Monday, December 07, 2009

Clamming, Crabbing, Christmas Trees, Bike Rides, Clam smoke and more!

My friend Andrew has been clamming for quite some time. He's a connoisseur of all things seafood and is always up for fishing, clamming, crabbing, etc. However for the past decade plus since I've known him, pinning down a time and location to go clamming has been pretty much impossible. It's mainly due to the fact that state regulators open up specific areas for clamming only a handful of days at a time throughout the year. And you also have to time it with the low tides, busy city schedules, etc. We finally pinpointed a time - this past Friday night.

At the last minute I was able to take my six year old nephew Coleman with us too. We showed up in Tacoma to carpool with Andrew down to the Westport area on the coast. He brought some hip waders for Chris and I to wear since clamming is a dirty, sandy, wet excursion. Coleman got some last minute warm boots and gloves and thankfully brought his ski coat. The temperature on a reader board in Aberdeen boasted 29 degrees!

We drove for about 2.5 hours through the dark, cold night. About 3 miles south of Westport, we took a right and headed toward the beach. Much to our surprise, there were hundreds of lights along the tide flats. We parked near a house that had its lights on so we could find out car later and then started putting the gear on. We also fired up some coleman lanterns to begin the hunt. Armed with a clam gun and shovel plus a big 5 gallon bucket, off we went toward the ocean.

Thankfully we didn't have to go far. We were able to immediately spot some depressions in the sand and with the careful instruction of Andrew the digging began! We were hooping and hollering and making a big commotion as we brought in clam after razor clam. The clams were so plentiful that we limited out at 60 in about an hour!

Smelling the clear air, watching the hundreds of other lanterns dance along the tide flats to the slow rising moon and listening to the shore break not far from where we harvested the clams made for great memories. And something I'm sure Coleman won't forget for a long, long time. He slept the entire car ride back to Tacoma.

But the adventure wasn't over yet. The next morning we woke up, made some pancakes and sausage for breakfast, hoped in Chris's boat and dropped crab pots. It was so beautiful being on water in the early morning as the fog was evaporating into a clear blue sky. Birds diving for fish and sea lions poking their heads out of the water while hunting for salmon. We even saw a few fly fisherman on the shores of the Narrows on our way to Wolochett Bay. Coleman was a little freaked out at first to be in such a small boat with lots of crab gear. But he got used to hanging out and snuggling up to Makiah and I ducked his head inside his oversize life vest and trying to stay as warm as possible. After I we got back to Chris's house we quickly hiked the hill, got in the car and dropped him off at my mom's to go to his next adventure.

I jumped on my bike as quickly as possible to get my 3.5 hour ride in before sunset and hopefully avoid any icy conditions. I jammed down the Duamish Trail toward Tukwila and hit some ice on the Interurban trail but still kept it upright! Made to Tacoma in record time on the bike and had enough time to stop for some well earned chocolate milk. We then cleaned 15 clams and make both New England and Manhattan chowder that was amazing! I was pretty pooped by the end of the night.

Sunday brought more fun as Chris and I connected with Jennie, Tela and Mary for our weekly mountain bike ride at St. Edwards. I decided to drink a double cappuccino and was FLYING! We had so much fun thanks to a slightly later start and dry conditions. I swear, mountain biking reminds me so much of skiing. Half the time I'm on the verge of being out of control, but then I'm able to stick things since I have maybe at times a little too much confidence. It makes me giggle like a little kid!

And to cap the weekend off - I got to help Shelley, Lincoln and their two little girls Olivia and Alice decorate their Christmas Tree. It's becoming an annual tradition for sure. Oh and one more adventure - we headed over to Ben and Danielle's to smoke 30 of the clams and hang out with them the rest of the evening. Whew, what a weekend!

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