My husband, the alien, and I arrived at a tide pool on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica during low tide. We’d come to body surf and did not bring our camera. We do not need to record our body surfing tumbles for posterity.
I’d seen beach crabs before – little hermit crabs that scuttle into tiny holes in the sand or hide in empty shells. The crabs here were big, like the ones at the fish market, or restaurants. Their shells were red and blue and green in abstract patterns. They like to show off. No hiding when I approached. No scuttling away from moving tide waters.
Little crabs scurry along on 8 bent legs. These big crabs stand up on 6 legs – with the other two in the air, as if they’ve been told stick-em-up. Just when I thought I understood what they were doing, they entered the tide pool, lowered all 8 of their legs and scuttled sideways.
Later I told our guide what I’d seen. He was not impressed. “There are always crabs on the beach.” We went back with our camera. The tide was higher. The tide pools were covered. The crabs were gone.