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Judy’s Travel Diary

Sunday, 08 Jul 2007

Location: Shoal Bay, Australia

MapWe moved the van down to Shoal Bay. The setting is just beautiful, 60 acres with a boat ramp which you can only use 3 hours each side of full tide. There are facilities (if you can call them that) very basic but they light up a guerney at 4.30 in the afternoon so there will be hot showers. We spend the day getting the boat on the trailer and putting up our great sandfly shelter under the annexe. No power, but we have the generator and there are no water taps, but we can bucket water from the tank at the back of the shed. There are about 15 vans and plenty of room. The first afternoon we were too late to catch the tide but were told that if we towed the boat to East Arm at Palmerston we could try crabbing in the Elizabeth River. The river is huge and very deep. We put the pots out, enjoyed motoring about,nearly got stuck in a creek as the tide ran out but the crabs won and we came home empty handed. - No matter we still have barramundi in the freezer

Next morning we are ready to try our hand at crabbing. When we take the boat down to the boat ramp there is just a small strip of water with mud banks around. The tide comes in very quickly and in 5-10 minutes you can motor out into the creek and then into the bay. It is just huge this bay, with so many creeks and rivers coming out into it.

Mangroves everywhere.. There has to be crabs. It was very windy, and we put the pots in out of the wind, and we decided to fish. We quickly had a bite but were broken off, Mike then tried with heavier line and quickly the line was taken. After a great fight, We realised we had caught a beautiful shovelnose shark, lovely beige shades. We released him. Great day and we caught a nice fat mudcrab. Dinner

Next day - we put out the pots in a new place recommended by Dixie the guy who owns the camp ground. He is an ex professional crabber. Had a great day, fed the catfish and toad fish, saw crocodile drag marks across the mudflats and caught 3 lovely crabs... Dixie showed us a new way to cook the crabs, they steam them with lemon grass in the pot. They cook as quickly and taste just the same. Much easier.