Galley Wench Tales

Exploring the world through the people we meet
and the food they eat.

Go Speed Racer, Go!?!  This particular hermit crab
was on a trail in St. Barts.  Not sure how he would’ve
fared at the races.

Cruising, and travel in general, for me isn’t just about seeking sunshine, beautiful scenery and adventure or R & R (rest and relaxation).  It’s about broadening my perspective, sometimes in unexpected ways.
That’s what got Wayne and me to join the throngs of spectators for the greatest sporting event in Christiansted, St. Croix – hermit crab racing!
No, I am not making this up.  Several pubs take turns on different weeknights hosting the event.  It’s definitely a draw. 

These racers are doing
the crabby equivalent to
chomping at the bit to be
picked to race.
Here’s how it works
  • Racers choose or bring their crab(s); it’s $2/crab,
  • Competitors are further enticed by prizes, which the MC announces.
  • Competitors write the name of their crab on the outside of its shell.
  • All the racing crabs are put into a bucket, queuing up until race time.

The MC explains the race rules to the competitors
and spectators. Some listen more raptly than others.

The MC explains the rules…

  1. There are 4 heats, then there’s a double runoff among the winners of the four heats.  The winners are chosen from the final 2 heats.
  2. There is no talking or pointing during the race.
  3. The buckets of competing crabs are placed upside down, crabs captive inside the bucket, on the course start point, which is the center ring of a set of concentric circles, like a bull’s-eye.
  4. The winner is the first crab to makes it outside the course.
  5. The winner from each heat is announced by name and recorded. 

The bucket was lifted and… they’re off!… They
scuttle a bit slower than the break on a pool table.
And They’re Off!
  1. The MC’s assistant kazoos the race start.
  2. The bucket is lifted off the crabs.
  3. The crabs take off!
  4. A winner is identified.
  5. The MC and his assistant madly scramble to recapture all the crabs back into the buckets.
  6. The heats are resumed as the process is repeated until…
  7. The final winners are selected.

Wayne and I didn’t hang out long enough to find out who the final winners were, but we got a great laugh watching the mad scramble of the crabs and the MC and his assistant for the first 2 heats.
The MC and his assistant make their mad scramble
to gather back up the crabs. Notice they’re barefoot?
Brave souls.
“You know,” one of the locals told us at the bar, “Once you see how it works, you can make your fortune doing the same thing someplace else.”
Who knows?  Maybe we’ll do just that.  The world needs a little more silliness.