Posted by Tim Cafferty

It's a Bird, It's a Plane - It's a Crab! Memory Monday 12/11/17

This week's Memory Monday photo submission comes to us from Angela Baldwin of Owings Mills, Maryland who stayed with Outer Banks Blue recently in the property "High Dune" in Duck.   In this picture you can see that they are not quite sure what they are looking it a Bird?  What exactly is that thing?  Well it is actually a CRAB.Angela says "after 40 years vacationing in the Outer Banks, I have to say we have NEVER seen anything like this before! Three generations pictured here, distracted from our surf fishing by THE CRAB heading out to sea from the Army Corps of Engineering Pier in Duck!"So it is actually known as a Coastal Amphibious Research Buggy or "CRAB" and the three-wheeled vehicle was built by the Wilmington District of the US Army Corps of Engineers.  The purpose of the vehicle is to monitor shoreline movement/erosion, and beach nourishment projects such as we had this year on the Outer Banks.The CRAB consists of a tripod of aluminum tubing, connected at the base by horizontal bars, and an operations platform 35 ft. above the ground.Power is supplied by a 53-hp Volkswagen engine on the deck which drives a variable stroke hydraulic pump. This pump transfers hydraulic fluid to hydraulic motors at each of the wheels.  To avoid corrosion, all hydraulic lines are stainless steel, except for short flexible sections at the front wheel, which is used for steering.Total vehicle weight is about 18,000 pounds and the distance between the rear wheels is 27 feet.   We are told that though it appears top-heavy, the liquid-filled tires and wide wheelbase make it very stable. The CRAB has passed a 20-deg tilt test and is designed to withstand even steeper angles.Top speed of the CRAB is 2 mph on land and somewhat less in the water. Since the maximum significant wave height for operation is 6 ft, the CRAB is capable of operating in all but the most severe storms. The large tires have a negligible effect on a hard rippled sand bottom.  It is not unusual to see this vehicle operating near the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers research pier in Duck at any time.Thanks Angela for sharing your photo memories.  We look forward to serving you again soon at Outer Banks Blue.All the best from the beach!
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