When the tide goes way out in Useless Bay, it's time for the sturdy and determined to go after the mighty geoduck (pronounced gooey duck). Named by the local Native Americans, and not reflective of your possible reaction to them, geoducks are the world's largest clams. They are exposed only at very low tides. They burrow deep in the sand - three to four feet deep, and their long necks, or siphons, stretch to the surface. The fleshy tip of that siphon is what searchers look for to begun the hunt. Diggers use a large tube, a giant clam gun, if you will, to keep the water-logged sand from collapsing into the hole as it is dug. You don't have to be fast, just persistent, as the hole can fill nearly as fast as you empty it. Eventually the shovel is of no use, and you lay on the sand with your face in the hole, digging with your hands. Once you actually feel it down at the bottom of the hole, it might take another 15 minutes just to work it loose. They do hold on, and the water and sand continue to try to save that clam from your grip. As I said, this is a job for the sturdy and determined. We were spectators.
"Landing" a big one is quite an accomplishment. Besides being a trophy, they are said to be quite tasty. I haven't had the pleasure, but I do love the giant horse clams that are their neighbors in the muck.
Just more proof that Useless Bay isn't useless at all.