Apr 1, 2009

No Easy Way to Get a Geoduck

This is one creature I've had many an encounter with while clamming on the Northern California coast. They make for good eating in chowder, and they make you work for them. There's just no easy way to get a geoduck (pronounced gooey duck) clam out of its sandy home.

You find them in one of two ways. One is to watch for the high sprays of water that mark where they're retracting their necks down the into the holes from where they have been feeding. Or you can do it like this woman, and spot the tell-tale lips among the seaweed, right at the mud's surface.

Photo source: C. Chase Taylor

Then you dig. You dig and dig and dig (we use a manual pump made from PVC pipes). Then you lay down on your side and plunge your arm into the darkness of the muddy slush, find the neck, feel your way down its length until you can reach the shell. Inevitably, the shell is too far down, and you have to continue to slurry the mud out until you can get to it. The big clams are often still too far down, way below your arm length, and they get away. But you'll still get your fair share (following the limits of your fishing license, mind you).

And this is what you pull out.

Just trust me when I say that they're delicious. I know they look abominable, but now I'm hungry, and it's lunch time.

Thanks for the links, Mike.


Anonymous said...

Something tells me the lesbian who was grossed out by the spineless hedgehog won't be too enthralled with the geoduck, either.

Robin said...

haha i see these all the time in hk fish markets, never knew what they were called!

Kit said...

Digging around in muck is fairly bad enough... digging around in muck and being forced to pull out a slime ball like this... GEH. However, I giggle immaturely every time I see one.

Anonymous said...

Dirty Jobs did a segment on geoducks and Mike Rowe killed a few by accident, yaa youtube :http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1jaRaOfB_-E

Keera Ann Fox said...

Ohmigosh! Never heard of such a critter before. And you posting this on April 1 didn't help. :-) But now I'm a bit more educated (and also hungry), so thanks!

LisaL said...

I giggle whenever I see them as well. Sorry, but they look like elephant or horse or whatever willies.
I'm sure they taste great, just don't tell me wht it was before it got cooked b/c that's all I'll be able to picture and won't be able to eat it.