A Geoduck Side Note

Mirra Fine - Blog

Episode 68 was filmed over a span of a couple weeks: first in Northern CA, then on Bainbridge Island and then out on the Pudget Sound. Of all three, the filming of the geoduck was the most difficult.

To get those 3 minutes of footage I had to brave the following conditions: 1. I was wearing men’s size 9, knee high rubber boots out in the slushy, sticky sea floor (I got stuck in the mud — literally — twice), 2. it was both sticky/humid and chilly/rainy out, which made me sweaty/cold/wet,  3. the intense wind was blowing my two cameras all over the place, and 4. I had to hide behind an entire 9-person Food TV crew that was also filming the clam acquisition that day.  If you’re wondering why the sound on that segment isnt as clear, or the shots arent as long… that, my friend, is why.

So I would like to take this moment to give myself a little pat on the back. Because, the 9 person TV crew (whom I was instructed to “stay behind”) had nine people, 3 cameras, a sound guy, a boom mic, a director, a producer and 12 cellphones. Our film crew consisted of me — carrying two cameras, two camera bags, one large umbrella, one super clammy (yet very chic) green raincoat, headphones, an iphone (daniel’s pride and joy) and a coffee. I was a rockstar that day. And though I’m very proud of the footage that resulted, because of the wind and the rain, the sound was shot. So we weren’t able to capture all the interesting audio on Geoducks.

To the lay person, Geoducks just seem like a really unfortunately designed sea creature. But they are so much more: They are also crazy-looking. And the largest (burrowing) clam in the world, who digs its home up to a meter under the sea floor. (“Geoduck” comes from Nisqually Indian “gwe-duck” which means “dig-deep”). We spotted one (and I mean “we” in the very loose sense of “everyone else “) by looking for tiny water spouts coming out from the ground, as that is the little guy stretching his neck all the way up to the surface to breath.  Meaning, they can stretch their neck up to a meter.

Once you find a spout, you start digging. Which is what Langdon, John and Daniel did in the video. You cant dig right above the geoduck or you risk hurting the animal or breaking it’s shell — so you need to dig next to it. Their meat is supposedly sweet and more of a delicacy…eaten mostly in sushi form or on a dare. But here’s the part that really blew me away: Geoducks can live to 100 years old (The oldest recorded was 168, I think). Theyve lived through two world wars, the rise of democracy, man landing on the moon, the invention of the Internet, and the slushy machine. Granted, they’ve been underground the whole time, but still, they’ve been through it. And then someone 1/4 their age comes along and kills them. It doesn’t seem right.  Most geoducks are a lot younger when they are harvested, which means their lives are cut drastically short. Similar to Sturgeon. I don’t know… something about it makes me feel like we should just leave them be, and let those wise, old creatures live out their lives under our seas.

  • ohboyrico

    I agree with leaving them be to live out long lives.  And I really enjoy watching your videos.

  • Today’s Paleo

    You rock, lady. And I am soooo incredibly fascinated by this creature now.

  • Bluewater1950

    Truly humane piece, a high five for you here

  • Guy P. Murdock

    Hey Mirra, still reeling from the Lobstah Bake. It was a blast. I used to eat Giant Clam (Geoduck) frequently at sushi bars throughout the New York and Connecticut area. I’m not sure if you realize it or not.., but their populations are in serious decline.., like most of the sea foods the Japanese like. Even the great Blue Fin Tuna is disappearing. The reason I’m dropping you a line is because I’m loving your videos and think after reading your blog about this particular shoot.., I need to commend you and give you the biggest of “Thumbs Up”! You my dear.., are the coolest. Thanks for being…, both you and your partner, Daniel. I also loved your comments about the “mountain morel” shoot. You are one tough cookie. Don’t let anyone tell ya different! Some pretty, too! Please take care of and protect yourself in these “wild” places. ~~~~~~~~~~~~>

  • Mmcocciolo

    25 years ago we used to dig these clams and clean, pound and fry them.  They were wonderful.  I live on the oregon coast.

  • PAUL

    CAN YOU EAT THE WHOLE GEODUCK?