28 APR 2020


Revisiting the Spice Islands and rock pool life

This episode we leave lockdown to see what’s living in the rock pools at low tide - far away from other humans - and discover a lot of crabs! Anton tells us more about our many legged friends and I discover what barnacles actually are. We then island hop to the Banda Islands, the home of nutmeg, a spice with an interesting history and effects on your body if you consume too much.

Full show notes coming soon.


This transcript is automatically generated so may contain errors.

Welcome to the curiosity of a chart episode 14 yeah.

Pretty good, I am. So how you doing?

I'm good.

Yeah, me too. Not much talk about this time is there for intro because it's another couple of weeks in isolation. Yeah, before we get into the show, please can you rate and review us on iTunes or Pod Chaser? And remember you can follow us on Twitter or send us questions on our Twitter name is.

Curie Shard pod.

Thank you, so should we get straight into the show?

Over the show.

Anton investigates rockpools.

So we went down to the beach and went rock pooling the other day.

What is low tide which meant there are loads and loads of rockpools crabs and interesting creatures?

Bye lazy crabs. I'm in loads of crabs.

Yeah there a lot.

Yeah, nearly every single rocked we move there were crabs, some even had eggs and when they have eggs there called buried as in not buried in the sand as in like berries and strawberry.

Yellow fruit spittle. Bunch of berries or grapes or something on the bottom of them, doesn't it? Yeah, yeah, so.

When the tide goes out, just leaves so many pools, doesn't it? So we thought we would set about exploring some.


Like you said, we found later props, so we thought we'd find out a bit more about what type of crab you can find in rock pools. Yeah, So what have you discovered?

Wow, we did the crabs that we found.

Well, we weren't really sure what they were, so we decided to research the ones that look closest to. We thought it was a sort of mix between, well, the following crops.

Yes, a bit odd, wasn't. It adds we couldn't find the exact match, adds some of the colours of 1 and the features of another and it didn't really fit any of anything we could find online. So these are some of the potential suspects for who we found.

The first crab is called the velvet swimming crab.

They get their name because they're covered in hairs like velvet and can have a purplish colour.

The hind legs are flat, abit like paddles, and then that's what helps them swim. They are aggressive and have a very painful pinch and bright red eyes. This might be why they are nicknamed the Devil crab.

Yeah, some of the ones we had in our buckets we kept a couple, didn't know they were really aggressive favour sticking their claws up trying Pincus. Yeah, how big can they grow 10CM?

In or 10 centimetres wide.

Yeah, I think that's crossed the shell, yeah?

They are very quick at swimming and can catch fish and shrimp so that I like the rock pool hunters really.

Yeah, because their specialised back legs as you don't think of pursuing. Just think those kind of scuttling sideways. Yeah, so it would be interesting to actually see them under the water and how they look and they are paddling along with their funny back legs.

The other suspect is the shore crab.

That's it's a very common crab, and it shell is just a little bit smaller and 9 centimetres wide.

They eat anything, alittle bit like goats speaking about goats so people walking their goats along the rocks as well.

So I'm guessing they probably.

From the seaweed I reckon yeah.

For some you can get in touch them without it with a bit far away and.

And they could have rammed us.

Get it right now. That's a sheep or ram.

Okay, make it a beaten us. Make it yes yes.

Yes, say what do they eat the promises?

The shore crab particularly likes to eat seaweeds. Muscles barnacles, another crabs.

Yeah, gotta be careful if you put them in a bucket with somebody else. Cannibalistic crap. Yeah, probabilistic.

Most the crab is common in the UK. They are becoming an invasive species and a problem elsewhere. For example, all the way down in Australia, South Africa and California.

Yes, I wonder if that was from people take them there or if they were hitching a ride on vessels and things.


I got there.

You would understand the velvet swimming crab because I'll just swim.

Then, as we were clambering over the rocks, there's a little barnacles went there, yeah, and I thought barnacles are basically like limp. It's so limits are mollusk okay? Which they stick to the rocks, but I was totally wrong as you've discovered, haven't you, yeah.

In fact, there are crustacean just like crabs and lobsters.

Yeah, so can you describe what Barnacle looks like?

On the outside, its sister of.

Shell thing and then you get these mouselike things as well that can open and close.

Yeah, I think it's a show with a little hole in the top which contained in place.

Is that is a bit like a lift dorks opens the side okay.

Yep, I understood what you mean and pretty smooth as well, mate.

When is high tide, they opened their little plates there, lift doors and stick their legs out to catch plankton and little creatures.

