A tremendous heat wave was stalled over southern NJ. There was no end in sight. Warnings of high heat levels were posted all over, and the temps. were hitting an average of 105 degrees daily.
Capt. Willie of Vineland NJ, headed for Dividing Creek for a day of crabbing and fishing. His guests today are youngest daughter Billie Sue and her good friend Krista Leigh Bateman from Fairton, NJ. Both are 12 year old Jr. high students and athletes from Cumberland Christian School.
Arriving at Dividing Creek's Maple Pond, the Capt and crew unloaded the basstender 10 from the captains truck. The small water vessel is a 10' plastic tri-hull. The boat is very buoyant and wide, and is powered by a 3.5 Tohatsu motor. Loaded on the boat were a bushel basket, 1 trap each for Billie Sue and Krista, and a fishing pole for the capt. Plenty of snacks and water were stashed in the cooler, and it was time to sail!
In the water at 4:30am, just before sunup, the crew followed the out-going tide across the large pond. The sky was very bright from the glowing full moon that reflected off the meadow and smooth flowing waters. It was quiet, peaceful, and still. The crew arrived at the end of the pond where it meets the creek opening in about 10 minutes, and began to try different areas for crabs and fish. It was also a time to relax, take in the sights, and say the pre-crab prayer. What a morning! The distant rising sun began to appear, it was orange-red and a few rays were shooting across the morning sky and bringing high heat. The tide was almost all out. The crew shifted their efforts to a spot where the area was once cut off by a meadow dam. Parts of the dam were still there. The Capt. cast out a fishing line and sat back in hopes the pole would bend. Billie Sue and Krista were laughing, talking, enjoying the morning, and chomping on some snacks. The heat started to pick up, it's 6:00am. Krista pulled in her trap and it had 3 big Jimmys with huge claws staring at her. Billie Sue then pulled in her trap and it had 3 monsters in it, with 1 hanging out of the trap with it's claw in the door. Krista pulled in 2 more, then Billie Sue pulled in 2 more, with 1 on top of the trap. Then the Capt. brought 1 in on the fishing line. Big hungry blue claws now surrounded the boat, and were fighting each other to get in the traps. Billie Sue and Krista came up with a crab catching plan of attack. They counted to 100 out loud as fast as they could, and brought the traps up fast! Speed was important because crabs were not only in, but on top of the traps. It was crab heaven. Each pull-up produce 2 to 5 big jimmy crabs. Between the 2 crab girls, and the Capt. reeling, the crew filled up the bushel basket to the over-flow point in 1.5 hrs. It was a fun crab rush, but it was now very hot and humid.
There sat the crew, still bringing in crabs, but not a lot of room to store them. The tide was dead low, and would not be back in for hours. Maple Pond at low tide is only about 4 to 12" deep. The gang was about a mile and a half from the other end of the pond where the truck was. The motor could not be used because the prop would just sink into the mud. The oars were no good, the water in the mud flats was just to shallow. The crew was now hot and tired, but still crabbing. This adventure was quite a workout. Heat was building faster, and now the meadow bugs were flying in. The Capt. began to ponder the situation. How to navigate the vessel from point a to point b, without the motor. The more he pondered, the hotter it got.
The Capt. fired up the motor and went as far as he could, about 100 feet. The Capt. then went overboard, grabbed the anchor rope, and started dragging the boat across the mud flat. The captain kept his high top sneakers on in case those crabs got confused about what they were supposed to eat. It was an established fact they were hungry today. Every little bit the capt would hit a deep spot, fire up the engine and travel a little, then hit mud again. It was dragging time again. The capt had to stop and rest sometimes. The crew would toss out their traps and bring in more crabs. Those crabs were all over, Maple Pond was crammed full with big hungry blue crabs. They were aggressive, the capt kept hoping those bumping things on his feet were rocks or fish or something.
After about an hour of dragging, the boat arrived on the shore. The truck was loaded, and the crabbers and boat were heading to land base. The crabs were then cleaned and steamed. The happy crew sat around eating crabs for a long time. They began feasting by 11:00 am.
It was a terrific crab day on maple pond. Billie Sue's friend Krista really nailed her share of crabs, and took a mess of them home. This was a crab adventure to always remember !!
Capt Willie, creek crabber !!
Psalm 119:35 Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find Delight.
June: 1998 update-- Billie Sue and
Krista Leigh have just graduated from Cumberland Christian
School. They remain the best of friends, and played on several
sports teams together, both varstiy and JV. This included an
undefeated softball season where they were captains on the JV
team the Capt Coaches. They also won a couple varsity titles in
basketball. Krista is Valdictorian of the class. Both love the
Lord. It was fun watching them grow up. willie2.htm