Banzai Razor Clams

Skyla has been wanting to dig razor clams all spring, but due to various other commitments–mostly volleyball and basketball–none of our free time matched up with the late-winter evening tides. But Sunday there was a reasonable mid-morning tide and both kids were stoked to go. Which meant up early to hit the road and a long drive to the coast. It rained most of the way there, but we hit the beach under bluebird skies.

The digging was incredible. We walked straight down from the car and hit pay dirt immediately, with clams showing all around us. We filled our limits in 20 minutes, without ever leaving a 30-square-foot patch of sand.

It seemed almost too good. We rinsed our gear, chased Halo around on the beach a bit, and piled back into the car for the haul home. And I kind of wished it had been at least a little more challenging to give us more time on the beach. But we weren’t complaining.

To cap off Halo’s best day ever so far (car-ride napping with family, beach, ocean, etc) we stopped for a burger on the way home and Weston treated her to some ice cream.

Then the real work started. With razor clams, finding and digging is the easy part. At home, we had sand and salt to clean off the gear, clothes, car and dog, and a serious clam-cleaning session. I couldn’t help but tally it all up in my mind: Drive for three hours, dig for 20 minutes, drive for 3 hours and clean for 3 hours. Later, when I related this to our friend Kate, wondering it it was all worth it, she came back with the perfect answer: “Memories for infinity.” Not to mention all the mouth-watering meals ahead.


A Fish Story

Good to be back in the beautiful pages of The Flyfish Journal, one of my all-time favorite publications. Especially with some cool shots from my buddy Tim Romano, and in the same issue as another buddy, the poet Cameron Scott. When you add in excellent words from Steve Duda, the pictures of and from Kate Taylor, more images from Dave McCoy, Reid Curry and Copi Vojta…this issue feels like a print reunion of friends. It’s an honor to be at the party. Check it out if you can.


Signs

At long last. After what’s felt like the wettest, coldest, longest winter in memory, it appears that spring has finally sprung. Halo takes off her winter coat and leaves it lying around the house–and woods…

Fiddleheads unfurl…

Salmon berries pop…

And a generous buddy’s lone Columbia River springer feeds 11 people if we make sure not to waste a morsel. Spring is late, but it’s here. Not a moment too soon.


Stop Puget Sound Salmon Farms

Cooke Industries, which now owns the existing Puget Sound open-water salmon farms, bought them intending a massive expansion. The State of Washington is doing everything they can to clear the way for this expansion. The pens pictured above are anchored just off Bainbridge Island on–yes, it’s true–the Orchard Rocks Marine Conservation Area, a “Marine Protected Area” deemed so rich in sea life that it’s off limits to all fishing and harvest. The state, apparently, doesn’t see the irony in allowing a salmon feedlot, with all the known chemical and fecal pollution, parasite infestation, and viral outbreaks, to operate here.

Everywhere open-water salmon farms have been allowed to operate, wild salmon and the animals (including humans) that depend on them have suffered. In fact, California, Oregon and Alaska have all looked at the negative impacts and refused to allow open-water salmon farms in their waters. Why Washington allows them, and even worse, seems intent on an expansion, is beyond comprehension.

Thankfully, our friends at the Wild Fish Conservancy launched a campaign today to stop the expansion of open-water fish farms from destroying what we love about Puget Sound. For more information and to sign the petition asking Governor Inslee to ban the expansion of open-water salmon farms in Puget Sound, click HERE. It only takes a minute. Don’t let corporate greed, profits for few, and state malfeasance continue at the expense of our public resources. Thank you.


Razors!

Hard to believe, but Saturday was the last evening razor-clam opener of the season, and we didn’t want to miss it. Skyla was literally bouncing off the walls, stoked to dig, and then realized she had already committed to a dinner with friends that night. I was bummed she couldn’t go with us, but was also proud that she stuck to her word. Then Weston woke up not feeling well. And I was left to go it alone, perhaps an early preview of kids growing up and having lives of their own? With a twinge of sadness, I decided to roll anyway, and lucky for me, had plenty of friends to join the fun. That’s Honey, David and Sam Smart, and Doc hitting the beach early.

The dig started off slow, with a big swell pushing the wash up the beach and making it tough. We scratched out a few nice ones ahead of the tide, then, as it the water receded, it was on.

Nothing like good friends on a day at the beach. That’s Dan and Mia Sweeney and me for a quick, sandy-handed selfie. Dry weather, full daylight, no lanterns…what’s not to like?

Once the razors started to show, we filled our limits with big, fat, tasty clams in minutes. That’s Sweeney double checking the Smart boys’ count.

Finished the night at the Sweeneys for a team clam-cleaning session and more good times hanging out with friends. That’s Sweeney and Smarty (with Hefty-sack wrapped wrist he broke to avoid having to clean clams) waiting for the watched pot to boil. I missed the kids, but ended up having a fantastic time anyway. Love this crew.