Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Clammin' in Ninilchik

I'm getting back to some stuff that happened while we were without the computer. This time we will revisit our outing to catch the elusive Alaska Razor Clam. Clamming was one of the reasons to choose Ninilchik, and when we mentioned it to our campground hosts, Brenda and Bob Keeler, they insisted on taking us. The best time to go is when the lowest tides of the month occur, but that would not occur during our stay, so we did the best we could. On the way to the clam flat, we watched how the boats are launched at the Ninilchik Beach.

It's an unbelievable event. The crew and fishermen are loaded on the boat up the hill and the tractor connects to the trailer and pushes the boat well into the water. The day I fished was pretty calm, as it is in this picture, but I understand that it is even more interesting when there is surf. The wheels on the tractor end up about two thirds in the water.

The Keelers have an off road Kawasaki which they call "The Mule".

This is Helen, Brenda, and Bob standing by "The Mule". The tube that Brenda is holding is a "clam gun" and is the best way to catch the clams. Unlike the clams Helen and I are used to on the east coast, these are down about a foot and cannot be taken with our clam forks.

Here, Brenda demonstrates the method of using the gun. When a clam location is indicated, the tube is pushed into the sand. There is a vent hole in the handle and when you have the gun in as far as you can, you cover the hole and pull up. This is a LOT harder than you think. Then you uncover the hole and dump the sand to the side and do it again, and again. Usually the third try will get the clam, if it's really there.

This is the fruit of my labor. The first sign of a clam, three scoops with the gun, and I had my first clam. It was so quick that I had the feeling that this outing wouldn't last long before I had my limit of 60. It was deceiving, my next clam came after many holes. My total for the outing was two. Yup, I only got two. Helen got one or two also, so we were able to justify our "WE BE CLAMMIN' tee shirts.

Here Bob is trying to convince us about the big clam that got away. I guess he's a fisherman through and through.

The bluff behind us was filled with eagles. We have the image of the eagle as being awesome bird and have all seen video of an eagle scooping a fish off the surface of the water with its talons.
Here, the eagle is a lot like a seagull, which is also here in great numbers. It's just down the beach where the fishermen clean their fish and the eagles and seagulls congregate where the fish remains wash up on the beach. Here they are not very elegant. They don't resemble the regals and much as they do vagrants.

Back at the campground Brenda showed Helen how the clams are cleaned. Our clams, with the ones Brenda and Bob got gave us enough for a small chowder. They're in the freezer. I'm sure a chowder will be welcome when it gets cold.


  1. What a trip of a life time thanks for taking us with you.

  2. I think the shots of the eagle are great, they have a massive look whether they are flying or just standing. Glad to see you got enough for a bowl of chowder. Be safe out there. Sam & Donna.

  3. AGPIC
    Wow, great article, I really appreciate your thought process and having it explained properly, thank you!