E is for Exoskeleton


Recently on the Women Who Sail Facebook page a woman posted a photograph of a tiny crab. The crab was very cute.  As a rule I kind of like crabs and other creatures with exoskeletons (except for the one I wrote about in B is for Bugs), even if they ARE like giant insects of the sea. I won’t say that the spider crabs we have up here don’t kind of give me the creeps, but I my internal Fran ‘The Frontal’ Cortex can convince me they are kind of cute, from a considerable distance.Mysterious Island

No, actually what sticks in my mind about this particular crab is that the woman said she had pulled it out of her partner’s ear. WHAAATTT? That’s disgusting! I cannot unsee or unread that. (And now, neither can you. Just sharing the wealth here. ) So… apparently now I have to be worried about tiny animals finding ways to enter my bodily orifices when I clean the hull down in the tropics? Who knew? To make matters worse, this is not an unusual occurrence. Other people have found crabs in their ears. One person even found a baby eel in someone’s ear! OH MY GOD! I don’t know about you, but I’m just saying ‘no’ to any kind of living creature taking up residence in any of my personal orifices.  Now I cannot get this scenario out of my head and I am completely grossed out. I mean, how can you have an entire crab living in your ear?

Not too worried because I will be taking steps.

Because of this, I will have to ‘take steps’. I’ll need to get a full body dive suit, including the hood, for any hull cleaning. Either that, or we have to pay someone to clean the hull. I have learned through the feedback on this FB post about a tiny crab that there is an entire ecosystem that begins to form on the hull bottom. First I’m reading about small crabs, and the next thing I know it’s all kinds of tiny living creatures floating around in the water. Of course, that makes sense, I just never thought about it. And I wish I wasn’t thinking about it now. When you scrape all those tiny animals off the hull, they float around looking for somewhere else to live. How do they know they won’t be welcome in your ear? Or some other more personal place?

Not to put too fine a point on it, the reason I’m not particularly anxious about crabs being in my own personal ears is because it’s not going to happen. Because I will TAKE STEPS to see it doesn’t. Amy wins on that one. Now she can go drink her milkshake and read Harry Potter.

The other giant exo-skeletoned animal I am not looking forward to is lobsters. I don’t really have anything against them, but they are a bit repulsive. And apparently fishermen and other cruisers just love to share them with you. The problem is that I can’t imagine eating one. I mean, these are GIANT INSECTS, people! I kind of have a thing about eating things where the bones are on the outside. Perhaps if I use enough butter.

If we were meant to eat lobsters, do you think they would be starring in horror movies?

Plus, I had a bad experience with cooking lobster when I was in high school. I don’t remember all the details but it was in Maine and whoever I was with had decided he had to eat lobster for the ‘full-on Maine’ experience. But he couldn’t afford to go to a restaurant to get one cooked the normal way: by someone else trained to do so. No. Of course not. He got a live one and dumped it in a pot of boiling water. And the pot was too small, and the poor thing just suffered rather than dying. Okay. First off, I do believe that if you are going to eat meat, which I do, the animal should be dead before you eat it. I’m not into eating living flesh. Plus, I don’t like animals having to suffer. That damn lobster wouldn’t die and it made noise. Have you ever heard a lobster make the noise of death? Yeah. I thought not.  Now the thought of cooking lobster makes me a little sick.

So I worry that on our trip, I will have to eat lobster. And crab. And maybe other things that have an exoskeleton. Or that live in shells.  I’m not sure about that, either. I’m kind of not into eating filter feeders as well because, you know, detritus and all that nasty stuff. Frankly, I’m not really into sea food at all, having only recently learned to eat fish. This has been hard on Mike, who loves all kinds of sea food. And still, we’ve managed to be married for a long time. We’ll figure this out, too.

Hmmm. Check back with me in a few years on this.

To be clear, I would be perfectly fine with not EVER eating any of those things if I didn’t know that I will be in situations where people are bound to say things like, ‘You don’t eat lobster? Really? What’s wrong with you? It’s delicious! Here! Just try it, you’ll see.’. Then they will point and laugh. And then I will feel compelled to try it just to please them and put a stop to their mirth. Because I kind of know that if most people in the world eat seafood, then how bad can it be?  Now I want to run screaming. And also probably brush my teeth and rinse really well.

Exoskeletons. Just let them stay in the sea as God intended.



13 thoughts on “E is for Exoskeleton

  1. Hmm…I remember that WWS FB post about the crab in her partner’s ear. I had quite deliberately erased it from my memory because it was so disgusting. Now, it’s back at the front of my brain in flashing lights saying, “Just wait until you fall asleep tonight, you’re going to have the most disturbing of dreams.” I can’t wait 🙂

  2. I’m with Ellen on this. I too had conveniently forgotten about that one. (thanks now…it’s baaaaccckk) I love all seafood, (well not clams…childhood memories, best let go), but I’ve never personally cooked a lobster.
    Donna on Denali Rose

    • You and Ellen are way better than me about putting those things out of mind. Also…clams… just no. I don’t even have to have a bad experience with them to know they are not for me. Unless they are deep fried in so much cornmeal I can’t really taste them anyhow. I might choke them down then, but only under duress. And I’ll probably just pick off the breading.

  3. Okay, I’m not even going to think about the crab in the ear and am going to just quickly move on to Dungeness crabs. Hate ’em! Sure, they taste okay. But they’re bottom feeders, ewwwwww! Same with lobsters. And prawns? Forget it. In fact, I can’t eat anything I’ve seen alive. I just can’t. I know it’s silly, but I don’t care.

    • OMG! That’s exactly how I feel! They are bottom feeders! So they are eating all the nasty bits and then I’m supposed to eat them? Um, I can’t think about that. I don’t eat crab, either. You are the only other person I’ve met who feels the same way about bottom feeders. And yeah, I pretty much don’t like to eat things I’ve seen alive. I can do fish, but only just and only if I don’t actually think about it. I know that’s not politically correct, but that’s how I feel. Also my body needs meat. I cannot be a vegetarian. So don’t even get me started.

  4. Well…
    Living in Maine as I do, the whole lobster thing is pretty much a non-conversation piece around here. On the other hand my co-captain Nicki is allergic to lobster, so that’s never a question for her anyway! If I want it, I cook it, and cook something equally yummy for her so everyone’s extremely happy!
    So, when we meet you in an anchorage somewhere, and invite you to dinner, we’ll ask you if you’re ok with what we’re planning, and if the answer is “not so much”, we’ll make something else. No pressure! 😉 Nobody should ever be asked to eat something they’re not keen on unless it’s a starvation situation – life’s too short.

    • I want all the cruisers I meet to be like you! Or maybe someday I will try lobster and like it. But I’m probably going to have to be tricked into it.

  5. I don’t eat seafood either- and it makes me so self conscious also. I loved this post as always- for its humor and honesty. Thank you!

  6. Maybe it will help you to know that Lobsters can’t scream…. they have no vocal chords. The noise you hear is air escaping the shell through small openings. It does sort of sound like screaming, but it is more akin to a whoopie cushion at higher pressure… See? All better now! LOL

  7. About the best I can do seafood wise is fish and chips. I used to eat shrimp, but not now that I know how they’re farmed, ick! I’ll occsasionally manage few bites of wild pacific salmon or smoked but other than that, uh-uh, not for me! All the crabs look like spiders to me, and I’ve had the misfortune of being forced to try clam nectar once (blech!)

    Oh, and I’m afraid I’m about to make your dreams worse. I had to take my boss to the ER one day when he got a moth stuck in his ear. Yes. true story. It was easy to get out with forceps but apparently it fluttered a lot in the interim…..

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.