Not Martha

digging for Razor clams

The other weekend we had the opportunity to go digging clams with friends. We drove down to Aberdeen Washington and out to a large beach at low tide. The beach seemed endless, and we could drive right out onto it. There were a huge number of people out there but there was so much space it hardly felt crowded. Digging clams was a lot of fun, it’s part treasure hunt and part brute force. Thanks so much to Mary, Dave, Tiffany and Chris for the fantastic day!

I didn’t take any pictures of the process of cleaning the clams, for those you can take a look at Mary’s Night of the Living Clams post over at Shelterrific. Let’s just say it was creepy and fascinating. She also posted about making the clam chowder recipe taken from the State of Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. We have not yet cooked any of our clams, I’ll be sure to post if we do anything good with them (or at least anything successful!).

A spot in the sand where a bubble has popped shows you a clam is hiding underneath the sand here.

You use basic suction to draw up a large amount of sand and, hopefully, the clam. It takes a lot of force and often you suck up so much of the water the sand under your feet goes dry.

It can take a few goes with the clamming gun to get down to the clam.

Scott’s first clam ever!

In the bucket.

Mary and Dave brought a bright yellow bucket.

Each person’s license gives you a limit of 15 clams, here we are half way. The boots are from Target and kept my feet nice and dry.

Every once in a while a wave would come up and everybody would scramble to save buckets from being lifted and tipped over.

Heading back to the buckets after a wave has come in.

I tried to get a set of shots in four directions to try to convey how big the beach was and how many people were out there:

To the west, heading out to the edge of the water.

To the north, people and sand as far as I can see.

To the east, our car is one of those specks.

To the south, more beach and more people.

· comments [21] · 02-17-2009 · categories:mumbling · seattle ·

21 responses so far ↓

  • 1 paola // Feb 17, 2009 at 9:06 am

    I really want to do this one day…it looks like fun and I ADORE razor clams…

  • 2 Linda // Feb 17, 2009 at 9:10 am

    Sounds like fun. I’d love to try that sometime.

  • 3 pulltaffy // Feb 17, 2009 at 9:15 am

    Wow! That first picture looks like an ad for a car! :) The beach pictures are amazing too, I live on the East Coast and I’ve only been to the beach once. It wasn’t nearly as pretty as that! Clams really squick me out- they look terrifying! Do they move around in the bucket and try to escape?

  • 4 Amy // Feb 17, 2009 at 9:29 am

    I grew up in Aberdeen and have been digging clams for my entire life. Dip them in flour, egg, then saltine cracker crumbs, then fry them up till golden brown. Delicious! =)


  • 5 Jodie // Feb 17, 2009 at 9:31 am

    Digging for razor clams was some of the hardest manual labor I have ever done! I went in Alaska a couple of summers ago. It was my first time and I was terrible. Our 70 year old host was a pro and caught at least 5 times more than me. Ahhh, good times…..

  • 6 Shannon // Feb 17, 2009 at 10:23 am

    We also had the chance to go clamming in Alaska for razor clams. I think it was just about the best thing we did on our trip! So fun and absolutely delicious!

  • 7 Kathy // Feb 17, 2009 at 10:53 am

    I lived in Westport, Washington for 30 years. I know a zillion ways to cook/preserve your razor clams if you’re intrested, let me know. Plus other seafood too…
    Glad to see the weather was good for you because it’s usually cold, windy, and/or rainy!
    Your pictures bring back so many memories!

  • 8 Wendy // Feb 17, 2009 at 10:55 am

    Cool! Can you rent the clamming guns or do you have to buy them?

  • 9 grace // Feb 17, 2009 at 11:55 am

    that looks so fun! i just read the shelterrific post and i can say w/ 100% confidence that i will never clean clams. dead foot contracting in hands. that’s what did it for me. it makes me appreciate clam chowder a lot more, though.

  • 10 mamichan // Feb 17, 2009 at 1:04 pm

    So fun! I did that once (regular little clams) in Japan as a kid. I’d love to do it again as an adult.

  • 11 Abby // Feb 17, 2009 at 2:25 pm

    I think I might add this to my list of things to do before I die. It looks so fun!

  • 12 EAT! // Feb 17, 2009 at 5:46 pm

    I love things from the sea. Never have dug for razor clams, but it is now on my to do list.

  • 13 megan // Feb 17, 2009 at 7:32 pm

    Finding clams was so engaging, and we were lucky to have excellent weather that day. I know we’ll be back.

    Wendy – I’m not sure, I suspect one has to buy them. Ours a was borrowed. We also saw people out there with narrow spades that looked like they were specifically for clams. The clam gun was a lot of fun to use, as long as you remember to lift with your legs, ouch.

  • 14 Anne P. // Feb 17, 2009 at 8:23 pm

    Hmmm. I’m very jealous!!! I have family on both east and west coasts, but I’m in the landlocked desert of New Mexico. My closest option is the (not often found) microwavable garlic steamed clams from Trader Joes. ***heavy sigh***

  • 15 WiscJennyAnn // Feb 18, 2009 at 1:34 am

    Ooo, wow. I haven’t been clam digging since I was a little kid. What fun! And such a beautiful day… sigh!

  • 16 Michele // Feb 18, 2009 at 8:10 am

    I was a kid when we went digging for clams in New Brunswick…but I’ve NEVER seen a clamming gun before! SO cool!

  • 17 Roberta // Feb 19, 2009 at 10:04 pm

    I’ve never seen a clamming gun before. On the East Coast we use a clam shovel to dig clams.

  • 18 Kat // Feb 23, 2009 at 7:24 pm

    I have always wanted to go clam-digging! I’m so inspired. Thanks for sharing your great photos!

  • 19 Virginia // Feb 26, 2009 at 12:36 pm

    My husband and I were in Seattle for vacation just last week — we drove through Aberdeen on our way to Ocean Shores. Razor clam season had just started, and it seemed like everyone in the area was talking about it!

  • 20 Sabb // Feb 27, 2009 at 3:19 am

    Did u really drive up with the beach with a Golf? looks unbelievable!

  • 21 David Wong // Jan 1, 2010 at 3:45 pm

    I’m going tomorrow and I’m bringing a crew of non experienced first timers. Thanks for the great instructions and experiencs you had!

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