In Dunedin just after New Years, my host asked if I would like to go clam-digging. I’ve never been clam-digging before – there are no clams in Hawaii, and (as far as I can tell) very few within a reasonable drive of Wellington. I am extremely enthusiastic both about new experiences and foraging for food (Mr D says “It’s so weird being with you in Hawaii. You just go into the bush and find stuff and eat it), so I was quite excited.
Dunedin has clam beaches (clam fields? What do you call an area where one goes to harvest clams? (harvest? catch? what do you call the act of collecting clams?)) a reasonably short drive from the city centre, so we headed out away from the city to find one.
We drove out along the coast, around still bays and past rocky islands, by spreading sand beaches, and between cone-shaped volcanic hills.
Finally, we came to our chosen bay, with stretches of sand and shallow sea-grass islands revealed by the ebbing tide.
Just a few meters into the water were the clams: solid lumps that shifted under the sand as you walked.
Having dipped my toes in the frigid water at the main beach in Dunedin, I was significantly less than enthusiastic about wading about calf deep in water feeling for clams with my toes, but I needn’t have been worried. In the shallow waters of the bay, the temperature had increased to very comfortable levels, and I quickly decided that 1) I love clam-digging and 2) I wish I had brought my togs!
All too quickly we’d accumulated a sufficient haul of clams (30 – well within the 150 per person daily quota), and returned any little ones to the sea.
Then it was time for fun: exploring the beach and enjoying the sea and sand.
I found this little cutie in the crystal clear shallows:
And kung-fu hermit crab a little further along the beach:
And if you are wondering about the wadge of seaweed in my hand, that’s my other exciting find.
It’s a NZ seaweed, and I was sure that it was basically the same as limu manauea (limu ogo) in Hawaii. I was right – it turns out that it is indeed the local New Zealand gracilaria seaweed (look at me, just tossing out scientific names like textile terms!)
Just like Hawaii’s gracilaria varieties, it makes a delicious seaweed salad. This Hawaiian girl was extremely happy for the next few days!
Between the sea, the sand, the sun, and finding food and friends, I was in absolute heaven. And I had the perfect outfit for it too (look at me, cunningly bringing it back around to sewing! 😉 )
I am constantly on the lookout for a good shorts pattern: one that sits high enough on my hips, but not all the way at my true waist, and is low enough on my legs, and has enough curves to fit my curves, and is roomy enough to accommodate all the crazy things I want to do in a day, and has BIG pockets to hold all the interesting things I accumulate in a day.
Having failed in my attempts to find such a pattern, and completely failed in my attempts to just suck it up and buy shorts (not a happy experience), I just made my own pattern.
I’m going to tweak it a teeny tiny bit next time, but basically, I love them.
This pair is made from the same fabric as my Hepburn in Hakatere trousers. I had exactly enough left over.
(dang it, now I really want to go swimming!)