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Thread: Midnight clamming trip to remember!!!!!!

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    New member AKDSLDOG's Avatar
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    Default Midnight clamming trip to remember!!!!!!

    Well, you all wanted the story, here it is..........


    It was late November when I was at a buddies house (Rusty, my 08' goat hunting partner) and we were kicking around some Ideas (yes, there was beer involved ) and I came up with a "hey, lets go clamming!" We both love clam digging so we grabbed the tide book and low and behold there was a -5.1 tide in January, PERFECT! But, it was at 1:30am, so no biggie we'll use head lamps and lantern's. Cool! Done deal lets roll with it! So we suckered another buddy of ours in , Dwight (he had the zodiac) and we made the plan. We were to go to Ninilchik state camp ground and head out to the "island" were we usually go. We arrive to temps about 20* and a nice wind of about 15mph. We got the zodiac all blown up and all the gear loaded, now we just had to wait for the low tide. We left the truck around 12:00am and started to wade out into the water heading for the island (not seeing it made this very hard to find) we split up in different directions trying to use the radio tower light as a guide. Let me tell you what, wading around in hip waders in the cook inlet in the pitch dark with a head lamp and lantern by your self is VERY FREAKY! Finally I hear Dwight yelling, "HERE IT IS, COME ON". He is about 100yrd away and we all meet up on the Island. After getting our gear figured out and finally finding the Island we wasted about 2.5hrs. We start looking around and the dimples are every where! We start digging and the clams keep coming up. Dwight said "lets head over to the other end", OK, sure we always do great over there. After a 15yr walk Dwight stops and says, "be right back" and he heads to the zodiac and stuffs a oar in the sand and ties off the bow line to it, (this saved our lives!". Long story short, we are loaded with clams and the surf is starting to pound the Island right behind us. We had a lantern that wasn't working very well set next to the boat, looked up and there was no glowing light, huh, it probably just finally crapped out for good, yea, you're probably right, (NOPE IT'S CALLED THE TIDE SWAMPED IT) so we did heading back to the boat. I start to notice the waves crashing around us (like a horse shoe shape from behind us) I am thinking, this doesn't sound right, guys, I'm gonna go find the boat, OK, cool we'll be right there, just a few more clams to go. I head off to find the boat but all I keep running into is WATER! NO BOAT!!!!! Now, any of you know the place I am talking about, it's a LONG WAY TO MAIN SHORE, WAY TO LONG TO SWIM AND SURVIVE! I start to panic a bit, OK, ALOT! I yelled for rusty and Dwight and told them the boat is gone! Here they come at full speed! We split up and started to wade out, I made it out maybe 80yrds with the water right at the top of my waders when I see the boat bobbing in the waves, I head straight to it and the water crests the top of my boots, BBEEERRRRRRR! Finally make it to the zodiac and the water is now belly button high and frickin cold! I meet back up with rusty and Dwight and we all get in, now we just need to find all of our gear and clams! After about 30 minutes of paddling around we were able to get all the buckets of clams back and all the gear minus one glove and one spare coat. By now we are freezing to death, all of us are soaked from the arm pits down. We start towards the beach, don't know how long we did this but, we butted up against a huge rock out there and kept paddling going no where! After turning on a headlamp to look around we all see how stupid we were . No one could paddle any more due to exhaustion/hypothermia so we went straight in to the beach and started dragging the boat on the beach, upon reaching the truck we could hardly move, took everything to get undressed and change cloths. Once in the running truck we sat there and each took a shot or two of Schnapps and not one word was said at all until after we got home. Quit the sobering moment. I look back on that trip every now and then and we have a beer when we are down there "digging in the summer time" and we both get quite for a while. Each one of us knows how close the 3 of us came to never seeing each other again.


    So, NO CLAMMING AT NIGHT, PERIOD!!!!!!


    P.S. This story was modified, there were a ton of "F" Bombs and well as others that were being said at the time.
    Last edited by AKDSLDOG; 11-13-2008 at 22:36. Reason: And the P.S.

  2. #2

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    Been to the island many times and have rescued a few who stayed to long. Great place to dig but when the tide changes it's time to haul butt. About 20 years ago we hauled in several people by canoe, I was the last out water up to my knees, no more island visable. not a great feeling. I think a few have not made it back from the island over the years.

