Monday, July 23, 2012

Clam Gulch and Ninilchik

We camped at Clam Gulch in hopes of watching people dig for razor clams....a major activity here. Clam digging is best during an extreme low tide. This weekend was supposed to be the lowest of the season. This road leads to the beach. The sign says 4-wheel drive vehicles only.
Our campground is on top of the bluff. No clammers were on the beach in the was high tide.
 No parking, no camping...
 Subsistence fishermen live by different rules.
 Salmon fishermen have been here. They fillet the fish and leave the rest.
 Summer homes for fishermen? They are barely above the tide line.
 Ravens perched on the bluff, waiting, waiting...
Tina and Herschel walking on the beach in the morning.
 The tide was going out, and the gulls were waiting for the action to begin, but we left before any clammers started digging.
 This was the only clam we saw at Clam Gulch.
 Perhaps the Whimbrel ate it.
We traveled on south to the small Russian town of Ninilchik. This is another old Russian Orthodox Church. Services were underway so we did not see the inside.
 At the Ninilchik River overlook we learned how to tell the different kinds of salmon apart.
 The Ninilchick River
 We also learned about the King Salmon,
 and the importance of preserving its habitat.
 No one knows for sure why the King Salmon run is poor this year, but they are trying to preserve the species by closing streams to fishing.
The town of Ninilchik was built at the mouth of the river as a retirement community.
 It was created so Russian-American families could stay together after retirement.

 This sign was near the entrance to the tiny village.
 The entire town fits in one picture. The church we visited is above the town on the bluff.
 A couple of houses on the bluff.
 The tide was out and this beach was crowded with clammers.
 It looked like hard work.
 Walking and kneeling in the cold water.
 You can tell the difference in the natives, and the rubber-booted, warm jacket clad clammers below.
 Reaching in the hole to grab the clams.
 This is how you make the hole. You have to have that special hole digger.
 Pull it out,
 And then kneel down to feel for clams.
 Some people work in teams.
 Tina decided to get a closer look. She has proper footwear.
 Nan wanted closer too....not so sure about her footwear.
 For some, clamming is a family tradition. They are gathering their subsistence.
 And they are used to colder water than this.
 An artist comes to paint the scene.
 Nan and Tina interviewing a clammer.
 Check Nan's blog for those close-up photos. I was keeping my feet dry.
 Two brave souls about to go clamming pose for a picture.
 Lotta clamming going on.
 There go those two, and children play barefoot on the rocks.
 THe artist begins her sketch. It's cold out here. This is why I take pictures now.
 THis old boat was left as a memorial, and for future fishermen to play on.
 Immature Bald Eagle
 They've got all the right gear.

 Tina holding a live clam. 
 No, she didn't dig it herself. And she had to give it back to the person who did.
All-in-all it was an educational experience and fun to watch. I think I'll buy my clams pre-dug.

1 comment:

  1. I think I'll just let the clams stay where they are, thanks. But this was a great post. Guess clam chowder is pretty popular there.