Saturday, June 16, 2012

Clam Digging

A couple of weeks ago, on a whim, we made the decision to go clam digging with a friend. We borrowed a shovel from my uncle, purchased a Washington State shellfish license online ($14.30 annually), and headed out to Kopachuck State Park. We got to the park right at low tide, and as we had predicted, the beach was already filled with people Asians…

We reviewed the state regulations (40 clams per license per day, clam must be at least 1.5 inch wide, etc) but we never bothered to research how to dig for the clams. When we got there, we saw people were scattered all across the large beach. With a little snooping, we learned that some people were collecting oysters among the large rocks, geoducks were in the sandy area close to the waterline, and butter clams were in the gravelly areas high above the waterline.

The clams were only a few inches below the surface and fairly easy to get to. The difficult part was identifying them. Every rock seemed to be the same size and shape of a clam, especially when covered in the dark gravelly sand…

I love clams and Brooke hates them. (We make the perfect pair when eating clam chowder. She starts first, eating the potatoes and broth, and leaves me the clam-dense remainder.) So instead of helping to dig, she and Ryan scoured the beach for sea creatures. They found hundreds of 1 to 2 inch baby crabs, star fish, sand dollars, shrimp, oysters, mussels, and sea snails…

Later in the day, we ran into a Geoduck-digging superhero (pictured below without his cape). He taught me how to find these giant clams, but after watching me unsuccessfully dig for 20 minutes, he leapt into action. We watched as he dug up 3 geoducks in 15 minutes and he gave them all to us…

By the end of the day, I went home with 35 clams, 1 mussel, and 1 geoduck. I cooked my clams in some butter, garlic, lemon, and wine. I thought they were delicious and was surprised that Ryan liked them so much too. (Our camera ran out of memory, so we weren't able to capture Ryan asking for more clams)...

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