Why Catch-a-Crab in Ketchikan?

KETCHIKAN — This is the story of two plates. One before, and one after. What you’re seeing is what happens when four people are given the opportunity to eat as much Dungeness crab as they like.

All we know about the other two….er, gluttons…at the table is that they were from Colorado and their appetite for crab was the equal of ours. The crabs were the climax of what Princess Cruise Lines calls its Wilderness Exploration and Crab Feast, and if you’ve noticed that this is the second straight day of filling our bellies with seafood, then we know you’re paying attention

Are you noticing a trend?

We could have gone on the Bering Sea Crab Fisherman’s Tour, but there didn’t see any eating involved, and we passed on the Misty Fjords and Wilderness Explorer because we heard someone say that “Misty Fjords” sounded like an old stripper, and Ketchikan does have its own bordello museum.

The “wilderness” part of our tour was okay, even though it fell on one of Ketchikan’s 260 rainy days of the year, because it’s a chance to see how “crabbers” do what “feasters” need. There are two crab pots filled every day, for tours like this, and everybody on the boat gets a chance to hold a crab without getting clawed. The tour guide, Amanda, was brave enough to wear one as a hat and one woman even performed the local policy of catch, kiss and release. However, lest anybody get too attached to these babies (especially the kisser), they’re not the ones that wind up on your plate after the boat docks.

Those babies are awesome.

Never before have we eaten crab with shells so soft you could break them with your hand. Never before have we been offered re-fills, even of hard-shelled crabs. Never before have we eaten so much crab, and we probably never will again.

On each end of the tour was a short bus ride on potholed streets from downtown Ketchikan, which these days is home to about 8,000 people. On each end of the tour was a 79-step walk to and from the dock where the boat and the lodge were, and even that didn’t make anybody…crabby.

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