First day of summer on the beach

Ahh...the first day of summer.

The sun was out, along with the tide, and the breeze was just right for a day at the beach. To some beach-goers, the first day of summer means beach combing and clam digging, a favorite pastime here on Whidbey Island.

At Penn Cove, located near Coupeville, many clammers were out at low tide Tuesday looking for some tasty bivalves. Ruby Kathleen George, 3, from Snohomish was clamming with her grandparents Leonard and Soon Kennedy of Oak Harbor. She was fully prepared for the adventure with her own shovel to dig clams and bucket full of water to put them in. When asked what they were planning to do with their clams, Soon Kennedy had an immediate answer.

“We are going to make clam fritters out of them!” she said.

Joe Crollard from Oak Harbor was also digging clams. Crollard said he was having very good luck with the clams and claimed that he was going to use them in clam chowder and for canning. Crollard, a retired albacore tuna fishermen, said that clamming is “a relaxing way to spend the day.” This his was his second time clamming in a week.

Further down the beach, Greg Cormier, who was decked out from head to toe in official clamming gear such as white wading boots, a green wind-breaker and a shovel in hand, tried his own skills at the muddy pastime. Cormier’s two dogs, Winston and Oscar, accompanied their master and worked ferociously to hunt down their own clam treats. Cormier, an Oak Harbor resident since 1993, said he clams all summer long.

Another beach digger, Bob Wallace of Vashon Island, was also hard at work digging for clams with his two friends, Bruce Maresh of Oak Harbor and Jim Hawn of Minnesota. Wallace said the first day of summer is also his birthday and that it was a day well spent on the beach.

“It’s a treat and something that I’ve never done before. It will make my birthday unique and memorable,” he said.

The lowest clamming times coincide with the first week of summer. Tuesday’s low was minus 3.2 feet. Today at 11:40 a.m. it dips to minus 3.8 feet, and tomorrow at 12:26 p.m. it bottoms out at minus 3.9 feet.

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