This article was originally published on June 1, 2012 on my old blog
While on the Island, a popular question asked by tourists is "what is
there to do on this small island?" The answer to this question
literally cracked me up: Catch crabs! What? The good news is antibiotics or other medications are not needed if you catch crabs here. :-)
the bay side of the Island there are docks available for public use
& a fishing license is not needed. Many forms of life thrive in the
bay. There are crabs, birds, frogs, turtles, fish, billions of
variations of snails, and much more.
couple of mornings/evenings Nick & I watched the fiddler crabs
perform their mating dance rituals. These dances are composed of the
male, with his one oversized claw, waving it wildly in the air. He
pranced back & forth waving this club claw to show his manhood for
the females delight. Once he's caught the eye of that special female, he
hopes she'll pick him over the hundreds of other males dancing.
Childish delight swallowed me & I asked playfully, "Could I take one
Memorial Park on Chincoteague Island, fishing is bountiful and no
license is required also. We bought a net, some raw chicken, a crab line
and off to the park we went :-) This is where we went crabbing. While
there, a boy came to us and asked us if we were trying to catch crabs
just before the sun began to set. Nick answered him that we were &
this young man wished us luck. He said he'd been trying to crab there
for years & had not done well. He took his fishing pole and walked
away from us along the small dock.
30 minutes, the dock began to clear out. The other fishers began to
leave and take their catches with them. Some people were drinking beer,
some people were sharing a moment with each other, and other people were
teaching their kids how to crab or fish. Steadily, they all left the
dock except the boy we met and his 2 friends.
dangling our chicken leg in the bay for a few minutes, the crabs
started to swim by us. Even though daylight was leaving us, we could
still see the crabs skimming the water nearby. We caught a few small
crabs here and there. It was peaceful and quiet. (Our boys did not go
with us. They had other agendas for the evening. I think they were
looking the island for girls.) There was one blue crab that we caught
over and over again. We would admire him, take pictures, then send him
back home to the ocean water in the bay. This little booger kept coming
back to us. He was like an attention needy child wanting to be admired.
Perhaps we flattered him? :-)
all daylight had disappeared, the moonlight brought out the more unique
and larger sea life. We saw a beautiful blue/green light in the water.
several times when bringing our net in, we had caught cute little
jellyfish. They had no color when out of the water, but when the net was
submerged again, the jellyfish began to light up. They were small and
graceful. I was thankful I had not seen any of them while in the ocean. I
knew they were out there, but not seeing them made the ocean water more
enjoyable. I decided Jellyfish are show-offs. They wanted to be
admired. The way they lit up for us, danced, and would not leave our
area said it all...either that or they like chicken :-)
called to me, "Chrissy! You have to come see this!!" He was standing
over near teenage boys. They had caught something very large. Through
teamwork, they managed to bring the large thing across the water line of
the dock and they were coming straight at me. I looked over. It was a
gorgeous sting ray! Her underside was white and her top was a deep brown
color. Her tail whipped and swung from side to side. The boy's rod was
bent under the weight of such a large creature. They handed the pole
from one boy to another as they made their way across the dock to the
boat landing. She was too heavy to pull straight up out of the water.
Once she was docked, one boy stood on her tail/barb while the other boy
gently removed the fishing hook from her back. They turned her over,
checking to make sure she was okay and poured water from the bay into
her breathing holes. We snapped some pictures and touched her. Then the
sweet boy petted her and encouraged her back into the water safely. I
asked the boy his name: Jess.
"Jess, you did a great job with that beautiful sting ray!!", I bragged.
after the stingray had been released, the boys were all calling out to
me. "Hey, Hey lady. Wanna see?" They brought me an eel to admire that
they caught on their line. It looked like a huge slimy earthworm snake
thingy. I took pictures and gave them another pat on the back. We ended
our crabbing adventure not long after that.
It was a wonderful bay adventure!