A blog of the Freer Family's adventures and misadventures emigrating to Flinders Island, Tasmania, Australia, and settling there.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Size does count!
A few weeks ago we were invited to go fishing off shore in what I called "a little tinny". When Dave posted a photo the comment was made that the boat had superstructure, and I had labelled it incorrectly.
Well, today we were taken fishing and diving off shore in "a little tinny" and I can now tell the difference! Todays boat is a rubber ducky, but made out of aluminum. It felt really safe, and unsinkable, but we sat on the 'floor' while the engines were going, and the water sneaked up and wet us from the rear when we came down off the plane. On the other boat we had seats to sit one, and could stand up while we were moving if we wanted to. On this boat the 'driver' sits on a watertight bin, that looks almost like a motorcycle seat, but it moved well through the waves. The only thing missing was the sun, and I got very cold on the return trip.
But we had a wonderful day. Our host and Dave both dived, while I sat on the boat and caught bigger Wrasse than I had ever imagined. Dave came back with some abalone, and the other chap with some crayfish, then we anchored in a different spot and all caught flathead. We had set out from the opposite side of the island, so saw a whole new set of islands, and sandbars, and currents.
So all in all, it was a very successful day, with many a "feed" now on its way into the freezer.
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Does anyone sail off Flinders or is it all petrol power ?
There are people who sail here, we just don't know any yet! There are so many islands, rocks and sand bars, you would have to know the water really well. Somehow I think you can dodge better with an engine, but I am a control freak.ReplyDelete
Tantalus - there was a yacht out there today.ReplyDelete
Sailing around the Bass Strait is notoriously difficult and treacherous. Knowing the waters is pretty important - but even then, the weather can change in a heartbeat, and having a motor to get you inshore quickly can be a life-saver.ReplyDelete
Hey - are those little clams at the bottom left of that photo?
Clams... Well... they're bivalves of some kind. but if they're Katelysia species,(clams?) Donax (pipi?) or Dosinia (surf clam)? Or for yet another mystery a 'wedge shell' which the fisheries regs describe as 'a kind of small pipi'(no species in the regs - and they use common names that are not standardised). To be honest their invertebrate section could use a bit of work (might be better if it stays vague :-)- if it's not causing problems). I try hard not to break the local regs, but some border on the well, vague and locally not really sensible. (For eg, they're trying to keep you to feed - which is a fair and reasonable idea. But they limit you to 15 other molluscs - for most class mollusca. That's less than a mouthful of some plentiful species - and you could get cuttlefish at a couple of kg each also 'other'.) There are no species keys on the DPIW site, and I have found at least 5 and possibly 7 species - all fairly plentiful, and probably interchangable to the layman. Anyway, I believe these mostly may be pipis, because the shell is purple inside (I could send shell pics if you can tell me) but the species are definately intermixed, and it depends literally on moving a few yard as to what mixture you get.ReplyDelete
Dave -- I have literally no idea. I was just curious, because they didn't have the flatter, more streamlined shape I associate with pipis. But I'm fascinated by the range of edibles you're discovering there, and it's making me want to go to the beach...ReplyDelete
Is that what you call a crayfish? I think of little scuttlers, about the size of your finger, not something that can eat your hand! Of course, I think of them as freshwater -- maybe it's like Texas, everything grows bigger down there?ReplyDelete
Mike these are what you'd have called spiny lobster in Texas, and they're strictly marine. The local ones are part of genus Jasus - possibly being what the Texan said when he saw one from Flinders. We got to keep the baby - 1.7kg. There is a shell of 11.5kg one in the pub. These are huge by Tassie standards, but they're not very abundant.ReplyDelete
Dirk, to climb on what is rapidly becoming a hobby-horse of mine - Australia and particularly Tasmania has a gourmet's delight of food opportunities. And what happens to it? It's either ripped for short-term commercial gain - shipped off in a raw state for a pittance (compared to the selling price) to the Far East where they have wrecked their own, or gets wasted as 'bait'. I'm all for sustainable harvest and very very much for locals processing food for high quality, high value. If you want to eat wonderful Tassie xyz - you should need to come to a tassie restuarant to do so, unless you are a local in which case you can catch your own. There's enough and it will be more profitable than selling our best as a raw product for 1/20 of the real value.ReplyDelete
Dave, doncha just love the real world where deals that enrich a few are done behind closed doors. SA Eskom prices, like Tassie fish, are lekker squiff. BHP Billiton pays 19c per Kilowatt hour (source IOL 21st April 2010). Suggested that BHP Billiton smelters contribute 0.1 percent to national GDP. Domestic users (rural, non municipal) pay 46c to 55c per Kilowatt hour with approx. 25 percent price hikes each year for the next 3 years.ReplyDelete
Déjà vu - the term Tassie takes me back to flagons of cheap red wine which were downed with great vigour.
