Catching Blue Crabs in the Golfo de Paria | OCD and CreativeCoin #Inktober 2019 Event (Day 30: Catch)

in inktober •  12 days ago 

Greetings, dear Steemians
Inktober is almost over and I can't believe I've drawn on 30 prompts. This is my drawing for #Inktober day 30 (Catch). See OCD and CreativeCoin #Inktober contest details here.

Of all the things I could think of catching, capturing, or hunting one childhood memory won my hand's approval: blue crab catching. I grew up in Yaguaraparo, a small sleepy town on the Paria Gulf (North-East Venezuela) and crabs were one of the traditional dishes in our town. A couple of times a year men and women would go to the mangrove forest along the gulf coast and capture blue crabs with their bare hands.


This was not an easy task by any means, but the tough guys in town made it look like a piece of cake.


That's what made me try my innitiation when I was about 12. I used to see my elder brothers leave for the gulf at dawn and come back at dusk all muddy and exhausted but carrying sacks full of crabs hanging from a stick. My mother would prepare them the next day with rice (pelao de cangrejo, we called it). It was a delicious experience from start to finish and any boy wanted to be part of it.


That's how I convinced one of my brothers to take me one day. He told me I was not ready, but I followed him and his friend anyways. By the time they saw me following them, we were too far from home. So they decided to take me as a helper (guatanero). They had some mason gloves to facilitate the capturing of the crabs. At that time of the year they were deep in holes in the muddy ground.


I discovered the hard way how hard catching crabs was and how vicious and dangerous these little fellows can be, especially the females. My brother's friend would stick his hand in the crab's hole and start widening it up until half his body would fit. If the crabs were too deep yet, they would insert a piece of metal to serve as mecahnical arm and help reach the end of the cave. That operation might take an hour and in many cases no crab would be captured.


My brother gave me what was supposed to be a shallow hole. They gave me a glove and I lay on the ground and started to stick my hand, forearm, all the way to my shoulder in. I touched something and that something grabbed me. It actually bit me. I screamed. It is one thing to be bitten by something you are seeing; it is an entirely different thing to be bitten by who knows what underground. I was told to press further and pull whatever was down there. I did that but my glove tore and at lest one of my fingers was exposed. That's the one the female crab grabbed more firmly. You see, male crabs have claws so big you can stick your fingers in the middle and they can't hurt you; but female crabs have both claws relatively smaller and they can press at every inch, no room to stick your finger safely.


I felt as if my finger was being chopped little by little. My brother told me to stay still for a while and that the crab would let go of my finger. I did that, as hard as it sounds, but the damn thing only bit harder. It was so painful I pulled my arm out in one jerk and all I got was a female claw hanging from a bloody and muddy finger.

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I still love pelao de cangrejo (it's been a while since I last ate it though), but I'd rather pay whatever they charge me for some fresh, but dead crabs, than venture into the Paria Gulf mangroves.

Thanks for your visit


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Oh ouch, that must have hurt terribly! But I bet it is an interesting memory anyway! And it’s a great story to tell.

Great job on all the drawings. Have you enjoyed the process? Your work is beautiful, @hlezama!

Thanks, @jayna. I have. Except on a couple of prompts when the drawing just did not come out the way I imagined it and I got frustrated, every drawing has been a blast.
This one, as you suggested, caused mixed feeling. So many memories came to my mind, even the painful one was somehow reassuring. After all, much of what we learn in life comes through pain.

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Thank you very much.

It's a pleasure!

looks lively, Good graphics!)


Oh my word!!!! This sounds like a terrifying operation @hlezama, lol Your drawing is simply beautiful, along with your words I could just picture the situation. You laying in the mud your arm in the ground, scared and screaming with pain. Did you go back again and have success? Quite a hunting trip I would say, not for the faint of heart. You're not only gifted with writing but your artwork is beautiful as well. Thanks for sharing this story with us :)

Thank you very much. I did not try catching crabs that way again. I learned my lesson :)
There was a time of the year when it was raining hard and thunders made the earth shake and people could catch the crabs running out of their caves. I caught a couple that way once. It's a different stoy to get them in the open.

Love the story that went along with the artwork. Really gave it much a deeper meaning seeing what was behind the making of it.

Was great seeing the details being added to the drawing the further along the story went. It was like it was slowly coming into focus as the story progressed back in time to that moment.

Thank you very much for your attentive reading.

I have never been pinched by a crab but I could imagine how painful that has been for you. I hope you had caught enough to fix up a good meal of crabs after that painful experience.

Thanks for stopping by.
I actually ruined the hunt that day. My brother and his friend had to return because my finger looked really bad and they did not want to risk my catching an infection. They had caught about 6 crabs at that point and that was all we brought home. Enough for a meal, but not even close to the amount they would have caught had I not ruined their expedition :)

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