Mussel Hunters

Saturday, May 1, 2021

On a sunny weekend in February, my friend met me and opened a backpack to reveal a small measuring device shaped like a c and a slip of paper. This was a California fishing license, and we were about to go foraging.

When we arrived at the foraging grounds, the tidepools were mostly picked clean, but we did find a sea urchin to crack open and taste.

We didn’t find any oysters or clams, but there were hundreds of black mussels clamped onto the rocks nearest the ocean.

Giant waves went sailing past, and I saw a dozen or so mussel hunters who were working on the cliffs with subdued intensity, extracting mussels and depositing them into plastic buckets.

The towering waves and the quick, deft movements of the mussel hunters were a sight for our tired quarantine eyes.