Monday, March 21, 2011

Copalis Beach and the art of clam digging

This weekend I was at Copalis Beach with Max, the in-laws and some friends. Copalis Beach is a little dot on the map of Washington, also known as redneck central. Now, I had an amazing time there cuddled up by the fireplace, eating twelve meals a day and playing Farkle and Rummikub. But the most interesting activity out there is definitely clam digging. If you are wondering what clam digging is, how I did that in high heels and how I got coaxed into this, let me explain...

It basically entails going to the beach, dressing up in an outfit consisting of a head to toe rainsuit (all parts different colors, all parts three sizes or more too big), rubber boots, and rain hat. Accessories include shovel, clam net and runny nose. (The horror! I want my heels and skirt!) If that wasn't enough, I then had to proceed to pound on the beach with my shovel, look for tiny air bubbles to come up, dig at the bubbles, and chase the escaping clam with your bare hand after digging about two shovels deep. Usually around this point, a big wave would come in to refresh me inside my rainsuit which pretty much only had an opening around the neck. Mind you, this digging is definitely a workout as a death fearing clam is a lot faster than one would imagine as an inexperienced clammer.

At this point the clams look still somewhat like they could belong to a food group.
As everyone else caught their limit of 15 clams, I got three (and a really tiny one which I won't count). Happy I got anything at all I proudly returned to the house, only to realize that there were now roughly 120 huge razor clams to be killed and cleaned. There was no escaping this chore under the scrutinizing eye of my new family, not even when I whimpered a little bit and gagged over the clam bucket. As cleaning a razor clam is really gross and reminded me mostly of female circumcision I will spare you further details. I'm pretty much traumatized though, and my bag full of cleaned and dissected clams in the freezer remains untouched until this massacre fades away into the depths of my memory.

Oh my god, this is gross. And cleaning out their insides is even more nausea inducing. Pictures available upon request only.
Ok, so can I at least call myself a proper Washingtonian now that I took part in this activity? Please say yes! Or is there another rite of passage I need to submit myself to?


  1. WOW 30 clams a person.... i'm sure you wouldn't be digging two limits a person would you, cuz that would be ilegal...

  2. Never in all my years (read: Ever single time) have clams been dug in an illegal manner, we are law abiding (read: untrustworthy) citizens of the PNW.

  3. Thanks for reading my post! I suppose I made a rookie mistake and got the limit wrong. All fixed now! Woops, nothing illegal happened!

  4. Funny Stuff G-Awesome!
    Thanks for teaching me a about the PNW (I actually had to Google that).

  5. Female circumcision? You sure?
    They look slightly indecent creatures, I think - in their present, recognizable state positively unfit for the dinner table..
    Funny thing is I saw them yesterday on a foodmarket, and today I discovered a pair of pants called 'clamdiggers', so this new sturdyness of yours seems very trendy :-)
    Glad to hear from you dear - you are so full of surprises!
    Love and happiness, and long life. Josee

  6. @Paardestaart: Thanks for checking out my posts! And yes, female circumcision... Once you cut them open sideways and remove the gills and such you'll see what I mean. Happy to hear the clam trend is catching on though. It is for sure unexpected!
    Happy to hear from you too! Sending transatlantic hugs to you and that rascal of yours!

  7. Digging Razor Clams on a spring tide in the Pacific
    Northwest requires strength, agility, a good sense of humor and a few strong drinks. You have passed the test with flying colors!