Monday, July 4, 2011

The Alaskan Independence Day...Happy Clamming!

We have decided that while we are living in Alaska, we are going to take advantage of every opportunity offered to us, even if it's not something we would not usually try on our own.  So when The LT's new boss invited us to spend our Indendence Day clamming, we readily agreed.  After publishing our plan for the day on Facebook, one of my college roommates wondered, "Is that just what ya do up there... kinda like going to the park?!"  Yes, Annette, I suppose it is!  When you're in Alaska...

A little aside about celebrating the 4th in Alaska: There are no fireworks.  It doesn't get dark!  It is even illegal to do your own fireworks on the Kenai Peninsula.  I think it may have something to do with fire conditions.  Homer does have a town parade, but we are too wiped out from our day to venture down there.  Maybe next year.

All we knew about clamming was to be prepared to get muddy.  The LT is a fan of clams, but I am not big on shellfish.  I figured worst-case that we would have a ton of fun on the beach with the kids and give away our catch.  But the neighbors will be lucky to eek more than than a few strips out of our kitchen after we have learned how fantastic fresh Pacific Razor Clams taste!

We ventured to a busy beach in Ninilchik, about 40 miles from Homer.  Today's low tide was negative 3.5 feet, meaning that it was one of the best low tides of the year.  The beach around here can go from 15 feet to half a mile wide on such a low tide.  The Pilot was put to the test, because you just drive your vehicle right out onto the rocky/sandy beach.  The LT said it was like driving in soft, fresh just let the truck take you in the general direction that you want to go and follow the path made by other vehicles.

Once the tide went out enough and the sand started to dry, you could see the little dimples made by burrowing clams everywhere.  After getting started, it was hard to stop digging them up.  The LT and I did the recovery work, and the kids came around with their beach buckets to collect our catch.  After an hour, we had more than enough for several meals.  The current limit is 60 per person!  Between the 4 adults who were collecting, I don't think we came close to that number.  I was feeling bad on Saturday about having to pay $145 for a non-resident fishing license good for a year, but a few more clamming trips will make it worthwhile.  Looking forward to next year when I can pay the resident rate (and also active-duty military rate) of $24.

What was considered a snow plow in CT is now a clam digger in AK.

Cleaning the clams took about as long as catching them.  The LT's boss gave us a crash course, and we made quick work of the job with a couple pairs of scissors.  A glass of wine and some clam strips sure was a nice way to end a long weekend!  Looking forward to next weekend already.  Maybe a little camping and salmon fishing?

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