Low tide prompts clam bake on Berkeley bay

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Clam bake participants set out on the water late afternoon on New Year’s Day. Photo: Paul Kamen

Continuing a 35-year tradition of unorthodox ceremonial gatherings out in the Bay, the Cal Sailing Club hosted a New Year’s Day Clam Bake on a muddy sand bar between the Emeryville and Berkeley marinas Wednesday evening. Longtime CSC member Paul Kamen filed this report:

The sand bar, known to local sailors and paddlers as Ashby Shoal, only shows itself above water at extremely low tides. [There was a clam bake last year too, prompted by the King Tides phenomenon.]

This year, two of the 48-ft dragon boats from the Berkeley Racing Canoe Center provided transportation from the Berkeley Marina for about half the 60-strong group, while sailboats, kayaks, dinghies and an outrigger canoe filled out the fleet.

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Two 48-ft dragon boats from the Berkeley Racing Canoe Center provided transportation for some of the participants. Photo: Paul Kamen

Berkeley Yacht Club and the Bay Area Sea Kayakers were also well represented. The highlight was a simultaneous ignition of a large box of sparklers, just as the tide bottomed out at 1.6 feet below the usual lower low tide.

“It’s the low point of the Cal Sailing Club whirlwind social schedule,” remarked Kamen.

The sand bar, known to local sailors and paddlers as Ashby Shoal, only shows itself above water at extremely low tides. Photo:  Bruce Koball

The sand bar, known to local sailors and paddlers as Ashby Shoal, only shows itself above water at extremely low tides. Photo: Bruce Koball

The clam bake is one of several social happenings that take place on the Bay. Photo: Paul Kamen

The group that gathered on New Year’s Eve was about 60-strong. Photo: Vi Bottaro

To find out about more events in Berkeley and nearby, visit Berkeleyside’s Events Calendar. And be sure to to post your own events there.

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  • Bill N

    WONDERFUL!

  • withak30

    Is it safe to eat shellfish from the bay? Or even to use bay sediment to cook imported shellfish?

  • bingo

    very cool.

  • guest

    No, and no.

  • Jim Rosenau

    I appreciate that the club went ahead with an open fire and clambake despite all the “good” reasons one could cite not to do so.

  • http://foggytown.com/ john

    Such as the fact that it was a spare the air day.

  • guest

    Or that eating filter feeders harvested from water loaded with industrial urban runoff and heavy metals is a terrible idea.

  • Mark Songey

    Wasn’t that a no burn day?

  • Chris J

    Good answer. I’m all for sparing the air and all of us doing our part to minimize our impact on the environment, but no need for us to be clean air nazis–if one were to be an absolutist about keeping the air and water clean, mass suicide would do the trick to lower our carbon footprint.

    I’d like to leave a carbon footprint on someone’s clean air nazi buttocks.

  • bgal4

    and every restaurant which cooks on an open fire is exempt from the regulations. so all those wood fire pizzas were cooked and eaten on a spare the air day. but no need to examine policies for inconsistencies.

    We burn wood for heat in a EPA certified wood stove the federal government gave us an energy credit for installing. It is our only source of space heat so we burn on spare the air days. Go ahead turn us in.

  • serkes

    Not on my back shoal!

  • william

    Bay Area Air Quality Management District Regulation 5: Open Burning
    “5-110 Exemptions: The following fires are exempt from this Regulation:
    110.1 Fires set only for cooking of food for human beings.”

  • Steven Donaldson

    I think this is a once in a year irreverent and fun event that has a great connection to a location, a time and people. I think it’s great, with apologies to Spar the Air Day.