digging for clams

This was our second clam-digging trip of the year. The trip in May was so much fun, we decided to do it again in July.

We dragged ourselves out of bed early on the 4th of July, piled on layer after layer of clothing, drove down to Ninilchik beach, and prepared to get muddy. Lots of people were already there, digging their hearts out. It didn’t take long for us to find a parking spot on the beach, pile out of the car, grab our sleds and clam guns and shovels, and join them in the digging.

Nikole is ready to go. Notice the spit shine her boyfriend Jeff did on her boots.

Digging for clams is super-addictive. You look for little dimples in the sand, center your clam gun directly over the dimple, use your body weight to drive the gun as deep as you can into the sand, hopefully with the clam inside, then — the really hard part — pull with all your might. Sometimes it takes a second, a third, or even a fourth suck to get that clam out of there and into your bucket. It’s exhausting. Luckily, you’re rather limited in how much digging you can do because the tide isn’t out for long. It rolls back in and you make your way slowly back to the shore, digging along the way, all the dimples in the sand making you crazy because you can’t possibly dig them all.

After all that hard, cold work was done, we were in need of a little relaxations and a warm-up. I brought along a big pot of Manhattan Clam Chowder I’d made the night before with clams from our last expedition, so we warmed that up over a camp stove then dug in. The chowder was delicious — highly recommended. If you’re not familiar with it, Manhattan clam chowder is tomato-based rather than the more popular white, potato-y chowder. I haven’t actually made any white clam chowder yet. It seems too predictable, but I’ll have to make some one day soon.

Then it was back to Anchorage with us, to stand over a sink, and clean buckets and buckets of clams.

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