Sunday, August 8, 2010


Penn Cove offers everything from fine dining on the shore, to beautiful vistas of mountains and prairies, to protected waters for incoming vessesl, to muddy butter clam habitat. Armed with a licesnse from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, a bucket, a shovel, and plenty of enthusiasm at 8 AM, Reserve rangers, Sally and Sierra, and Reserve intern, Emily, went to the head of Penn Cove to dig for clams. From our first squelching footstep in the mud to the crispy fried clam for lunch the next day, we had fun throughout the entire process.

Sally digs into the mud, knowing where to dig because she watches for where the clams squirt water as they retract their necks.
After rinsing the sand off the clams and putting them in the bucket, I count the clams to see if we are close to the catch limit of 40. These are some nice looking clams!

Filter feeders that live deep in the sand and mud, the clams were pretty dirty when we first dug them up. We certainly didn't want to eat them full of grit, so Sally had the obvious solution: "I put them in a bucket of salt water and let them spit all day."

I squealed with surprise to come back after a couple hours and find all of the clams with their necks sticking out. When I picked them up, they pulled their neck back into their shell, squirting me in the process.

Sally poses with the morning's catch.

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