November 1st was opening day for crab season and since then my boyfriend Thomas has been bringing an abundance of crab home to share. Literally, that same opening day we boiled fresh crab on his Uncle’s deck and his whole family picked at crab while eating cake and ice cream for his cousin’s birthday! Next we were off to my Aunt’s house to share more with my family. Cracking open the ice chest filled with crab, yes still barely alive, my Aunt screamed with delight and immediately started boiling water in the largest pot she could find. Then finally we were off to our friend’s house to boil some more fresh crab to share and to drop off a bag of Rock Fish freshly caught that morning as well. Needless to say crab season opened with a bang and Thomas was more than happy to share his catch.
Thomas has been fishing with his Uncle Greg in the deep waters of Santa Cruz for quite some time now. With my crazy schedule I never had the opportunity to join. Too many weddings, holiday sessions to photograph, and family celebrations to attend kept me busy. Finally, yesterday I was available and took the chance to escape on the Miss Adventure!
Terrified, overjoyed, and nervous emotions turned my tummy as I anticipated the day. I have always had a fear of any water that I couldn’t see through to the bottom or touch the floor with my toes. As much as I feared the idea of fishing in the deep sea I couldn’t wait to start the day! By 5:50 am we arrived at the Santa Cruz Marina to drop the boat and register for my one day fishing license. The sun and my eyes were finally starting to wake up and I was ready, with my camera in hand, for the big day! Just the thought of going out on the water as a first timer and only girl on board made me jittery and my teeth chatter, but I blamed that on the freezing coastal air and hopped on board.
Once we started jamming over the large rolling waves my fear slowly went away. It’s hard to believe that I actually felt safe on this massive, yet tiny boat in the ocean. Bundled up in Thomas’ flannel, beanie, and two layers of pants I was nice and cozy. Once the swells leveled out and we were in a prime place for fishing it was go time. I quickly learned that as soon as you hear the boat shift into reverse it’s time to grab you’re pole because the fish are HOT (right below the boat!). After a quick tutorial and lesson on fishing with my pole I was ready! It didn’t take long for my first bite! I felt like a little 5 year old girl with the biggest smile on my face as I reeled up my first fish! It was a pretty hefty one, too! Luckily, I just had to swing it over onto the boat and the boys took it off the hook for me. Not having to touch the fish was my kind of fishing.
After some time fishing and feeding the scavenger pelicans our throw backs we then took off towards the crab pots. No joke, before that day I thought Thomas and his uncles were on the shore with their rolled up Levi’s digging for crabs in the sand. I had no clue that they just dumped these crab cages into the deep water for them to crawl right into! Thank goodness for technology or it would be impossible to find those little buoys just floating in the water. Once we located the pots it was interesting watching the boys crank up the cages. One by one they raised them up on the boat and measured the crab. Each had to be at least 5 ¾ inches wide on the chest to keep. The babies were thrown overboard and got a lucky break!
At this time I was starting to feel the rocking of the boat get to my core. My head felt a little nauseous and I had a hard time eating my CupNoodles soup. I couldn’t even put my head down to fork some noodles, but it did come in handy as a hand warmer. I tried to keep my eyes on the horizon and keep the coast in focus, but after awhile the coloring in my face was gone and I felt like there was no going back. As the newcomer and fresh meat on the boat I was not about to say I was sick and wanted to go home. They were only on pot 5 of 17! I had to just suck it up. Luckily, Uncle Greg suggested I take a break and lay down in the lower cabin. It wasn’t long after I closed my eyes and laid down horizontally that the nausea went away. I even took a nap and felt so much better! Soon we were back in the Marina and I could breathe without the urge to throw up. Thank goodness we made it back alive.
Next it was time to clean and gut the fish. For a second I thought I was on an episode of Duck Dynasty learning how to gut the fish, slice it in half, and filet the meat. It was such a cool process to watch.
This one turquoise fish recently ate a baby crab! Uncle Greg noticed it’s hard tummy and it was like a biology class dissecting it to see what’s inside.
I must say that after this trip I learned a lot about crabbing, fishing, and respecting the deep sea.
1) Sometimes the fear of the unknown is exactly what you need to push you to try new things.
2) Everything worth having takes hard work and having a curiosity about the process keeps you learning.
3) Never settle for a boyfriend that doesn’t provide. There’s no greater blessing than having someone in your life that can literally bring home food.
Food makes me happy and the beard is just a bonus. Plain and simple.
With Love, Quianna Marie