Saturday, February 19, 2011

First clamming

Yesterday afternoon we left Larisa the Facebook Cat at home with her paid companion and drove five hours to Long Beach, on the coast in Washington State.

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.







10 comments:

DJan said...

It doesn't sound like something you will be anticipating breathlessly before doing it again. But it does sound like an experience to have had at least once! Thanks for sharing this, and I think I'll skip it now, considering how I'm not a clam lover anyway! :-)

Arkansas Patti said...

Good thing to know if the world goes to that warm place in a handbasket. You now know how to hunt clams for food. Learning new stuff is always fun. Hope you enjoyed your harvest.

marciamayo said...

Linda, I love reading about the lives of my blogger friends. What a great experience for you and Art and for me through you.

Teresa Evangeline said...

I enjoyed reading about your experience. I had no idea how it was done, other than through some form of digging, thus digging for clams. Duh. It sounds like you'd want to like clams an awful lot, and like being on the beach at night. Being on the beach at night sure sounds fun.

Have a great time, however you spend it!

Tracy said...

Linda,
Thank you for visiting my blog this morning and I think you hit on a key point; listening!!! ah, imagine what we find out if we truly listen to others and not just words.
I so appreicate you stopping by and when I stopped by your place, I was here to stay at your first mention of a walk on the beach...a self-proclaimed beach fanatic and when I retire plan to head there to hibernate :)
Your trip sounds lovely and let me know how the clam dinner turned out...I can taste them as I speak!

Linda Reeder said...

I have not done it myself, but I do know a little about digging razor clams. What I know best is how yummy they are to eat. I use saltine crackers and fry they ever so lightly. Be careful not to overcook them.

Paul C said...

This is wonderful seacoast you describe. We first clammed on Vancouver Island when we saw some locals engage in the search. They were delicious after simply boiling them in water at our campsite.

Retired English Teacher said...

This sounds quite interesting. I wouldn't mind trying it myself.

Barb said...

Gosh - hard work for 10 clams - my Husband would have them eaten in 2 seconds!

Deb Shucka said...

It is hard work, but satisfying, no? I haven't been clamming for years; enjoyed picturing you at Long Beach, one of my favorite places in the world.