When Brenda and I cruised the south coast of Cuba over the winter, we decided to take a land trip from Cienfuegos to Trinidad de Cuba.
Along the way, we witnessed a remarkable sight, the beginning of the annual migration of 100,000,000 Cuban land crabs (Gecarcinus ruricola) marching from their home in the mountains to the sea to lay their eggs. As they near the end of their 6 mile journey, a particularly long way, it seems to me, for a critter that always walks sideways, they must cross a busy coastal road shortly before reaching their destination. What a sight as they scurry sideways, claws held menacingly skyward.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have an opportunity to stop and take photos that day as we crunched our way through along the road. However, all is not lost as there are videos on YouTube about this and nearly every other topic that you could possibly imagine.
Along with touching crab videos, there are plenty to choose from that you’d probably want to skip. However, you’ll have to wait a moment longer for a particularly poignant example of that ilk. First, here’s a short and really fascinating, to me anyway, clip chronicling this remarkable migration to the sea.
You won’t believe just how many of these, not so little crabs, make their way from the mountains to the sea and back again each spring. How about 100 million? When we were there it was early in the season so the spectacle was limited to a road covered with mere thousands. Plenty yuck enough, if you ask Brenda. I understand that there are only a few places in the world where you can witness such a spectacle and Cuba is right up there.
And, if you happen to be lucky enough to have a home along their route, you’d find yourself with thousands of crabs “beating a pathway to your door”. No, make that to your door, over your roof and down the other side, quite literally, each year.
So, if you happen to live in “crab city”, and double lucky you if you do, here’s a video of how you can prepare them for a nutritious meal, Cuban style. And, of course, you’ll see that they are very much alive while you are “preparing” them.
No land crabs in your neighborhood? Fear not. And I expect you are at least as thankful as Brenda is for that as she’s more like “Julie” in the terrific movie “Julie and Julia“, when it comes to preparing “recalcitrant crustaceans”. This “clip” from the movie offers a very personal take on preparing your own. Familiar? Of course, our heroine might have had a better time of it had she had just ripped off the legs and claws before putting them in the pot. Eeeewww!!!
Anyway, our visit to Trinidad de Cuba, as chronicled in this post, crabs aside, was wonderful and I encourage you to put it on your itinerary along with a bit of Gecarcinus ruricola salad (of course, that’s Cuban Land crab to the non Latin literate among us) Yum…
So, there you have it. just when you thought I had written on just about every imaginably inane topic… Scintillating detail about land crab migration and cooking instructions to boot. Who knew?