The glorious sunshine has returned here in Portugal, and all thoughts seem to be turning to summer. So I thought I better post this before we forget the impact of Emma, Felix and Gisele. As you may recall from my flamingo post trees were uprooted and buildings damaged at the end of February, and the first two weeks of March were not much better. Unsurprisingly the barrier islands, beaches and cliffs took quite a battering.
Huge amounts of sand were moved by the strong winds and tides at Praia do Barril, and consequently many of the anchors were uncovered. They look even more enormous now. As you may recall from my various posts on Barril the anchors were once an essential part of tuna fishing. Carried out to the boats by a dozen or so men they were then attached to the nets to create a complex fishing frame. They were left here at the end of the last tuna fishing season in the 1960s, and have not been moved since.
It was extraordinary to see how much sand has covered the anchors over the past 60 years, and to reflect on the strength of the storms. It is though the rose coloured crab which will be my lasting memory of last week’s stroll. Fiddler crabs we see everywhere but this crab, hiding its face behind its claws, we’ve not seen before. Its Latin name is Calappa granulata, and you are going to love its common name – Shame-faced Crabs. Yes you have guessed it because of the way they seem to cover their faces! They are found in the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean: from the Sahara to the coast of Portugal and Israel in the Mediterranean. Their diet is mollusks, and in turn they are a favoured food of the Greeks, Italians and Spanish. Apparently though it is not that common to find them.
At the time we were concerned it might also have been affected by the recent storms as it was hardly moving. However I have since discovered they can remain inactive in a sandy burrow for days, so this one was probably creating a new burrow when we disturbed it. Sorry crab, if it makes you feel any better I am feeling somewhat shamefaced!