On Sunday, Matt and I successfully conducted our first crab hunt. I had been wanting to do this since we first arrived in Seattle, and was planning on a bountiful harvest of succulent Dungeness this summer, but unfortunately, fate had other plans. So when I found out that crab season had been extended until December 30 for certain marine zones in Washington, I was ecstatic. We decided to conduct our hunt at the Mukilteo T-dock, where I have seen throngs of Dungeness and red rock crabs during past dives.
Since Matt had not been out in open water for a while, we decided to warm up with a leisurely dive at Edmonds first. The visibility was still excellent, over 30 feet in some areas. Massive schools of shiner perch, pile perch, and tubesnout swirled around us. We also encountered a spotted ratfish, quillback rockfish, cabezon, and numerous massive lingcod. White-lined dirona nudibranchs covered the seafloor.
After a relaxing 50 minute dive, we filled up our tanks again and headed to Mukilteo. The visibility was excellent here as well, but we did encounter a bit of a current as we headed into deeper water. However, we did not need to go past 40 feet to harvest some decent-sized crab. Most of them were congregating under the dock, as expected, along with dozens of spotted ratfish. For an idea of what it was like, here’s a video of some freedivers rounding up Dungies near the oil dock, which is several hundred yards north of where we were diving. The crab population was not nearly as dense at the T-dock, but we still managed to get a good haul.
It took us about 50 minutes to round up 4 Dungeness and 4 red rock crabs of the appropriate size and gender. We tossed them in the cooler and headed home to feast on our bounty. Matt steamed them and served them with red potatoes, which was a simple but delicious meal. We had about a pound of meat leftover, which we plan on using for crab cakes. We will definitely be going back for more soon!