Yeah, that's right, because apparently they're actually kind of upside down in their shell. Yeah, so their feet aren't against the rock is kind of. They've got their back against the rock, and then they stick their legs out of.

The top.

Well, as crustaceans we found some fish, the largest of which we believe is actually the Apsley name giant Gabi. The one we caught was a massive 12 centimetres long I.

Know positive Giants there. Yeah yeah huge.

Britain's records catch of the giant Gabi is a whopping.

262 grammes

262. I know that is humongous. How did they pull their end without the line breaking?

I know also the record catch of the common. Gabi is 1 gramme I know.

Yeah, they are big fish. It's a wonder they can fit in rockpools really.

The giant Gabi we thought was actually quite chunky as well.

Their speckled Brown Ian greyish and have fins that look a bit like feathers.

Yeah they did there quite soft looking Athens yeah, so obviously you would be very careful when you're rockpooling when you're moving all your stains and make sure that you always return things to where you found them because you want to their habitat as you found it.

When we were going back up to the car.

Collected some flints for our front snapping.

That's right, yes, I think that's what you were more excited about in the Rockport. Actually, wasn't it?


yes, we watched I cover his name on Twitter. The fin snapping accepted James number. Yeah, he did nap time, but he live streams from Flint napping didn? T say when we got home yet sat out in the garden with your goggles on bashing stains such other neighbours loved.


Yes, that was our adventure down the beach.

Yeah, doesn't it?

And now we're going to head off to some other, more distant shores.

Anton, we got another spice for you now. It's been a little while since we've done one, hasn't it? Yeah, so you're looking forward to this. Okay, so I'm going to reveal it now. I've covered it up. So can you open this please?


Interesting what they look like.

And can you smell them?


You're gonna need this.


Exactly, see yeah if you great on this side here, that's good. So while she start rating.

Mr Pete, right now, can you smell it coming out now the.

Now that.

You can hear us about this. Does it smell?

Familiar smells definitely smelt it before.

Size and everything green and have a little taste.

And to think.


Nice, yeah, it's definitely planti spring. Nothing to say, yeah?

Okay, so is the seed of the rather coolly named Mariska fragrance. Say what do you think it is? No nutmeg school, fragrant nutmeg or true nutmeg?

And do not make tree. It's kind of a dark leaved Evergreen tree, and there's actually 150 different species of Myristica in the world, but.

When you've got there.

Here's to not make one. Now don't eat too much here.

Yes, well done.

Miss, you understand why as we continue.

Named by the Dutch botanist Martin how to win in 1774 and we actually get two different spices from the not make okay so you got the nutmeg that you just tried there, but you also get Mace, which is from the seed covering, which I'll show you later. And today we may need just looking at the nutmeg Okay, and his picture of the leave see looks like quite pretty leaves there and you can see the stage of the not make her so this on this photo here. It should be in the show notes. You can see the altercation this red.

Show them as the fruit from the outside. It's like a stain like you getting an apricot or something. I said the fruits much smaller.

Now the trees are native to the Maluku Islands, which were also known as the Spice Islands. And remember we mentioned this before.


So I recognise that name.

Remember what the spice came from there she did previously.

Please note I'm.

Rick, it was clothes, yeah, so if you remember there in the Pacific Ocean quite near Papua New Guinea and around kind of Java hundred islands there. So I've circled in the map here. One of the islands where they grey and then also the band writings down here.

Okay, well there tiny yeah that really small.

Now the trees they typically grow from 5 to 15 metres tall and the the leaves of the tree. They can grow it about 15 CM long, okay?

And I got a picture of the tree here covered in its fruit, so it's quite a nice kind of full tree. It's quite rank.

There's lots of different sort of shades of green and as well.

That one doesn't look that tool.

And the trees are dioecious. Now, do you know what that means?

No, never heard that before, no.

Okay, what it means is that some of the trees are male and some are female. Okay, so they made different have different Flowers on them. Although there was a study in 1984 which showed that maybe some of the young trees from Mayo and as they got older they became female.

Yeah, but if humans did that you can start harvesting the fruit after 9 years, but actually takes 20 years for them to reach their full maturity for harvesting. Yeah, Okay, now as I said, they produce not make and Mace okay from the seeds, but you also get what's called nutmeg butter from the man. Also an essential oil now are essential oils essential.


No, don't know where they get their name, why it's essential oils, no.

Taxi from the Essence signal essence means day. Yeah yeah so it's not because they are essential essence. So here's the fruit here. So can you describe how it looks please?

Um is little bit like a paper cut, just a pale green, quite so big.

