Friday, May 22, 2009

Tofino's Got Crabs

When I first lived here, some time in the late '80s, I am sure you could buy t-shirts or bumper stickers that said, Tofino Has Crabs (or maybe, Tofino's Got Crabs). Indeed we do. Great, big tasty Dungeness crabs. The sheltered, relatively shallow waters on the inlet side of the Esowista Peninsula are the perfect habitat. Thank goodness it is partially protected at least, as part of a Wildlife Management Area. You can see part of the mudflats here, behind Chesterman Beach, in this photo from The Nature Trust.

Of course, most of us love to eat crabs (I like mine boiled with nothing else -- no butter, no garlic, nothing; okay, maybe with just a big adult-sized bib and some nice chilled white), but we also celebrate the mud the crabs love. Just lookee here at the More Than Just Mud Mini-Flicks contest held earlier this year. Yup, in Tofino we sometimes celebrate mud.

Crabs have a long history in Tofino. Of course they were (and are) an important part of the diet of the native people who lived (and live) here. Early settlers enjoyed them too, and in the 1940s, the Crab Dock -- a Tofino landmark -- got it's start.

Here's what "The Crab Dock" looks like today. I don't think you can actually buy crabs there at the moment, but I've heard that might change in the near future.

One of the things I write about is local history. I publish some of my stories in Tofino Time and last month I wrote this mini-history of how The Crab Dock got its start. (If you're coming late to this blog, this link might be broken as it will only stay live for a month. If you're interested, email me.) Here's how that same building, which was the original cannery, looks today.

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