It was wham, bam, thanks for the clams, this past weekend along the shores of the Kenai Peninsula from Homer to Kasilof.
Droves of people were out enjoying the clear skies and warm weather, while in pursuit of the seasonally sought after shellfish -- razor clams.
The surf-swept beach at Clam Gulch was a bustling metropolis. Trucks and ATVs rumbled to and fro. The entire coastline in both directions was crowded with diggers donned in rubber waders as far as the eye could see.
"Look, Grandma, I got one!" said 3-year-old Kathleen Lowe to her grandmother, Elaine Lowe, while holding up her catch.
They came down from Anchorage for the weekend to harvest the bounty below the sand.
"The clamming has been pretty good," said Lowe. "It was slow at first, but I've only been at it for about two hours and I've almost got my limit now."
She said she comes down with her family every year at this time, and the catch this year has been comparable to most.
"The size has been real decent," said Lowe while holding up a roughly eight-inch razor. "That's just how I like my clams."
Empty razor clam shells line the beach at Clam Gulch as a busy day of clam digging comes to an end, and the tide starts to roll in.
Photo by Joseph Robertia
Not everyone on the beach was a seasoned digger, though.
"This is our first time, and it's really fun," said Serena Sterrett. "We've got 40 to 50 already."
Sterrett and her friend Jake Sweet were down from Anchorage.
They were using teamwork to gather multiple mollusks. Sweet would dig a few shovel-fulls of wet sand, and Sterrett would feel around with her hands, and pull out the clams.
"We thought they would be deeper down and a lot harder to get, but it hasn't been that tough," she said.
Stacy Hurff and Mark Hurley were another couple of first-timers from Anchorage. They didn't have any trouble getting their bag limit of clams either.
"It was our first time and it's been a blast," Hurff said. "You couldn't have asked for better weather either."
Heather Sealy and Beth Carlberg were down from Anchorage with their family and friends. Their hard work paid off as well, since they got their limit, too.
"Now comes the hard part," said Sealy. "For every hour you put into harvesting clams, you can expect to put in two more to cleaning them."
When asked whose job it was to do the cleaning, that's when the finger pointing and giggling began, but Sealy admitted everyone takes part.
"Whoever gets the clams has to clean them," she said. "It takes awhile, but it's not that bad."
They said it was worth the work, since the clams made such tasty table fare.
"We usually bread them up and fry them," said Carlberg. "Of course, we always save some for chowder, because chowder's the best."
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