Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Crayfish cove

A couple of weeks ago Chloe and I walked around Lake Ralphine before the sun came out from behind the thick blanket of fog that's been a regular part of our summer this year. We had the place mostly to ourselves and wandered along enjoying the quiet. As we reached the far end of the lake I saw some movement on the ground, out of the corner of my eye, and stopped to see what it might be. I was surprised to find several crayfish roaming about a small beach. I should mention that we've encountered several individuals, over the past couple of weeks, clumsily hoisting themselves over rocks and up small hills near the water and I've wondered what might be bringing them out of the water. This was a
large party which Chloe and I crashed with great enthusiasm. Most of the crayfish backed themselves into the lake, waving their claws menacingly, and disappeared under rocks. I sat down on one of the larger boulders, thinking I'd wait quietly and see if they'd come back out, and was surprised by a large crayfish hiding underneath my boulder and gesturing wildly at me to back off. I moved over to the next rock, out of the trapped crayfish's sight and waited. Those in the water slowly began to mill about and some even headed my way, but as soon as they saw me, did that strange backward crayfish shuffle and hid. In the meantime, the landlocked fellow edged his way back into the water and glared at me from behind a submerged rock.
Hikers and fishermen began to appear and I decided to continue my walk and come back to what I now call Crayfish cove another day.

The next morning I walked along the same trail, excited about what I might find in the cove. Sadly, there weren't any crayfish on land, but looking closely in the water revealed several of them partly hidden under rocks. I began to sketch the underwater scene but the crayfish disapproved and all disappeared as I sketched. I was sorry to see them go but enjoyed sketching the submerged rocks anyway.

A week later, I still hadn't found any crayfish roaming about but noticed that the water level was quite a bit higher, covering much of the beach with water. Perhaps, the crayfish had been disoriented by the lower water level. I still favor the notion that they were just having a really fine party that spilled over from night to day and I got there for the grand finale.


  1. Hello Debbie,
    what an interesting observation! I like the water sketch a lot, it is a fine translation of the intriguing look onto a moving water surface into drawing marks and color layers.

  2. What an interesting post. I too have seen several crayfish on land shortly after the water was dropped in a muddy reservoir. Your post makes me wonder if we aren't seeing a bunch of crayfish that haven't quite figured out their water is gone and they need to move. ... but I like the thought of a grand crayfish party.

  3. So this is what serious party animals look like when confronted by those annoying 'morning people' out and about before the party's over. I'm so glad you are a morning person and draw so beautifully!