And then when you cut them open, how do they look inside?

Yeah, there white inside a little bit like a coconut.

Yeah, just yeah, and then not smaller though.

Yeah, the actual nutty thing looks. It's mainly red for the hugest, blacker lines and dots.

Yeah, so that red coating or that kind of red web around it is called the aerial and that's what Macy's, Okay? So it's a similar but more delicate taste. Listen Droid Mace there. So then I guess that's kinda peeled off the nutmeg which you have there. So it would be sort of coating it or web drowned it. So that's the other spice so they will drive that.

And it can be used in cookery.

Okay, so this place itself, not Meg, has been used for at least 3500 years and until the mid 19th century is only found on the band are islands. So I got another map here and there. 11 small volcanic islands and they are pretty small. Actually the longest one is only about 10 kilometres across and some other ones are much smaller.


Yes, Ariza places, so you couldn't remember this as we tell the Storey they started on these little islands. Okay, this hundreds of islands in this area.

But there must be nicer for long enough it will be set for species could grow and develop like there's 150 different species of the Myristica. Yeah, and 1512. the Portuguese General Congress statesman and Empire building affonso dare alabrah caracara. How do you say that? Do you think?

Funds Oh dear, how Clara car?

Afande Alba Kara iPhone Tabacalera.

Pretty good at tea wrong.

After save badly witching Hour Fonzie's name, I asked my Portuguese friend Anthony. Now for the correct pronunciation. So here it is.

A falsehood Albuquerque.

He learned of the location of the band are islands because not make it had been treated before Europeans didn't know exactly where it came from, so they were trying to find okay. Where do we get this so that they can control the trade himself? So yeah, when he left the location of the islands, he sent three ships to go and investigate. Now the explorers they stayed for about a month, filling their ships with Mace nutmeg and clothes. Afonso was considered when the greatest naval commanders of his age, but despite this he couldn't get full control over trade in the islands.

I made a picture of him with a pretty awesome beard. Yeah yeah, and he's got his sword in his side and you know, it's kind of.

The top part of him looks quite big and strong and then he gets these tiny leggings at the bottom.

Yeah, but if you look at his sleeves there then they're all puffed and their large aren't they?

They look like massive pillows.


However, just over 100 years later, things turned darker. 1621 the Dutch East India Company wanted full control and a monopoly over the production of nutmeg and the other spice from the islands. So they actually went to war with the Islanders.

Don John.

American historian William Hanna estimates that the band Ryland had a population of about 15,000 people. Okay, that was before these bloody battles. How many native people do think survived the.

Battles 23.

Is a few more than that.


now is probably about 1000.

So that's what 93% of the people killed or something, or they were sold into slavery just because we wanted that spice and we wanted to control ourselves rather than trade with them and give them like proper business.

And it didn't stop there Bistro in the periodic wars. the British invaded and they took the trees soil at all, so they dig them up. They dug them up the roots and the soil and mustard leaderships and they took them to show Lanka, Penang, Singapore in different places and then from there on to further cleaning Holdings. Now do you know where this flag is from?

No, have you seen it before, no.

Romeda because some of the trees were even taken there and actually in 1974.

New flag, which then I showed you, included the space stylised nutmeg. Yeah, only flag.

Doesn't look like it was trying to match the colours of the flag event more.

And become something that the British stole over 100 years earlier. But today Grenada is one of the largest producers, not making the world.

There's like this is coming from one tiny islands underworld and over the course of 100 years made its way to another tiny islands like totally unrelated, distant people.

In America, the state of Connecticut has the nickname the Nutmeg State, so any idea why it got that name?

Is that another place worthy not? Mike was taken too.

So how good his name is or is claimed in ladies of loom over the theory goes that there some traders from Connecticut and what they do, they would if you pick up on that makes feel Woody don't be. So the Storey goes that they would cover fake nutmegs our bits of wood at but then trade them or sell them at the real thing.

Although that might not be true, because how did you have to get to the spice their?


yet to place it, didn't you? So it could be that people didn't realise they had to great the nutmeg to get to the spice, not crack it. Yeah, so maybe they were actually selling real ones, but because people won't say no to pack then they thought they were just made of wood. Or perhaps some mischievous merchants actually just.

So was fake wooden ones.

Pretty good carving though.

So, did you like your nutmeg?

Ohh yeah yeah tasty yeah.

Smells very good.

Yeah, this smells lovely, isn't it? I don't actually use it after I need to use it more. I mainly bought it because I liked her daughters.