That crayfish is awesome! Under the heading of misunderstanding-by-common-name, around here a crayfish is a fresh water critter about four inches in length. Generally boiled up with lots of garlic and peppers, added to thick soups and so forth.ReplyDelete
Okay, spiny lobster fits better. And matapam's crayfish are more what I was thinking of. Gumbo and whatnot.ReplyDelete
Hum. Moreton (sp?) Bay Bugs? I think those are north Australia, but if you find them in your area, they are good eating. I had them in Noosa Heads, when a local restaurant said they were on daily special, so a group of us from the conference tried them. Excellent.
Mike there are two 'bug'species I know of, harvested commercially Moreton bay and Balmain. I have a feeling they both live further north - but like the shoveller crayfish/slipper lobster in SA, not something available to the coastal diver as they were quite deep water. Still there may be a local burrowing crayfish - time and detective work will tell.ReplyDelete
Matapam - they're quite intimidating -- to the bloke who wrestles them underwater. Awsome to diner :-). That'll be 2 pounds of straight spiny lobster meat there.ReplyDelete
Mike- on bugs - Balmain bugs are apparently also found in Tasmania. Says 20-500 meters (bit deep for me, but maybe in a pot or trap?ReplyDelete
The nice thing about pots or traps is that you can put them out, then come back in a while and check -- and you haven't been working the whole time. And there's lots of designs around.ReplyDelete
I am keen on the pot idea, but they seem to come into the group of "need a boat" items, and I am fixed on the "need a house" bit first. We are renting a wonderful house, but I would like to have our own space some day.ReplyDelete
Good idea! And if/when you have a boat, you might try a weir? I just learned about them here in Japan http://mbarker.livejournal.com/143731.htmlReplyDelete
Simple idea -- use woven bamboo fencing to make a maze that the fish swim into and can't swim back out of (easily). Bait in the middle, and then net the fish out of the middle from time to time.
Hum -- they catch squid in pots here, too?
I like the weir idea, and I think we could try it without a boat, just wade out, it is fairly shallow here for a long way on many of the beaches.ReplyDelete
Do the squid not just swim out again? We will have to try it and see!
To be honest, what I've seen on TV seems to be pottery bottles. I think what happens is that the squid goes inside thinking this is a nice new safe home -- and then someone yanks the whole thing out of the water and pulls him out. But I don't know why ... oh, drat, I'm confusing octopus and squid (tako and ika). Okay, reset, I'm thinking about octopus. Not sure how they catch squid. Japanese TV is pretty wide-ranging in the fishing shows, though, so I'll keep an eye out.ReplyDelete
I haven't seen an octopus here, yet. But I am very worried about the blue ring one, so I am totally happy with just squid and cuttlefish later maybe. The octopus can stay far away.ReplyDelete
Did you catch the video last year some time of the coconut-shell-inhabiting octopus that scuttles along on the sand, carrying its house? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1DoWdHOtlrkReplyDelete
I love it!! Luckily it works on my computer even though I have no sound.ReplyDelete