(Hi Regular Readers, it’s been a bit quiet this week at Gb.com owing to the fact that I’ve been away on a trip to NSW, will be back home soon and blogging my little heart out…)
The thing about having a mate like ‘No Worries’ Neville is that my social life is:
a) never boring, b) full of humorous and interesting incidents, and c) slowly killing me.
Nev is one of those people who tends not to worry about most things. To him, Planet Earth is just one big playroom full of exciting and interesting stuff to see and do. Nev works and plays hard; sometimes a little too hard.
For example, crabbing for me is a gentle putter up a small inlet to drop in a couple of pots, followed by a few hours of casual fishing, and popping back to pick up the pots before going home. If we manage to catch a crab and some fish, then that is a bonus. This style of hunting does not appeal to Nev, as it flies in the face of his ‘boots and all’ ethos.
Nevs’ trips are all about killing bin loads of crabs, and much preparation goes into each expedition. The boat is meticulously prepared, the crew carefully chosen (usually me and his dog), the area to be crabbed is given the once over the day before, then the bait is selected depending on the tides, the time of year, the current moon cycle and solar index, water acidity and wind direction. Nothing, absolutely nothing, is left to chance.
My role on these missions is holding the boat on the ramp while Nev parks the car, packing the stinking lumps of bait into their little pouches, and trying to keep the dog out of the mud and the bait bin. On the water, Nev usually drives the boat, selects the best spots to place the pots, and fends off his wet, muddy coated, bait breathed dog, while I drop and pick up the pots. I’m now also in charge of keeping any stray mudcrabs away from Nevs’ feet until we get back to the ramp.
This last job came about from an incident which occurred when a mudcrab, dropped out of a pot I was shaking over the esky, landed on the deck and scuttled under the false floor of the boat before we could catch it. We spent nearly twenty minutes trying to coax it out, before Nev said, “No worries, we’ll get it at the boat ramp.” We picked up the rest of the pots, and turned for home at Nevs’ usual pace. Flat out.
Halfway back to the ramp my eyes were drawn to movement under Nevs’ seat. The muddie burst from the shadows, dashing between Nevs’ bare feet towards the pile of empty pots. Nev and I leaped on it, scrabbling about in the mess of nets, ropes and floats to catch the little blighter. Nev cried out it triumph, “Gotcha!” just as a thought occurred to me; “Nev!” I yelled over the roar of the outboard, “Who’s driving the boat?!”
We turned to see a wall of mangroves rushing towards us. Nev shrieked, and tossing the mudcrab onto my lap, lunged for the steering controls. The boat turned so hard that the crab fell to the floor before it could attach itself to any of my appendages, and while I scrabbled to stay upright, several large mangrove branches thudded into my arm and the back of my head as we swept past the trees to the safety of the middle of the creek.
Afterwards, in stunned silence, we did a quick tally of the damage. To Nevs’ relief, his boat was unscathed owing to the fact that my arm, shoulder and head had borne the brunt of the impact with the trees. Meanwhile, the crab had clambered back under the seat, and was sniggering at us.
Back at the boat ramp we loaded the boat onto the trailer then started ripping up the floor to find the little stowaway. It took ages, and when we finally managed to winkle it out of its’ hiding spot Nev held it aloft and groaned as he discovered that it was a female. As he walked it to the waters’ edge he loudly gave it one of his famous lectures. I don’t think she was listening, but it seemed to improve Nevs’ mood because he was smiling as he returned to his now disheveled boat, “No worries mate!” he beamed, giving my severely bruised shoulder a couple of hearty slaps, “Live and learn eh?”
I certainly have. We haven’t crabbed together since.