Tuesday, March 9, 2010
No, these are not Flinders Island crayfish. Seeing as my brother saw fit to remind me that Crayfish season just opened in KwaZulu Natal I dug out a picture of us grilling our catch at Mapelane last year. So far I haven't actually SEEN a Flinders crayfish. I haven't -- to be fair -- spent a lot of time diving and looking, or as John sensibly suggested gone for a night-scout with a bright torch on a shallow reef. The abalone has been pretty easy diving, with plenty of fish seen but not a solitary crayfish feeler. The downside for night cray expeditions is the nearest likely place is a good 20km off - and driving at night here is a challenge, shall we say. We need roo-bars. Anyway, my night expeditions just came a little closer as I celebrated passing the knowledge test of Tas licence (now thanks to South African government ineptitude and corruption we cannot simply exchange licences - but have to redo them.) by buying a flounder/prawn light (an underwater light). I've rigged a little "boat" - a plastic crate with a innertube stabiliser outside in which the motorbike battery can travel while we wander about in the dark in the chilly water with me weilding a spear or possibly flinging a net about. This is all fraught with misadventure, I can tell. Anyway, B has taken the potential for interesting things one step further and ordered an inflatable paddleski (sit-on kayak). It's probably a pup... um one of those purchases that SOUND like a good idea... but as I have in vain tried to find a canoe/kayak seller who will answer my e-mails about delivering a non-inflatable one to Flinders... We'll give it a try. And we may be lucky. I thought it worth trying anyway. I want to try setting dillies for crabs (You know -you go to Picadilly and catch crabs... well this is like that but only totally different). Actually it's more like hoop/ring-netting. You lower a hoop of iron with a net under it - and a smelly bait in the middle, and hopefully the crab/crayfish wanders onto it to eat. Then you - on the surface, 'snatch' (lift really fast) the hoop and hopefully the crab falls into the net and can't swim faster than you can haul. In practice it's a great way of finding snags on the bottom and falling overboard into freezing water, and if that fails, getting bitten by the escaping crabs on the surface. This is what we call 'fun'. You should try it! Really, you'll love it.
I made some home-made pitas -lovely crusty outside and soft and steaming inside, and we had Flinders Island style whatchamacallits - stuffed with spinach, fennel, spring onions, parsley from the garden topped with some spicy tomato and garlic that I cooked up, a sprinkle of cheese, and some flaked Trevally, and eaten rather messily. I need a pizza oven :-). I said to B that what the island really could use was a pizza -takeaway. Especially on nights like last night. I didn't feel like cooking. For me that's like saying I didn't feel like breathing. I miss the diving with Lemmings (the Lemmings - my brother, Brian and moi - only one would have to head toward the coast and the others would hasten after to fling themselves into the water after them. Good diving, great food, excellent red wine and better company. Ah well. Good memories.) And lo-and-behold we got a notice in our postbox that Freckles - the local cafe, not the book by Gene Stratton-Porter - is doing takeaway pizza which sound good. However, island style takeaways... Wednesday and Friday nights orders in by 7.15pm. Heh. I SAID it was a whole different world. Seriously, out of tourist season the island probably couldn't support a full-time take-away and the pub (which serves food too).
So who will come out on a black predawn crabbing/floundering/prawn expedition with me? I promise there will be floundering (possibly in the mud). We have our first visitors coming in April. I wonder if they are braced for this?