Clam digging, 1st night back

Gray’s Harbor.

Dad, jack, dori, Ceese, horrible Addison, Teresa, and me.

A couple of weeks before I was scheduled to visit, I got an email from dad: “too bad you’re arriving on the 8th. There’s a nighttime clam dig scheduled that night, but I’m afraid you’d be too tired from traveling to go.”
“hell no!” I typed back, “let’s do it!”

The night before I flew I stayed up as late as I could. In the morning I didn’t drink any caffeine before the flight. On board, as soon as we took off, I put on my earplugs, wrapped myself up in layers of blankets, and closed my eyes. There was no one in the seat beside me, so I had space to stretch out a little as well. I drowsed, waking briefly for a snack, then again for dinner. After dinner, I slept more deeply for a few hours. I woke up with only 3 hours left of the flight, and read and listened to music for the rest of it.

All of which meant that I was completely fine when Ceese picked me up in Seattle.

We had a nice chat driving down, and made excellent time. When we got out to Dad’s, he and Dori were there and we weren’t there 10 minutes before Dori’s cousin and her husband showed up. They were joining us for clam digging. Jack was expected, too, but he took his time showing up.

We loaded up a bunch of warm clothing, and waders and boots, etc., and headed out, getting to the beach around 7pm. It was dark and there weren’t a lot of people there, but we saw a few lanterns out there along the water line.

I love nighttime clam digs. It’s a real adventure. You look for a show, the little blow hole in the sand, stomp near it to see if the clam reacts and is near the surface. Then you dig straight down really really fast, on the side closer to the water. When you’ve gone down about 8 inches, sometimes more, you fall down on your knees and reach in, fast as you can, to try and pull that clam out before it can dig itself deeper and get away. Razor clams are big and fast.

I’m really good at finding them and getting them out of the hole, but i’m pretty bad at the digging part. You have to be fast and accurate. Everything is about speed. So i make a good partner. Dad could do it alone. Jack thinks he could do it alone, but they get away pretty often. He spends a lot of time with both arms up to the armpits in the hole, and still comes up with nothing. 🙂

Dori’s cousin and her husband kept losing their bucket. Every time a wave would come up, it would catch their bucket, drop out all the clams, and carry it away. They spent a lot of time chasing clams. It would have simplified matters simply to keep a hand on their bucket.

Ceese made a good game of it. She was determined to learn it, and insisted on digging over and over and over, even though mostly she didn’t get anything. SHe’s a good digger, though, and when we teamed up and i stuck my hands into the hole she dug, we did better.

My own favorite part is seeing all the groups huddled around lanterns down in the wet wet sand. I walked 2 buckets up to the truck, and came back. The stars were bright overhead, with patches of stars in between patches of clouds. The Big Dipper was bright and perfectly framed off to my right as i walked back out to our group. I had to scan all the groups to guess which group was mine. And i guessed right. I wished, just then, that i’d charged my new camera already. As i got close to them, it would have made a great picture. 6 people dressed in raingear and waders, huddled around while 2 people dug, 2 people scanned for little holes, one held a bucket and another a lantern. Very nice.

After we’d all caught our limits (15 each), we drove to a nearby restaurant and had a late dinner, then drove back to the house. Jack came in for a little while, but soon enough went home and I went to sleep. Pretty long day!

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

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