So remember the previous places that we looked at. They all kind of had medical or positive benefits that they will at least rumoured ones or believed to have them now, not Meg is a little bit different though. Are you worried now?

Yeah, people wouldn't be eating.

So people eat puffer fish in Japan.

I'm back in China.

OK, so having too much nutmeg can lead to allergic reactions and also a series of other side effects such as delirium, anxiety, confusion, headaches, nausea, dizziness, dry mouth irritation.

Under Nijah and the symptoms can last for several days, and my words are you okay wake up Anton?

Wake up, you haven't had that.

Much, he's fine, that's good, and it can even lead to psychosis, suicide cases, no.

But it basically is is when your mind struggles to tell the difference between what's real and what isn't, and I can include things like hallucinations and you know what they are. Yeah, what's a hallucination?

Something that he believes there but isn't actually there.

Yes, kind of seeing or hearing things that don't exist, isn't it?

Now do you recognise this painting?

No, seriously, yeah, you don't recognise the most famous paintings of all time, no.

Okay, this is Storey night by Ivanka will have. It's meant to be said these days. Thank God thank God thank God.

Apparently the colours that are used in the Sky here they're quite similar to the effect that psychosis can have on people. Now, do you know where Ivanka was born?

I think it was the Netherlands.

Yeah, that's right. He was Dutch, so my theory here is that before painting this he actually just ate too much nutmeg. Yeah, he's addicted to it. And of course, to these amazing paintings. Yeah, I reckon we should put forward this theory, yeah?

So anime went.

You like to smell it. She likes the taste. It's got an interesting history, little bit bloody at times and maybe a little bit on fares come from this tiny little island, but it's being spread out across the whole world is incredible.

And eating too much of it can have really bad effects in here. So is it all bad?

Most of it.

Yeah, but she's like you said before, it's used in cooking so it can't be all bad, can it? So should we look at some of its Jesus? Yeah, because I found a good list here so you can use nutmeg. You can rate it to liven up custerson Prem. Brules put it in rice puddings, pancake batter, eggnog, mulled wine. You can sprinkle on desserts at cheesecake for decoration and flavour.

In case it does, lots of things already, he's really well with chocolate and you can add a hint amount of chocolate when you're making chocolate.

Cake I've had enough.

Of you may be nice.

As you know it's chocolate cake and chocolate mousse is now we didn't put in chocolate. Little while Okay, but we don't have any nutmeg there. Yummy. That was a very that's my favourite one is.

That although I didn't like the Ruby chocolate though.

I don't know if I like it or not, I'm still I'm undecided. Still on the fence for that one.

You know she had a small pinch hit a hot chocolate or two and express a. You can even add it to wilted spinach along with a splash of single cream and some black pepper.

You could put on mashed sweet potatoes or squash.

Can spring into Costa sugar when you're making pastry?

Panic is really about bananas as well, say, likely greater over there.

To try that sometime chocolates, Robbie.

Brilliant. Either be really good actually.

Maybe sent with a bit of whipped cream cheese.

Or you could add it to your potato mixture when you're making gnocchi.

Then you can use not make were making haggis, you no hagas

Yeah, visit from Scotland.

Yeah, so it's kind of the national dish. I guess you'd say.

Now the fruits, like outside its which we so rarely that can be crystallised and tending to sweets or jams and India visit for chutneys and Pickles.

And the oil is used in toothpaste and also in some cough syrups. This thing isn't really flexible, yeah?

And that's a fruit from a couple of small islands.

My fondest memory is when my mum said Ronnie used to great a little bit on top of her amazing rice pudding.

Love so you could have had it for years though, so if you're listening to this.

You can't invite us round the corner, but maybe you could pay some rice pudding to us because mine is not as good as yours.

So it's actually pretty good, isn't it? Yeah, just don't have too much, no.

Say, would you recommend? How would you rate that? The spices so far?

I think.

So far its second clothes being the fast as this is taste wise then turmeric they lost. Although I do like her I brought some clothes to school sometime. I handed a few out of the class and for them to try and about three people like them and they just kept coming up to me and said can I have more please?

We need to clean cities.

Okay, super duper.

So another good episode I reckon yeah.

We'll be back soon. With more things, we need to think of our next theme as well. Don't worry.


It's also going to be in Gansey is going to be our liberation Day coming up yeah 75 years so it's a big event so you've already got a few ideas that I think haven't you. Based on some of your kind of school work and projects your doing there. Yeah, so we'll see you next time.


A falsehood, Yahoo. Kirk.

See ya.

I can hear your tummy rumbling.