Experience / Honorary Watermans's Tour
A barcat is a
modified deadrise designed to work in very shallow water. Obviously, it
can creep over sand bars like a cat. The waterman by law and tradition
pulls the scrape aboard by hand. It’s pretty easy to spot a waterman who
has spent his life doing this by looking at his arms and shoulders. The
barcat slowly pulls an iron framed net over eel grass where crabs ready
to molt hide.
The Miss Stuart, a barcat, creeps slowly through the water.
waterman lifts the scrape into his boat, which is usually named after
his wife, he dumps the scrapes contents into a sorting trough built on
top of the boat gunwales (side).
It requires strength to pull the scrape aboard.
quickly sorts through the contents looking for peeler crabs (crabs which
will shed their shell in the near future.) As you watch or perhaps help
with this sorting you will most likely observe crabs at all life stages.
You may even
see a “doubler crab.” This is a male crab carrying a fertile soft female
crab beneath him while her shell hardens. Until that happens she is
quite vulnerable to predators.
see a hard backing out of its shell. Waterman call crab that has cracked
open its shell, in order to escape it, a buster. This feat of nature
amazes nearly everyone as the crab makes like Jim Carrey pulling his
face back in The Mask, only better.
A buster crab starting to back out of her shell.
In matter a of
minutes, when a crab pulls out of its old shell, it will expand in size
by one third. Even watermen, for whom this should be old hat, almost
universally express their wonder.
The dark crab was in the lighter shell just a little while ago.
Contact us today for more
information on being an honorary waterman.