Our last full day in Holland began first with some crabbing, or crab-catching, by the docks. The children were captivated by this as they waited for the adults to slowly roll out of bed and gather for those Sunday family devotions I described in the last post.
This crab-fishing activity evolved over the course of several days. First the kids observed others with nets and tried out various methods of snatching one from the cool waters of the marina.
Then one afternoon they watched as two Dutch kids successfully caught crabs using a simple, ingenious homemade contraption. It inspired a variation of their own.
Using an old hair clip donated by a generous aunt, some string from their craft bag, and mussels scraped off the pilings and cracked open on the concrete (for bait), they pieced together their own crab-catcher.
They tied the string to the hair clip, and the clip held the mussel meat. Then they lowered it into the water and spied for crabs skittering along the rocks at the bottom.
The unsuspecting, hungry crab snatched the mussel and started to munch when the kids slowly raised the string, lifting the crab out of the water as it held on to its mussel for dear life.
General commotion ensued as someone called for a net and several cousins joined in the process: One held a net under the crab, someone else brought a bucket, and yet another shook the crab loose from the mussel.By evening, my children caught a total of 17 crabs.
And because one can’t get enough of these glorious creatures, here’s a close-up taken later in the day:
Catching crabs from the North Sea…when you have an experience like that, who needs souvenirs?
Note: It appears that these are the European Green Crab, an invasive species considered “an aquatic nuisance” in North America. We want to go on record as stating we did not import a single crab to the United States. We caught them and set them free again.
In case readers are curious, we did not attempt to eat them.
And for those more concerned about the crabs themselves, no crabs were harmed in the filming of this blog post nor even during their brief time in bucket captivity.
The human handler in the above photo, however, was pinched by the crab just after I snapped the picture.