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Catching clams on the rock

QUANG NAM – tide recedes, coral reefs at the foot of Ban Than mountain are exposed, people in Tam Hai island commune, Nui Thanh district, take advantage of the opportunity to catch clams.

Mrs. Tran Thi Bich Lien, 55 years old, wearing gloves, socks, and protective shoes, holding a plastic basket, headed to the stone yard to fill the pile of water. She squatted, using an iron rod 20 cm long, 4 cm wide bent at the head, and scratched with the force of her arms.

After the fist-sized pebble layer, then the sand layer is thumb-sized clams. Ms. Lien worked from 5 am until dusk, earning more than 3 kg of clams. “Caught clams hard, people are wet, hands are wrinkled,” said Ms. Lien.

Catching clams on the rock
The women of Tam Hai island commune go to the rocky beach to catch clams when the water dries up. They often go in small groups, while working and chatting to relieve fatigue. Photo: Son Thuy

Unlike Mrs. Lien, Ms. Ho Thi Lan went to a place where the water was nearly half a meter deep. The 60-year-old woman wears diving goggles to her eyes, each time she catches clams, she dives. “Clams live in saltwater, often hiding under the sandy layer a few centimeters deep, so when diving, I have to scratch under the rocks and mud to catch them,” said Ms. Lan.

With more than 30 years of experience living on the rocks, Ms. Lan quickly discovered where the clams live. Each time she immersed herself in the water for about 30 seconds, she came up to breathe, holding the clams in her hand and putting them in a plastic bowl connected to a string.

On a rocky beach of about 10 hectares, mixed with sand and mud, located in Thuan An village, Tam Hai island commune, every day, dozens of women like Ms. Lien and Ms. Lan catch clams. This work depends on the country, usually from the 2nd to the 8th lunar month. Between the 12th and the 18th of the month and the end of the 27th to the 5th, the water dries up, the rest of the days the rocks are flooded with water nearly 2 m deep and cannot be exploited.

A woman scratched the rock to catch clams hiding underneath. Photo: Son Thuy

After a session of scratching clams, despite wearing gloves and protective socks, the women’s hands are still white and wrinkled from being soaked for a long time. Many people suffered from oyster shells and sharp stones that cut their gloves, bleeding.

Catching clams has also become a profession to help people in the island commune have more income in their leisure days. “Every session on the rock, I catch about 3 kg of clams, earning 150,000 VND,” she said, adding that those with good health and good diving skills can catch more than 5 kg per day, earning more than 200,000 VND..

Clams sell for 50,000 VND per kg. Photo: Son Thuy

Clams are often processed by local people into many dishes such as steamed lemongrass, boiled for water and intestines for soup, porridge… Follow vnexpress

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