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Forage for a feast of seafood on Prince Edward Island.

Dive down and hunt for giant clams, then enjoy them in your own beach cookout lunch on an idyllic deserted island.

12 February 2014
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Suggested tweet: Forage for a feast of seafood on Prince Edward Island http://ow.ly/tjz21 #explorecanada @GentleIsland

Feel the sway of the swell, smell the sea and marvel at the giant 1.3-kg (2.8-lb) clam in your hand— you found it, and in a matter of minutes it’s going to be your lunch.

The ocean that surrounds Prince Edward Islanders is an everyday part of their lives. You can join in, foraging for a feast of seafood, getting to know about a life on the water and living like a local for a half day.

Run away to sea from July through September with personable third-generation lobster fisherman Perry Gotell, owner of Tranquility Cove Adventures. Set off from the historic, century-old port of Georgetown on Prince Edward Island’s eastern tip, heading 8 km (5 mi.) offshore to a deserted island where his homesteading grandfather and father were born. Listen to his stories about growing up there as a child as he drops anchor and you slip into a wetsuit and don a mask and snorkel. Then, step into warm waist- or chest-deep waters onto a sandbar for your Giant Bar Clam Dig. It’s what Gotell calls “a different kind of bar-hopping,” the kind that is a family affair, fun for kids as young as six.

Take a deep breath and dive down with your clam rake on the lookout for small holes in the sand, signs that you are about to haul up monster-sized clams at least 10 cm (4 in.) across; three of these clams can make a meal!  

Sample delicious clam sushi, watching as a seasoned pro steams your clams in fresh boiling seawater for a beach cookout lunch just steps from where you harvested them. While they simmer, swim, sunbathe or beachcomb the sands for sea glass (that you can quickly have made into jewellery back on shore), learning about the former inhabitants of shells and sand dollars you uncover. Check in on the island’s resident bald eagle population: as many as 30 have been spotted on the beach at a time.

After that delicious hyper-fresh lunch, putter across to the province’s oldest wooden lighthouse on Panmure Island, taking a turn steering a real lobster boat. Nearby, haul a lobster trap and become privy to all lobsters’ secrets—including their sex—and the traditional way Islanders cook and devour them.

Then pull up a rock crab pot and a “mussel sock,” getting a crash course on the various fisheries that provide a bounty of fresh seafood that is celebrated in September every year at the PEI International Shellfish Festival. Relaxed, with a full belly and pampered by Maritime hospitality, finish up by spying on a noisy seal colony, as curious about you as you are about them, on your way back to port.

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