I went for venture on the beach today to capture a nice Tahitian sunset. I did capture it, but I’m not so sure I will be able to retrieve the photos. I was making my way across the black rocks on the shoreline when I came to a slippery patch and went down. I lost my footing, did a bit of a spangle dance, and promptly face planted. My purse landed under me in a pool of water and, camera still in hand, both splashed and crashed into a pool as well. And now it’s not working. 😦
But I digress. It is because of my intense desire to get a good sunset photo that I lost track of how far I was walking and ended up still making my way across the beach as night loomed closer. It was on the walk back that I became re-acquainted with crabs. I have always viewed crabs as harmless little creatures that chill out on rocks and for the most part I hardly give them a second glance. Because the tide was coming in, I was running out of beach space between the crashing waves and the wall that separated them from the houses above. I had just trekked through the water to get to a small sandy bit and had just one more water crossing to make.
As the last rays of sun dipped below the horizon, casting the world in a purple haze, I first heard the tic tic tic of their claws on the rocks. I turned just in time to see a crab scuttle across the wall past me. Surprised, I jumped back before laughing at my own reaction. Suddenly, another one came streaking out of nowhere. Tictictictic, it’s little legs moved at lightning speed as it shot across the rocks. To be honest it actually looked a bit creepy. I began to see more and more of them-they were everywhere! On the rocks, on the walls, scuttling across the beach…I was surrounded. And I was trapped. I was trapped on this desolate speck of land, surrounded by black reef and rocks that provided plenty of nooks and crannies to hide a crab army. Some of those crabs weren’t small either.
I don’t know if it was the fact that I would soon not be able to see these ninja fast crabs in the impending darkness or that the diminishing light made them look like GIANT SPIDERS, but I became ensnared in the throes of an immobilizing and somewhat irrational fear of these crustaceans. Mild panic set in as to what my next move should be and, as if on cue, I hear a chhchhchhchhchh type sound. I whirled around just in time to see one of them run across the water to a nearby rock. These little monsters can walk. on. water. I stood helplessly and debated what to do; not even the water was safe anymore. I looked back the way I had just been but that was no use, the tide was even higher now and I couldn’t turn around. There was no way to get access to the road back there anyway. I fully debated going up the nearest set of stairs and knocking on some random resident’s back door just to ask if I could cut through their yard or house to get to the street. In the end I decided no, I needed to overcome this new found fear (and there were crabs all over the stairs). I was losing light fast and had to take action. I began to tread slowly and cautiously forward, literally talking myself through it as my heart nearly pounded out of my chest. Tictictictictictictictic “You can do this Kayla, grow a backbone they are just little crabs.” Chchchchchch “Meeehhhhh….no, it’s ok keep moving. I mean they are crabs, you are at least 12xs their size. I mean they’re probably just as scared of you as you are of-AAAAAGGGHHH!!” I yelped while hurling a rock into the water and jumped back with a splash as one of them attacked me skittered across the water towards the beach. I’m sure in the daytime their amazing Jesus feat would be cool to watch, but on this dark, strange shoreline these hard shelled spider-like creatures that could run on water were what nightmares are made of. I began periodically tossing rocks in front of me as I walked in an attempt to force any little crabbies hiding in wait to show themselves.
The tide began to rush in even faster and I was only halfway across my watery hell hole. The rocks on the sandy ocean floor blurred, making it impossible to tell what was rock and what was creature. I honestly can’t tell you where this unnatural fear of crabs came from, I’ve never really been afraid of them before. I think what terrified me the most was either the idea of one of these crabs scuttling over my bare feet in the dark or running at me from across the water. I could envision them running at me, jumping and clawing up my leg like they did on the rocks. You would be scared too, don’t deny it. Food for thought: why was I only seeing these crabs after the sun went down? I was on the beach and over the rocks all day, where were they then? They were either vampire crabs (out for blood like any vampire) or demon crabs (and who wouldn’t be scared of a demon?).
After many almost falls, close calls, and constant, audible pep talk, I emerged on the other side unscathed. The rest of the beach was pure sand and seemingly vampire demon spider crab free (I spent the first few minutes anxiously scanning the ground for them before convincing myself they only like the rocks before the deep purple of dusk faded finally to black) and I enjoyed a starlit stroll along the beach.
I think I was caught in nothing more than a fleeting phobia of crabs, the thought of them doesn’t scare me and I’m pretty sure if I saw one during the day I would be fine. Or even at night.