Our Heron Island Visit

We boarded our fishing boat at New Mills Wharf at low tide.  Just as the fishermen were weighing and packing their catch to the Poissonerie truck, our family was on our way out onto the open sea.

Well, it wasn’t really the open sea.  But for us city-folk, the twenty minute ride to Heron Island was as sea-faring as we were going to get.

After our boat ride, our family was ferried from our moored fishing boat to the island, ninety feet away.  I removed my t-shirt, tourist hat and sunglasses and dove into the cold saltwater and swam the final leg of the journey.  If it weren’t for the plague of seaweed, I would have felt like Michael Phelps crusing in for the gold.

We made our day-camp on a south-facing beach of Heron Island.  This place was the source of good childhood memories for both Deborah and her brother Scott.  Within minutes, we took our spades and buckets to the exposed clam bed just a short walk away.  With a little instruction from Scott, we began digging for clams.

Personally, I looked for a small airhole in the exposed ocean floor.  I prod around to determine if there is any additional activity, like a spewing clam or active air bubbles.  When I’m happy about my digging spot, a single dig to turn over the sand can reveal up to four or five small clams.  I use my hands to gently sift through the much to find the clams.

They’re ugly little buggers.  It’s like a fresh-water clan, except as you’re digging them, they have their mouth/air hole/waste/reproductive appendage exposed.  It’s like a tiny elephant trunk, weezing and squeezing liquid at you.  I wash them off in a tidal pool and throw them in the bucket.  Then I repeat, for hours of critter-digging fun.

The girls were great at it and probably accounted for about eighty percent of our feast.  They were clam digging machines.

Around five o’clock, Scott, Fiona and I gathered driftwood to make the fire while Deborah readied the pot.  Then Candace, David, Rose and all the girls gathered around the fire and the seven minutes of steaming required to cook the clams.  We all ate the slimy little guys to our hearts content.  Mmm.

We concluded our day back on the boat for some evening mackerel fishing until sunset.  Not much success in the fishing department, but I did manage to reel in a nice market-sized crab.  Scott caught our one and only mackerel.  Our evening outing was made special courtesy of a close encounter with a grey seal and David’s fried chicken offering.  Miigwetch!

Today, we’re checking out of the Heron’s Nest and spending the weekend in Listiguuj for their annual pow-wow.  Looks like another great day of weather on the sunny east coast.

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One Comment

  1. Cool reminds me of crab diggin on the n coast of Masset Island on the Haida Gwaai, last year, great memories…