  Then you use him as an excuse to eat a bunch of butter, garlic and fresh bread.  Life is good.  (maybe not so good for the crab)

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