Thursday, July 20, 2017

Surf clams!

Far too long since my last post, but life sometimes gets far too complex. Now I'm back in Michigan. Cynthia picked me up in Grand Rapids yesterday and drove to her sister's place for an errand, where I walked the fields, finding Japanese beetles and monarch butterflies while looking for the last clinging black raspberries. But enough about MI, let's look back at a bit of MA!

Euell Gibbons described surf clams in his book, "Stalking the Blue-eyed Scallop", as large (I've often seen ones measuring 6") and rather useless (yes, I'm paraphrasing), tossing almost all the meat or using it as bait, saying only the adductor (Yes, I spelled that correctly, thank you spellcheck!) muscles are worth eating. He also mentioned that sometimes one will find none, sometimes a few, sometimes buckets... in the same spot..

According to family legend, my uncle once came across a plethora of these clams, filled all pockets etc, and tried to make his way back through the rising tide. Along the way he realized that he had to choose between losing the clams and losing his life and, after some consideration, made the painful decision to drop the clams. *grin*

This brings us to last week, when we managed to pile all immediate available family (plus one cousin and a dog) into the Rhodes 19 sailboat and set out in light breezes,
past lounging and stinking seals, to the outer bar where we dug steamer clams, then stopped at a favorite sand bar for swimming. The kids had soon found a few surf clams.
Alerted, we soon found more with our feet ("treading for clams") and collected them into a tide pool.
Rather interesting critters...
We could easily have collected bushels, but why be greedy? After taking pics, we scattered them and gathered to watch the last ten or so dig their way rather swiftly to safety.

We brought two clams with us and piled back into the sailboat, resting figures covering the bow as we glided home, sliding swiftly along with gentle breeze and strong current.

Another day seized! So many delightful moments....


  1. What a marvelous day. Love this adventure. I also love the story about making a choice between bringing home the catch and saving one's life.

    1. That can be a tough choice for some of us. I seem to recall reading of a monkey trap that consists of a large, heavy, narrow-mouth jar with some treats in it: the monkey grasps them in a fist and refuses to release the treats to withdraw its hand. Also reminds me of the joke in which a highwayman says "your money or your life" and, in response, hears "I'm thinking, I'm thinking!"