We took a two-mile walk up the beach this morning. A truck drove by in the sand and stopped, and Steve, a friend from home, grinned at me. He has a condo here and came down for the day. I told him we'd bought licenses to dig 16 razor clams each at low tide tonight. We had no idea how to do this, but we were willing. Steve said, "You need to come down to the beach and find a friend who'll teach you."
So at 7:30, after dark, we made our way to the beach with a bucket and a shovel. I have miserable night vision so I tried to walk in Art's tracks in the sand. We got to the water's edge and turned on our tiny flashlight to look for the clams' "show", a dimple-like indentation in the wet sand. Within five minutes we saw a lantern approaching in the dark. "Got your limit yet?" said a voice. "No," I said. " We just got here and we have no idea what we're doing."
The voice belonged to a tall, rangy fellow named Mark, down from Wenatchee for the weekend. He looked at the tiny shovel we'd brought along and said, "You might have trouble catching the clams - they're fast diggers." He had a clamming tube, which he showed us how to use. Along with how to hold the lantern low to the ground so the beam is wide and shallow and you can see more of the sand. We spent about half an hour with Mark, in the dark, at low tide. We dug up ten razor clams. It was hard work! You see the clam's show, you position the tube over the sand, angled slightly toward the water, and bear down with your full weight, wiggling the tube. Then you put your finger over the suction hole and haul the sand-filled tube to the surface. If the clam isn't in the sand you dump out of the tube, you plunge the tube back into the hole and haul up another load.
We thanked Mark, the friend who taught us, and said good night. Art rinsed the clams at the hotel's cleaning station. We got back to our condo and I googled "how to clean razor clams" and "how to cook razor clams." Tomorrow we'll do that, plus go to the store for Ritz crackers to crumble. We've decided to broil the clams and have them for dinner tomorrow night.
Sometimes I'm surprised by the things I haven't done yet in my life. Clamming is something I can cross off that list now.