30 Aug
2013
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Sealife

There are no clouds in the sky and on this August bank holiday, the fishing village of New Quay on Cardigan Bay is packed with holidaymakers.

We join the throng on the pier and stare out to sea. We have only been there a few minutes when a dark shape lumps out of the water. A ripple of excitement goes through the sea watchers and someone shouts “Dolphin!”

I point at the water, urging Izzy to watch, too. An age seems to pass, but eventually the surface is broken again. There are two Bottlenose Dolphins below us, one smaller than the other – a mother and calf perhaps. We stare into the ocean, trying to guess where the animals will next appear. A tail flicks into the air and then slowly descends.

The dolphins were a wonderful bonus but our main reason for being here is to fish for crabs. There are dozens of people on the harbour wall pulling in Green Shore Crabs with mesh bags stuffed with bait. A man shows Izzy his catch and it scuttles sideways along his arm.

We board a boat and motor out into the sea. We gently lower crab nets over the side and when five minutes have passed, slowly raise them. Izzy ‘oooh’s with excitement each time we haul the net in and we peer hopefully into it, wondering what, if anything, we have caught. Soon, we have in our bucket two tiny Spider Crabs, camouflaged with seaweed scraps, a Common Whelk, a couple of Pouting, a Hermit Crab, several beautifully marked Velvet Swimming Crabs with red eyes and four see-through Common Prawns.

Afterwards, we eat icecreams, then find a spot on the packed beach, where we make sandcastles and paddle in the sea until it is time to leave.

Checklist

  • Hermit Crab
  • Pouting
  • Shore Crab
  • Spider Crab
  • Velvet Swimming Crab

Practicalities

We went out with Captain Crab’s crab fishing trips, which cost £10 per adult and £5 per child and lasted an hour. There are plenty of pay and display car parks in the town, as well as public toilets and shops/cafes etc.

Other places to see crabs


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