Blue crab hunt in Manzanilla

One of the blue crabs caught on October 20 near Mitan River, Manzanilla. Photo by Roger Jacob
One of the blue crabs caught on October 20 near Mitan River, Manzanilla. Photo by Roger Jacob

The majestic full moon illuminated the shoreline and the swath of coconut trees along the Manzanilla/Mayaro stretch on October 20 – a sure tell-tale sign for blue crab hunters.

Between intermittent showers might have been why only a handful of crab hunters, carrying plastic buckets, crocus bags, torches and cutlasses turned up to scour the side of the road hoping to catch a bounty.

It's either the hunters got the wrong date or the crabs were privy to the pandemic regulations as very few eight-legged creatures were spotted. Those found on the edge of their crab holes scurried deep inside as hunters footsteps approached.

The full moon above Manzanilla, the coastal town in east Trinidad. Photo by Roger Jacob

In what has become a family tradition for some, catching blue crabs along the deserted stretch is a fun activity and a good way to put some food on the table.

Female crabs usually leave the sanctuary of the mangroves on the right of the Atlantic Ocean full of eggs in their underbelly pouches, known as their aprons, to wash them off in the surf. These eggs somehow find their way back to the mangroves where they hatch and the generation is reborn.

Most crab hunters wear gloves and boots to help prevent them from being pinched by the powerful claws of the blue crab. Some have devised plastic scoops to help them catch the crustaceans as they scurry across the road.

A villager, using a headlight, searches the side of the road for blue crabs. Photo by Roger Jacob

The approaching 10 pm curfew and passing police patrol were some of the obstacles some hunters encountered as they had to make sure they had enough time to get back to their homes.

One group from Sangre Grande barely managed to catch a good meal before they had to pack up and leave.

Other villagers probed the tall bush at the side of the road with sticks and wore headlamps to free up their hands.

A crab hunter secures his catch at Ortoire Village, Mayaro on October 20. Photo by Roger Jacob

While the crab hunt did not yield the desired results, those who ventured out for the night breeze near the ocean were already rewarded by the splendour of nature.

But they vowed that they will be back for the next crab run, enough to make a sumptuous dish of curried crab and dumplings or crab and callaloo.


"Blue crab hunt in Manzanilla"

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