The next morning, Nayeli hurries after Tía Irma as they walk down to the dock. Nayeli's mother slides into a boat behind Irma, who snaps pictures of orchids. After an hour, the boats reach a bend in the river. The crabbing party climbs over a hill to the beautiful, idyllic lagoon. Nayeli fetches the crabbing supplies from the storage boxes, as Irma tells Nayeli's mother that if Don Pepe had come to the lagoon before he left, he would've stayed. Nayeli's mother sadly replies, “You cannot eat beauty.”
The fact that Don Pepe never visited the lagoon suggests that going crabbing at the lagoon is a strictly female activity, showing that Tres Camarones maintains firm ideas about gender roles, masculinity, and femininity. In addition, Nayeli's mother's reply, “You cannot eat beauty,” highlights her family’s extreme financial strain—likely the reason Don Pepe left for America.
Nayeli and Yolo wade through the lagoon and giggle at Tacho, who is on the shore making a sauce for the crabs and wearing a sarong. The girls reminisce about the time Matt came crabbing with them and a crab pinched his toe, and the girls argue about whether or not Matt kissed Nayeli. Nayeli finally admits he did, and Yolo splashes her.
The fact that Tacho attends this seemingly female-only event shows that he's able to comfortably blur the lines between masculinity and femininity. Meanwhile, Yolo splashing Nayeli upon finding out about the kiss suggests that actual romantic relationships might lead to strife between the girls.
The lagoon is filled with pairs of women, with floating straw baskets tied between the pairs. Each woman carries a stick, and they throw their caught crabs into the basket. In the basket, the crabs wrestle each other and never let any of their companions escape. Nayeli remarks that the crabs are much like the women in Mexico, and Yolo tells her to not let Irma hear.
At this point in the novel, there's little indication that women even try to leave Mexico. However, Nayeli’s observation suggests that women are more interested in creating community and helping each other stay than men are. It also implies that women, like the crabs, are trapped.
Suddenly, Nayeli spots a crab and dives for it. When she pulls it out of the water, she and Yolo celebrate: the crab is a female and carries eggs, which means that Tacho will be able to make a delicious paste with the eggs. Yolo asks Nayeli if she feels guilty for taking an expectant mother, insisting that the crab is their sister. Yolo begins to clarify that the crab is only a sister to pregnant women in Tres Camarones but cannot think of anyone in town who's pregnant. The girls find another crab and decide to take their dozen crabs to Tacho. As they emerge from the lagoon, they again wonder if anyone in town is pregnant.
The fact that Yolo is surprised to realize that nobody in Tres Camarones is currently pregnant suggests that this isn't a normal state of affairs, pointing back to the way that the residents of Tres Camarones dislike change. In addition, the lack of pregnant women or babies in the village also implies that there really are no men left in Tres Camarones.
Later, as Tacho and the women eat their crabs, Nayeli asks the group if anyone in town is pregnant. Irma jokes that she and her friends are too old but finally asks Nayeli why she's asking. Nayeli insists that it's odd for Tres Camarones to not have any babies, and Tacho says matter-of-factly that they need men to have babies. Tacho tries to tell Nayeli that all the men are gone, and Irma finally butts in. She insists that there's nothing sillier than a teenage girl, as teenage girls are engrossed in their own dramas. Irma says that all the men went north and walks away from the group.
When Irma calls attention to the fact that Nayeli and her friends are self-absorbed because of their age, it shows that the girls still have some growing up to do. Irma’s blunt criticism of the girls also suggests that learning hard truths and possibly experiencing some disillusionment will be an integral part of this final coming of age.
That night, Irma turns her color television towards the window so the village can watch TV. Nayeli watches those gathered to watch TV and those who pass on the street. She realizes that Tacho is right: there are only women, old men, and children left in Tres Camarones.
Nayeli’s willingness to admit that Tacho is right is a small step toward maturity. Her realization that Tres Camarones is devoid of men will serve as a catalyst for the events later in the novel.