Everyone loves eating crab. Okay, maybe not everyone but most people do. We usually go to restaurants when we feel like eating them, whether it’s chilli crab, pepper crab, butter crab, etc (I’m salivating while writing this already) or buy from markets / supermarkets to cook them at home.
Have you tried hunting and catching crabs though? I do not mean putting a cage with baits and wait for the crabs to be caught, but literally hunting them down? We did. And I have to say it was a brutal but exciting experience.
Flamingo Beach Resort in Umm Al Quwain, United Arab Emirates (UAE), which is about an hour’s drive away from Dubai, offers crab hunting for those who want to have a go. A word of caution though – be prepared for the not-so-great services from the resort staff, especially at the reception.
Upon reaching the resort, we were told that the rooms we booked for the night were not ready and we had to wait (they didn’t say for how long) so we went outside to the beach area, enjoyed our take-away from KFC and just relaxed.
The rooms were basic (not expecting much anyway) but clean. Since there were no other facilities other than a swimming pool in the resort, we played mahjong until it turned dark and were told to get ready for the crab hunt.
We were given a life jacket each and told to board the little speedboat.
After some time out in the open sea in complete darkness, without knowing where we were, where we were going or what we were suppose to do (there was no briefing or anything!), the speedboat came to a stop and we were told to “get out”! A brave soul jumped out into the water and we then knew the depth of the water was only about up to his knees. So everyone started jumping out as well without the slightest clue of what was going on. The boatman and his colleagues started pulling lights from another boat whilst handing out a spear-like fork to each one of us and said “follow me”.
We were very excited as we walked on the sea bed covered with very fine white sand. The boatman shone lights into the shallow water and demonstrated how to catch a crab. When he saw something moved, he aimed his spear at it and with a quick thrust, pushed the spear into the crab. “Like that” he said, holding up his spear and showed us his catch and then dropping it into the speedboat (to be brought back to the resort).
Since the crabs were hiding in the sand and moved relatively fast, many of us did not manage to catch anything during the first few attempts but eventually got the hang of it. We were walking on the sea bed with no shoes so there were a few times we felt the crabs run past our feet. I think we were lucky that none of us got bitten!
The whole process looked and even felt barbaric in the beginning but after a while, it was actually quite fun. There was even a sense of satisfaction when we got (killed) one. We were out there hunting for what felt like 30 mins or so (no one had a watch so nobody knew how long we were being barbarians for) and once we got back onboard the speedboat, everyone was asking everyone how many did you manage to get. Cruel human beings, I know.
We went back to the resort, showered and waited for the crabs as part of our dinner. Once they appeared on the dining table, they were gone in seconds!
The crabs were blue crab I think, with not much meat, but they were fresh (obviously) and sweet even though they were steamed with no seasoning at all.
Overall, it was a cool experience once we got over the barbaric feel haha.
Crab hunting, anyone?