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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Shaw Bay

We are truly blessed to have such cool weather in August in the Bay - and we are thankful! Peaceful at anchor, we began to dream of how nice it would be to try out our new spices on some steamed crab. Watching the weekend frenzy of recreational crabbers having success in the channel, I figured why not try our anchorage which was more shallow than the channel. I hoped for a meal of three large crabs and brought "all my wilderness explorer training to bear" (like Roger in 'Up') and rigged hand lines from the stern of the boat. That failing miserably, after church on the boat on Sunday, we went to the Wye Landing bait/boat rental store and sought advice. That advice included the exchange of $15.50 for one recreational crab trap and a dozen chicken necks, pleasantly soaked in what I speculate to be the ever fragrant menhaden oil.
It was good advice, despite the odiferous chicken necks. Our first trap setting was around 3 pm and before sunset we had three legal sized crabs. At the market rate of $70/dozen, our new investment paid for itself in the first day! (I cannot resist a Return on Investment calculation.) Since then we caught more throw backs than keepers, and even caught a fat catfish, but we still ended up with a nice dinner of four crabs Monday and four crabs Tuesday. At Big Al's we were given the wise counsel that "you do not eat crab until you are full; you eat them until you are tired." He had a point. It IS too much work to get full on steamed crabs; it is more like a social event.
The bald eagles put on a few shows during our trips to the trap. I watched one grab a fish from the water's surface, then two other eagles swoop in to steal the fish. The eagle and its fish ended up in the water while the other two flew off to the trees. It took a while for the doused eagle to get airborne again. I have no idea what happened to the fish. Could our national bird really be one who steals from one who has? The thought made me sad.
So back to crabbing…For some reason, the state of Maryland does not allow non-licensed recreational crabbers to use traps on Wednesdays. We took that opportunity to begin our move out of the East Wye and back to the more open waters of Shaw Bay. When it does heat up, like it did yesterday and today, it is best to be out in the open rather than tucked away in a tight anchorage.
I spent half the day cleaning up from an inundation of blind mosquitoes for the last two days. It seemed like there were billions of them in the cockpit. While I was cleaning up we became smothered in swallows. There must have been 50 fighting for space on the top of both masts, in the rigging, the spreaders and even on the halyards. At first I tried to shoo them away, then I banged on the rigging. I was completely disregarded. No worries. I have a soft place in my heart for swallows, especially when they eat the very bugs and flies that have been tormenting me. So I do not mind that tomorrow I will be cleaning up after the swallows…
Love to all,

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