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.