The Crab Whisperer

I recently missed out on becoming a reality TV star so that I could go crabbing with my family on an annual tradition we had first experienced more than 13 years ago. You see, when my husband (who was my boyfriend at the time) was working at his first job, his boss invited us to join his family on their annual expedition. Since I had never gone crabbing, I was up for anything – not realizing the trip would require us to wake up at 3 am, travel an hour to the dock where we would rent our boats before we’d shove off before the sun rose so we could rouse the crabs with smelly moss bunkers.
I have to admit – while I didn’t enjoy the getting up early part or the fact that we were confined to the boats for hours before we could return for a crab fest, what I loved was the thrill of the hunt. I’ve always had a knack for fishing – while I hate to actually eat fish, I love the excitement of reeling them in. In those early morning hours, I pulled up dozens of crabs and could instantly feel when a claw was tugging on my line. While I earned the nickname the Crab Whisperer after that fateful first trip, we gave up the sport while our kids were young and directed our attentions on toddler friendly vacations.
Fast forward 13 years – our kids are now perfect crabbing age and lucky for us, we received an invite to re-join our friends’ annual tradition. Little did I know the trip would coincide with my almost audition for the Food Network show “The Hopeless Homemaker” – I thought I’d be the perfect candidate for their new show about awful cooks and they invited me to audition this weekend – but unfortunately for me, I was going crabbing. As visions of early morning wake up calls danced through my head, I joked to my husband that I missed my big chance of becoming a sous chef and instead would be reeking from moss bunkers while someone else was on their way to becoming the next Rachel Ray. So much for instant stardom.
When we arrived, the familiar house we had stayed at before we went crabbing had changed. My hubby’s old boss had moved to a fabulous house on the water and the moment we arrived, they were grilling up a storm while kids were catching crabs off the dock. As we caught up on lost time, we found out that we wouldn’t be getting up at the crack of dawn. Instead, we were waking at 7am because this time, it wasn’t going to take us an hour to drive to the pier…it would take us about a minute and a half.
The following morning, we drove to the crabbing location – a drop dead gorgeous waterfront home with boats lined up along their private pier waiting for us to hop in and get busy. Oh what a difference more than a decade makes! And so, we shoved off and once again, with raw chicken for bait (I can’t decide if I was more grossed out by that or by the smelly fish we used to use) we dropped our lines in the water and I started catching crabs like wildfire. But as the morning progressed, I began to lose my touch and my daughter picked up the slack and began pulling them in. Gotta love that one.
The best part about our upscale crabbing trip was that we could go back to the dock as often as we wanted. We spent the entire day with our friends and their family and enjoyed delicious food and lots of great conversation. Plus, there was even a makeshift beach near the dock where we sat for hours on lounge chairs watching boats sail past as the kids caught jelly fish (eww) and crabs a few feet away.
By day’s end, I realized I would gladly give up a reality show audition for crabbing. There is nothing that quite compares to taking part in a family tradition – and even though they’re not exactly our family, (I kind of feel like the crabbing crashers) today was by far one of the best days of our entire summer. That’s what lasting memories are made of – good times, smelly crabs and re-connecting with old friends. In a word, priceless.