Crabbing on Cape York.
by David Wassell
(Brisbane, Qld., Australia.)
Hi. Silver Plains Station was in my family from 1932 to 1965 and I can tell you, as a former part owner of Silver Plains Station, I have many wonderful memories of my time living on Cape York.
Yes, especially going crabbing with my father, Lea Wassell. We would go down to the mouth of Breakfast Creek and after lighting a big fire of driftwood, we would them walk out to sea at low tide in knee deep water, armed with a stick, not much longer than a walking stick, a pair of pliers and a sugar bag.
On spotting a crab we would poke it with the stick until if grabbed hold with one of its nippers, we would then shake the stick to force the crab to drop it nipper, then came the task of removing the nipper from the stick. That was quickly achieved with the pliers, while at the same time, holding the sugar bag in the same hand holding the stick, then, after dropping the nipper into the sugar bag, look around for the next crab.
I recall many times we would collect around 30 nippers in next to no time, then on returning to the beach, roast the nippers in the hot ashes.
Crabbing this way ensured we would always reap a good harvest, that is, so long as we did not run into a crock or two. I nearly got taken by a crock in Breakfast Creek on day, but that's another story.