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    Member FishSean's Avatar
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    Default >>>-------->

    Now that you've heard the tale stay tuned for a special episode of "After The Dig" with your host Mike Rowe.

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    Member alaskachuck's Avatar
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    I have seen so many people trapped on that island in bright daylight. I cannot imagine it at night. Total blackout. I would freak
    Grandkids, Making big tough guys hearts melt at first sight

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    Member akshrop's Avatar
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    Wow good story, I am amazed every time I hear a story like that and some bozo blames the booze. It was simply and act of nature versus beer influencing good, solid judgment. I am glad you made it back, and I know skydiver is as well.

    Sorry, some things are hard to let go even when everyone else is bored to tears.

    PS, I have heard of a few cases where cheap beer has had a negative effect on reasoning, but never quality beer. Invest wisely.

  6. #6
    Member tjm's Avatar
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    uggh, so who's down for a little clamming?...
    ------------------------------------------------
    pull my finger....

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    Thats a story you will tell for the rest of your lives. Things like this build charachter!!

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    Member DRIFTER_016's Avatar
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    Wow, that was a close one.
    Note to self, when fishing tidal waters at night bring really good lights!!!
    Maybe something like this.

    http://www.elfis.net/elfol7/e7artsun.htm


    P.S. How were the clams.

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    Member growden1's Avatar
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    Default Crazy!

    Thats a great story, I would definently freak out if I couldn't find the boat, and I bet you will never forget that feeling. Hope the clams were worth it.

    Fish On!
    http://www.youtube.com/growden1

    Nothing makes a fish bigger than almost being caught.

  10. #10

    Default Clamming at night

    Growing up in Washington State I have lots of memories of clamming at night. My job was to hold the lantern as a young man. I remember my dad wanting to hit me with the clam shovel and the never ending phrase "Your standing in my light".

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    Reminds me of chasing salmon through the early mist in Hood Canal.

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    Member FishGod's Avatar
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    My dad and I got caught out there 25 years ago. It was our first clamming trip in Alaska. We didn't know about extreme tides. Long story short, my dad swam with me on his back and 100 people watching from shore. The coast guard arrived as we made it back to shore. My dad saved my life and I had my first hypothermic experience. Now, whenever I clam off the island I always keep my eyes peeled and know exactly when the tide turns. Lesson learned!

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    Member Bullelkklr's Avatar
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    Default how far

    how far out is the island that you are talking about - is it a few hundred yards straigh out halfway between ninilchik and deep creek?

    I think that in the dark - when clamming - I would just stick to the beach.......

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    Member FishSean's Avatar
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    Default >>>------->

    Quote Originally Posted by FishGod View Post
    Long story short, my dad swam with me on his back and 100 people watching from shore. The coast guard arrived as we made it back to shore. My dad saved my life and I had my first hypothermic experience.
    Sounds like a dood man your dad.

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    Member FishSean's Avatar
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    Default >>>------->

    Originally Posted by FishGod
    Long story short, my dad swam with me on his back and 100 people watching from shore. The coast guard arrived as we made it back to shore. My dad saved my life and I had my first hypothermic experience.

    Sounds like a GOOD man your dad.

    I couldnt figure out the edit function for misspelling

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    Member DRIFTER_016's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FishSean View Post
    I couldnt figure out the edit function for misspelling
    Yeah, I've never been able to figure that out either.

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    New member AKDSLDOG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DRIFTER_016 View Post
    P.S. How were the clams.
    Excellent!

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    New member AKDSLDOG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tjm View Post
    uggh, so who's down for a little clamming?...
    Let's roll! I didn't get to go down this summer so no clams in the freezer for me.

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    great trip ........thanks for the details..

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    Did the same thing back in the early '90's,same time of year.I was up to my arm pits in water,but I had my Grundens raingear ducktaped around the cuffs to my Xtra Tuff boots.Still filled up with water,but it was slow,and since the water couldnt circulate to any great extent,it warmed up...well sorta.
    Course when I stepped out of the surf,I was an extra 25 or 30 gallons heavier and couldnt empty out till the tape was gone.Getting undressed on the beach was the cold part,thankfully I dont remember any wind .
    Strange sensation out wandering in sea water up to your pits, pitch black with a coleman lantern.

    ak4195

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