Adventures in Eating: Foraging in an Australian Mangrove Swamp

The crab hunt over Linc moved on to edible mollusks. They were nearly everywhere in the mangrove. Big, juicy mussels hide in the mud and are found in depressions near the mangrove roots.

Edible flora such as young hibiscus and sea almonds abound in the swamp as well.

“Easy living here,” said Linc with a slight smile. “Nobody ever starves.”

Into the mangrove…

We took what we wanted for lunch, but no more. Back in the kitchen at Linc’s parents’ house on Cooya Beach, the family prepared the catch.

Upstairs, on the breezy open verandah, the steaming stew of sweet, seasoned crab, meaty mussels, and the rest was served accompanied with traditional Australian soda bread.

With a glass of tea to wash it all down, this fix of bush tucker was among my most memorable meals.

—William Gurstelle is the author of the bestselling “Backyard Ballistics,” and “The Practical Pyromaniac,” among other books.

Heading home with a bucket of crabs after the hunt

Stephen Regenold

Stephen Regenold is Founder of GearJunkie, which he launched as a nationally-syndicated newspaper column in 2002. As a journalist and writer, Regenold has covered the outdoors industry for two decades, including as a correspondent for the New York Times. A father of five, Regenold and his wife live in Minneapolis.