Mr Crabs and the Gringos

So this is one of this stories only those special travel destinations write. This time, it is Colombia. The Pacific. One of those small fishing villages. The town has around 30 houses, 3 stores and an Internet Café which didn’t have internet even once while our one-week long stay. To enjoy the quiet and tranquillo beach life you either have to take a boat which goes technically twice a week (technically because during our stay it didn`t even go once) or fly from Medellin in a small plane with up to 7 other adventurous tourists. But the hostel is not in town… no, way too easy. First, you take a taxi on the only road to an even smaller town and then walk along the beach for half an hour. Once you arrive, there is nothing to distract you from walking up and down the beach, swim, surf or chill in a hammock. The perfect haven. The place to rest the soul and the body.

But sometimes your mind needs some distraction. You sit with the 4 other people who stay at the hostel at dinner. Chat about nothing in special. One recognizes the big land crab which is living right next to the kitchen. It only comes out at night. It only looks barely out of its hole, but it is, and I´m not exaggerating here, at least, the size of a grown up lobster. One claw huge, the other tiny. After a short talk with the neighboring workers, we learned they are indeed good to eat, yeah even a delicacy…. So the conclusion is simple and obvious…Come on  4 guys and a few beers? For sure we need to catch it, the hunter is awoken. Can`t be that hard, it’s just a fucking crab, how big can its brain be.  Naïve as we are, we just start with the most obvious plan. Sit in front of the hole and wait. The crab doesn`t know yet what kind of shitstorm is coming its way so it checks out who is sitting in front of his main door. After the first quick snatches at his legs, he got the message and was hiding deep in this hole. After a while, the hunters get bored and search for alternatives. So bait it should be. Lure him out of his comfy home into our arms… Coconut pieces are placed and to our surprise Mr. Crabs actually is interested. But he does not dare to get out all the way again. So no more trying to just grab him. Also, our hostel daddy told us that a crab this size has no problem cutting off your thumb if it gets angry. So a bit more sneaky. Some fishing line, a long stick, and a sling should solve our problem. Surprisingly Mr. Crabs is not reacting to well to the new intrusion of his privacy. He is actually fighting the stick and is not letting us place it around one of his legs or his claw… It gets late and the methods get more crude. Blowing smoke in the end of this tunnels and scaring him out with noise didn’t work at all. The next logical step… use our obvious advantage in strength and number. A long metal bar right behind him will for sure convince him it is wiser to come out and play with us than hide in that stupid hole. Well, Mr. Crabs smelled that coming and went hiding in one of the smaller side parts of his fortress. Outsmarted…Damn it. For sure we can’t go to sleep like this in any case.


But we are the crown jewel of evolution for a reason… Huge brains bring huge possibilities… What we need is a bait, a self-closing sling and time. God was generous enough to give us 2 engineers in our ranks, so the trap is set effectively and quickly. Time to sleep and let time work for us. The next morning we discover that one of our traps has actually worked. The crab is fixed to the fishing line. But another problem awaited us. Our engineers have been away from work and close to cheap alcohol for too long. The previously ignored stretch of the line and the flexibility of the anchor gave Mr. Grabs the possibility to hide too far in his hole for us to reach him. Since we are all very “experienced” crab fishers the logical next step is taken quickly. Tire it out. Starve it out. Make it want to come out. We get surprisingly close to our goal. But finally our poor Colombian material tires out. The line snaps and Mr. Crabs vanishes back in the deep darkness of his home. Unbearable… The next 2 days we spend placing new baits, setting new traps and plotting new diabolic ways to get to our food. So close and so far at the same time. The workers from next door come to see our progress every day and more than once suggest just dig it out, or kill it in the hole and pull out its tortured body afterwards… But come on, not our style.

SunsetWe never got Mr. Crabs out of his habitat. He is probably way better fed now and has some stories to tell to his buddies about the times when he outsmarted and outfought the team of 4 gringos. I’m not even sure if we would’ve eaten him if we’d gotten him out. By the end, we didn`t even put out our traps, we just put food out for him. He made it from potential food to the nice neighbor crab who beats the shit out of the huge cockroaches you throw town his doorstep. But he definitely gave us some good laughs and made our brains work way harder than we would have thought. So if you ever find yourself down at the pacific coast of Colombia and see a huge land crab, go ahead and try to get it out of its hole. Our time here is over and so we go back to the big cities, living the busy life and going to huge parties while we dream about returning to these quiet beaches. Hasta Pronto

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