ClockMonday, 14/08/2023 10:53

Ghost Crab Chase

TTH.VN - A neat preparation with a flashlight, a shovel, a one-meter-long stick and a bag is just enough for an interesting chase of ghost crabs at night.

Bustling sea tourismExcited with team building activitiesBeaches in Quang Dien attracting visitorsTwo Vietnam's beaches among top 10 most popular beach destinations in the world on TikTokPeaceful and fresh deserted beaches

 Back to childhood by finding ghost crabs

Back to childhood

During mid-summer, from the 20th of a lunar month to the 5th of the next, ghost crabs have the firmest and sweetest meat. That is why there are many people chasing ghost crabs on the beach during dark nights.

Mr. Tuan, a 40-year-old man from Vinh My commune, Phu Loc district said: “It is very interesting to me to chase ghost crabs. The ghost crab I try to catch is the horn-eyed ghost crab, which has long legs and run fast. In particular, this species is able to burrow to hide themselves in the sand while they are looking for food. Each chase is a competition because they run fast, defend themselves well, and have a smart burrowing habit.

The horn-eyed ghost crab burrows its way into the sand, especially on deserted beaches. As soon as they feel a movement, they immediately get into the burrow or rush to the sea to hide. When there were no flashlights, people used to light torches to chase ghost crabs. “Today, life is better, so people chase ghost crabs mostly for fun to revive childhood memories or enjoy the childhood food again. There is just a small number of people chasing ghost crabs, but once they join the chase, they will have interesting experiences, one after another,” said Mr. Tuan.

A ghost crab trapping for trade requires people to dig holes, put plastic buckets a few inches below the ground, and some fish bait in the bucket to entice ghost crabs. On the other hand, a ghost crab chase only requires simple equipment. Mr. Tuan and others chased after or dug the holes on the beach to catch each one of the horn-eyed ghost crabs.

 Mr. Hung caught a smart ghost crab

Mr. Hung, another member, said: “We often go to Giang Hai beach (Phu Loc) because the coast here is long, flat and it has many horn-eyed ghost crabs. The color of their body is generally similar to the color of sand, but the big ones have eye-catching purple blue color. It is difficult to catch these big ones as they are experienced to hide from humans.”

Following Mr. Tuan and Mr. Hung, we witnessed a funny and interesting ghost crab chase. When he reached the cave, Mr. Hung used a long stick to guide the way, shoveling sand to reveal the burrow. It might be thought to be over, but on the right side of the burrow appeared a smaller, zigzag passage. Hung exclaimed: I just dug the burrow of a clever ghost crab! It does not just have this niche, sometimes it has 2-3 additional niches close to the ground so that they can quickly escape in many different directions when an enemy attacks.”

A skillful ghost crab chaser

It was right as Mr. Hung said. After checking all the niches and crannies around the burrow, he finally caught a large ghost crab with the size of a child’s fist. The purple blue body is eye-catching.

He added: “Some horn-eyed ghost crabs are clever, but others are lazy. Wise big ghost crabs rarely dig shallow burrow, but once I came across shallow burrows, it was easy to catch big ones. It was no longer interesting, though.”

The claws of a horn-eyed ghost crab are powerful weapons, being so strong and quickly responsive. Horn-eyed ghost crabs are ready to attack diggers who are hundreds of times bigger in size than themselves.

Ghost crab chasing and digging, though tiring, has a lot of fun for those who consider it a hobby and passion like Mr. Tuan and Mr. Hung. It is memorable time when they shovel sand to find the burrows of ghost crabs, or when they are bitten by the ghost crabs. To avoid bites from the powerful claws, they often use a stick to probe before quickly grabbing the ghost crabs out of the tricky burrow with their bare hands.

Horn-eyed can be an ingredient for many delicious dishes, such as sponge gourd soup with ghost crab meat, roasted ghost crabs, and ghost crab porridge. Whatever dish it is, the salty taste of ghost crab is very special because they have the taste of childhood of many people.

Moreover, it is the chasing and digging ghost crab that brings strange feeling and vivid memory of a time when the forefathers lit large torches and chased the ghost crabs while the sea was roaring with waves.

Story and photos: Mai Hue
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