Janet Combs

Janet Combs

I recently purchased an “experience” as a birthday gift for my husband. I highly recommend celebrating a birthday this way, because you, the giver, are likely to be a full participant. So happy birthday to him, and happy random Saturday to me; last weekend we had a sensational shrimping experience out on the unspoiled intercoastal waterways of Georgetown.

The day began at 5 a.m., although to be honest, it began at 2, 3, and 4 a.m., as I tossed and turned watching the clock, anticipating the signal to jettison myself out of bed and into the shower to get ready for this half-day excursion.

This is how it is the night before you do anything exciting, whether it’s taking a standardized test, having surgery, or simply going on vacation. Your practical side tells you it’s important to get a full night’s rest, so you go to bed ridiculously early—but as we frequently remark on Planet Janet, you just can’t fool your central nervous system! It comes preprogrammed to keep you in a state of constant alert when something of importance is coming up. This way, you can enjoy your once-in-a-lifetime event in a state of utter exhaustion, yet juiced up on a Hardee’s extra-large coffee and the occasional adrenaline boost your snappy central nervous system pumps in.

We had to get to the boat by 6:15—and the boat left from the South Island Boat Ramp, which doesn’t really have an address. As we drove down South Island Road in the pitch darkness, it seemed like many other country roads in Georgetown with its dense foliage and charming lack of signage cluttering up the scenery to let you know where in the Sam Hill you actually are.

Fortunately, we were suddenly there—the road abruptly ended in a gravel lot, there was a telltale dock, and our Captain and First Mate awaited us.

First, we signed some necessary papers similar to the ones we had signed when we purchased our foreclosed home—a document that stated in complex legal terminology that everything is our fault and we might die. Now we were ready to embark on our shrimping adventure!

Truly, the boat ride out to the shrimping site was spectacular. The sun rose, and gosh, no matter how many times that fiery orb does it, it’s just stunning to witness.

The warm winds whipped our faces and I finally achieved that messy hairstyle that is so in vogue. Then, the shrimping work began.

We didn’t really do any of it, but I would like to point out that the word “shrimp” indicates small or puny—pretty much the inverse of the amount of labor it takes to catch one of these Georgetown delicacies. We all should be eating blimp—Blimp Scampi, Bang-Bang Blimp, Blimp on the Barbie—because this more accurately captures the magnitude of effort it took to capture these crustaceans.

I did learn to throw the net, which involves an extreme-golfer-backswing motion, only with a weighted, skirted volume of heavy gauge nylon material meticulously bunched up in your hands, and one weight held between your teeth.

I’m not kidding, and it does make you wonder if your incisors are going to fan out over the waters with your toss of the net, yet this miraculously does not happen.

My net throws did not create a pristine circle on the water as our Captain’s did—mine were more of a free-form shape, meant to catch the one errant shrimp who had veered off-course and entirely miss the family reunion of shrimp gathered at the bait ball.

Therefore, my husband and I kept to our roles of assisting with emptying the net that our Captain relentlessly threw, while his First Mate and wife precisely steered the boat in and out of the targeted shrimping areas.

Our catch, once cleaned, yielded more than 20 pounds. You might want to join us—tonight’s birthday dinner is Blimp and grits.

Janet Combs is a freelance writer living in Georgetown County. Contact her at www.janetfrickecombs.wordpress.com.