Monday, February 02, 2009


Scalloping season opened on Monday (recreational scalloping is reserved for Saturdays and Sundays, 7:30 am - 4:00 pm). Yesterday afternoon several friends and I headed to the Sound with rakes, dip nets, waders, plastic buckets, and kayaks. We left the village at 1:30, and were wading in calf-deep water by 2:00.

I walked quite a way but didn't see a single scallop. The shallow waters and tidal flats had been picked clean by seagulls (broken shells littered Highway 12). Even in deeper water I was having no luck. The wind was rippling the surface, making it difficult to see the bottom. Then I came to a large bed of eel grass some distance from the shore. The scallops were thick! My dip net broke so I just reached down and picked them up. Three or four scallops would be lying clustered near one another, and as I was picking them up I could feel more under my feet. In short order (and without venturing very far) I had my half bushel limit.

Fortunately the temperature was in the mid 50s (don't know what the water temperature was, but my hands sure got cold fast). By 4:30 we were back in the village. A half hour later (after unloading all of the gear) we tackled the scallops. It took an hour and a half to shuck two 5-gallon buckets full. By then Amy and I could hardly feel our fingers, they were so cold. While we were finishing up, and then taking our much anticipated showers, David cooked soup and sauteed the scallops in olive oil and garlic.

It is supremely satisfying to savor fresh seafood, gathered just a few hours beforehand, with family and friends.

In 2002 I published a monthly Newsletter describing a comical scalloping adventure. If you'd enjoy more details about this coastal experience click here:

Amy shot some pictures yesterday afternoon. I'll post a few in the next couple of days.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter provides more information about the majestic live oaks on Ocracoke Island. You can read it here.

To read about Philip's new book, Digging up Uncle Evans, History, Ghost Tales, & Stories from Ocracoke Island, please click here.


  1. Anonymous1:44 PM


    Apropoos not to scalloping but to reading, if you want to read an amazing oral/aural-based southern novel check out Peter Mathiessen's "Shadow Country," which takes place in the Florida Everglades.

  2. Anonymous9:43 PM

    I love reading your blog each day. Ocracoke holds many fine summer memories for me, but it is so fascinating to read of the treasures the island holds year round. Thank you for allowing those of us who aren't lucky enough to call Ocracoke home a small glimpse. - Keep up the good work. - Kitten Stem