A blog of the Freer Family's adventures and misadventures emigrating to Flinders Island, Tasmania, Australia, and settling there.
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?
Labels: Flinders Island, flounder-lights, paddleski, pita
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You know, back in Hawaii, my friends and I modified surfboards for diving. We took the old 'tanker' (those are the massive fibreglass ones, 8-10 feet long) boards, cut a 'window' in them and resined/fibreglass in a plexiglass sheet. We then drilled holes all around the boards sides (the edge, parallel to the water), inserted/cemented large pad eyes and strung rope through them (good to grab, good to hang stuff on) and attached a plastic milk crate above the rear/skeg area. Total cost was cheeeep, no one wanted those boards, too old school. Bought em used. We would climb on our boards with/without scuba gear and paddle out to wherever hop off and anchor the board do our dive, get tired and climb back on to rest/return. It's a thought....ReplyDelete
We used to don our scuba gear and paddle waaay out. As in, cover Oahu with one hand. Course we knew the waters/currents and had people on the beach who knew where we were going. We also used them to lay nets outside the reefs at night. Fun!
Next time I'm in the area, I'll go with you! It'll be a blast! Esp if we add alcohol! Massive amounts! Booze, water, mud, squirmy flounders, upset prawns... What could go wrong?ReplyDelete
What could possibly go wrong? ;-). Seriously I don't drink while I am doing these things (afterwards yes) - for good reason. I already have impared judgement on what is good idea.ReplyDelete
I really like the board idea - except finding one here (let alone cheap - they're in fashion again). I have a net that needs stringing that I'd love to set sometime.
I'd love to try it. There's just the minor issue of getting thereReplyDelete
Wot Francis said. That net arrangement sounds like what people used to use here to get smelts out of the Lake on their spawning runs, until the pollution scared everybody off 'em.ReplyDelete
(Sigh) I just need to make a fortune and set up regular ferry-flights from all over the world, I guess. It's a problem with having scattered friends. Still, if that winning lottery ticket comes your way, consider it.ReplyDelete
Back in the day, we used to crab from either docks or a small boat with our bait tied to the end of a length of butchers' twine. When we felt a crab, we'd lift it slowly and scoop into a crab net (about 40 cm dia. x 30 cm deep, made of similar twine, attached to a .5cm wire hoop and a wooden handle photo here -- http://images.westmarine.com/full/28751_f.jpg).
Poling my row boat down to the fish house -- a fifteen minute row at speed -- usually got me about a half-bushel (I've no clue as to how to make that metric) of crabs. Mind, I was in a brackish, tidal creek which fed into the Chesapeake Bay.
Best to Barbs,