Did you all manage to survive the Christmas and New Year's mayhem? It was Bedlam at Legend Mansions as usual, so we took an offer from some good friends to go Razor Clamming for a few days and relax. How hard could that be?
We were told we didn't need any special equipment, just our wellies (rubber boots) and some warm clothes, and perhaps a 5 gallon bucket to hold our catch.
Suitably impressed by the apparent ease at which we would obtain our catch, we packed our car with essentials, some food and a LOT of wine and headed off to Long Beach, at the bottom west corner of Washington state. We had booked a condo to share with our friends, and after an uneventful drive, we fronted up to our new home. The Lighthouse Resort turned out to be just about perfect for our needs, Indoor tennis (Mrs legend happy), Indoor Pool and Air Hockey (Legend Jr happy).
The rooms were big enough to be comfortable, and situated right on the sand dunes with a knockout view of the Pacific waves that were crashing down onto the wide and flat beach that stretched for 25 miles end to end.
I know that, because a large sign at one end said, "Welcome to the World's longest beach, 25 miles end to end."
Now I don't want to sound uncharitable, as it was a very nice beach, but the local council really do need to get out of the state a wee bit, as there are MUCH longer beaches in MANY other parts of the world, but I digress.
We all assembled at the appropriate time (1 hour before low tide), dressed in clothing befitting the razor clam experts we all felt we were after reading the instructions on the Clam Guns we were now sporting. Clam guns, for the uninitiated, are hollow tubes about 4" in diameter and about 2' long with a handle at 1 end and a small air hole near where your thumb would be if you were to hold it like bicycle handlebars.
As we left the comfort of the resort lighting, the head torches we had purchased revealed themselves to be totally inadequate. We blundered our way through the dunes, out onto a wide expanse of wet sand and searched in vain, bodies bowed to the ground, for the tell tale signs of razor clam hiding spots. I could only just make out two large dark blobs at the end of my body which, as soon as the 1st large tidal swell came rushing past me, turned out to be my feet. The water surged up my legs and flowed back down again, filling my new rubber boots my wife had bought me for Christmas. As I tried to run back up the beach, the water sloshed out of the top of each boot, and made wet fart like sounds with each step.
We stayed out for another hour before squelching our way back to the Condo for some liquid consolation.
Our total haul in two hours?
2 rather small, measly f**cking razor clams.
Hardly enough to share between 6 hungry clammers, so we raided the fridge for all the Christmas leftovers and plonked our damp bodies in front of the fire for the rest of the evening and vowed to equip ourselves with better lighting for the following evening.
That evening, armed with our new "There's no where to hide" Clam spotlight, we headed back across the dunes, ready to do battle.
It didn't make the slightest difference to our ability to see the clam holes. Not one jot.
Frustrated, I stumbled off into the dark, muttering to myself like a demented homeless person, when I suddenly realized, there were two older gentlemen standing right behind me. "There's one there," one of the men said. "There's another one. Come on, get digging."
It took a wee while to realize that they were talking to me and not to each other. "I can have this one?" I asked, half expecting them to disappear in a puff of smoke. The older, more grizzled one of the two just pointed with his clam gun, and said "you'd better get digging."
Within 15 minutes I had my quota of 15. My two, new found weather worn friends stayed with us until we all had our quota, and then disappeared into the night just as quickly as they had appeared. They had a standard storm light which cast light sideways so you could see the shadows in the sand, instead of direct light (no shadows) and this made the clam holes visible. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
Feeling a bit more triumphant and not so useless, we headed back to the condo to clean and cook our catch. The clams were cleaned as per instructions we had found on the Internet.
They seemed overly complicated to me. They could have just said,
"clean and cut out anything that looks like shit," and the results would
have been the same.
We floured, egg washed, and bread crumbed the clean clams and popped them in hot fat for a minute. Drained and ready to serve with a chilled Viognier and some Wasabi sauce, they were sublime.
Happy New Year.