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Saturday, April 24, 2010

Crayfish Coast

All along the West Coast you can enter the water and find crayfish! But of course it is appreciated and eaten with reverence. Treat the abundance of the sea with disrespect and one day there will remain nothing! So it is essential to have a licence which allows you a limited quantity. Undersized crayfish are always returned to the sea to breed another day.

One of my first visits ever to Paternoster, we had hardly parked or someone offered us crayfish for sale and asked us to open the car boot fast! These are such nice and amusing people, but their wares, you must ignore. Of course the local people had taken from the sea for generations and see rules as something to get around. There are plenty of stories of locals putting out sentries to warn them of the approach of "Fauna and Flora" which is the name for the Marine and Coastal inspectors.

Here is a favourite story, often told: A vendor walks with a bucket of undersized crayfish when an inspector appears suddenly.
"You are selling small ones there!"
"No, sir, " comes the answer, "I am teaching them to swim...I will show you!" He walks to the water and let the crayfish down one by one and they swim away.
"I still do not believe you" says the inspector, "I am fining you for possession of illegal crayfish".
Fast as a flash comes the answer: "Which crayfish?"

The crayfish on our plates are enormous and taken out by a kindly young neighbour (with licence, of course)! Sometimes we buy them at Velddrif or Paternoster and all the restaurants also offer crayfish. The painting gave me great pleasure as I longed for colour after I have been doing a lot of blue skies lately.


  1. What a wonderful gimps into crayfish harvesting...I will never look at them the same way again. Love the brilliant colors that you used! : )

  2. Marie,
    What a wonder part of history and such a great painting. I have never eaten crayfish but assume they must be similar to lobster. The color is vibrant and a feast for the eye!

  3. And the color is beautiful, Marie! Not that I'm a crayfish eater...or shrimp...or crawdads...or whatever the term is. Still, sure makes for a beautiful plate and an even more beautiful painting!

  4. A sweet surprise to see Helen here, thank you. There is more to tell, I may do another crayfish post! (Do you call it lobster?)

    Thank you, Linda. This painting really saturated my longing for some colour with winter starting here!

    Sherry, how sweet of you to appreciate the painting despite your aversion to the sea-creepy-crawlies!

  5. After writing all those words, I forgot the password and nothing happened! Love the kreef, wonderful colours and the story of the undersized crayfish is so typical of the colourful characters you find in this area. Lovely. Keep well Marie.

  6. I do love this painting with its intense color. The only place I have ever eaten crayfish is in New Orleans. Delish!

  7. beautiful color in this crayfish. I love a table scape. The actual photo looks like a wonderful feast!!

  8. I love the pink/orange on the blue plate. The colors are lovely. I enjoyed your story of the crayfish. I think we call them lobsters here. We have a similar situation here with rules about catching them, but the native Canadians have there own rules...they were catching them long before Europeans arrived on this continent.
    This looks positively yummy! Pass the butter please!

  9. Yummmmmmmmmm

    Pass the drawn butter!!

  10. Your crayfish sure grow big. The word Paternoster takes me right back to our early married days when we used to go to the Dorset coast with friends and catch mackerel from the beach as they went by in shoals and the line with lots of extensions was called a Paternoster!! Has that anything to do with the name of the West coast town??

  11. Another interesting post and lovely painting!

  12. Nice painting ,me too introduced to crayfish now..

  13. Marie, sorry that I haven't had much time to check in on my blog friends as I so enjoy your work and your lessons on your area of the world.

    I love your recent paintings, especially he white painting, which is just lovely! You captured the feel of the sea and the traditional style of the homes.

  14. Thank you, Liz! It is difficult to put real characters from the area into words.

    Tx for visiting A2Z & Mary.

    Catherine, we seem to like a lot of similar things and will meet one day!

    Tx for the visit Marian!You work hard over there on your blog! I see a lot happening!

    Joan, you are so right. The equipment named paternoster is also known here. But I think people like to create legends around names of country places!

    Thank you, Cathyann and Rishi!

    Mary, I have also been absent from blogging far too long and must continue the journey. Thank you for your kind remarks.

  15. Marie, a wonderful painting. I love the colors as well. Well done. Have a great weekend.

  16. Marie, what a great painting, and a great post! I love the colors, but was surprised to learn that crayfish are so big! I am only used to the small ones we used to find in the creek when I was a kid.

  17. Marie,

    I'm so missing your atwork on Facebook. You are one of my favorites! I hope everything is OK. Take care!

  18. Joan thank you! I notice that you are working hard and will visit your blog(s) soon.

    Thank you, Claire! Yes they are big! The one you see hear covers a dinner plate. Thre are lots of meat.

    Sweet Annemarie, thank you for asking. I am working on an exhibition which came up suddenly.

  19. Great painting, Marie!!
    Yummmmm! Sit down with that plate and melted garlic butter...and get crackin'! Looks delicious!
    Sad but true...the population is getting so huge there must be a limit set to how much may be harvested from nature's bounty.

  20. Thanks for finding this painting from 'long ago', Dean. I find that when I dress my table in truly warm colours, the food look very inviting!


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