skates slithered about. Little
crabs scuttled to safety of the scuppers, and one large barnacle-encrusted
veteran waved his claws viciously and made his last stand. Here and
there among the mass of jelly-fish, squid, starfish, and seaweed, a
demure little shrimp could be seen tripping over its own whiskers.
Around, above, and all over the deck and cabin in the sea gulls
were rapidly becoming a nuisance. They fought each other for fish at the
very feet of the Captain, undeterred by the heavy boots that often kicked
them over the side. Their screaming was deafening as they fought for
food, yet the bright show they made, winging and wheeling in the
morning sunlight, gave the haul-in an almost festive appearance.
Arnold and Sam sorted out the shrimp and the larger edible fish.
"Off with their heads" was the slogan so far as the shrimp was
concerned, and each one went headless into the wire basket. It is quite a
trick to decapitate a shrimp in the proper manner, and no novice should
keep at it long; as the carapace or shell of the shrimp is filled with a
liquid most irritating to the skin. Workers in the shrimp canneries harden
their hands in brine months before engaging in the work somewhat as
prize fighters used to do in training for a bout.
When the shrimp were stowed away in the iced depths of the
after holds, the fishermen began to pick up the larger fish. For these they