I’m aware that a month has passed since my last post — I plead the Summer Defense. Heat, mental depletion, and lots of stuff to do with the energy I don’t have.
Did I ever mention that we have no air conditioning in our hovel? Our first, second, and only line of defense is the lagoon, into which we have gone frequently.
Some evidence follows, just to reconnect with the outside world (my readers), even if I have no deep wisdom, or deep anything, to impart. I’ve had to give up talking about Venice itself for a while because living here is like living in freaking “Groundhog Day.” And when I begin to bore myself, it’s time for a big, big pause.
To start things off in a lively way was the unusually powerful “scirocal,” or southeast wind, which roared through Venice for a while the other day. This was a refreshing change, as long as you didn’t have to be on the water in any craft smaller than an aircraft carrier.
Case in point: Not aircraft carriers. Lino and I have found ourselves having to traverse water in this sort of weather in a boat with oars. One remembers only fragments of the experience due to the ungodly concentration such a traverse requires.
Much better — going out at dawn (5:30, for the record) at LOOOOOOW tide. There must be clams out there and we’re going to find them.
What I mean is that Lino is going to find them. He’s so good at it.
My job — for which I have hired myself — is to admire the view. By now it’s no secret that I adore the lagoon at an exceptional low tide. It’s like sneaking into somebody’s house.
Having found exactly zero clams in Place A, we rowed around to Place B, where the quest continued. I especially like this area because there’s so much variety in the sediment. Among other reasons.
The mushy green area in the center of the picture is eelgrass. When the tide is high (and it’s on its way right now) it floats like tresses.
Just pull the boat up and go exploring. Remember that the tide is going to begin rising before long, potentially floating your vehicle away.
Lino came across the first sea urchin I’ve ever seen in the lagoon (I’ve seen them on rocks). Happily, he did not discover it with his bare foot. People eat them, but it seemed pointless to take just one home, so we released it back into its habitat. Far from our bare feet.
Speaking of eating — as one does — we came across a few dauntless sea snails making a meal of a crab. Whatever birds walked by either couldn’t manage it, didn’t like it, or were driven away by the snails. And left only their footprints.
Lino went out armed with a net bag to bring home the clams. But all he was finding were “noni,” or sea snails (Bolinus brandaris). Which were doomed.
Which he displayed, briefly, on the bow, along with two Belon oysters (Ostrea edulis). The lagoon is full of them but nobody is — inexplicably — interested in them anymore. I really like them, but there again, taking only two seemed a little too apex-predator for us. So after being booked and photographed, back they went.
Ditto for this little newcomer, a type of clam called a “longone” (Tapes aureus). Not to be confused with “cape lunghe” (Solen marginatus). I’ve heard Lino mention them, but this was my first sighting. Immortalized, and returned to the primordial homeland.
Another newcomer to my album: Vongola verace (Tapes decussatus) — the shell slightly smashed by something, but still looking good. You can recognize them by the darkish (or sometimes whitish) band around the flattish outer edge of the shell (among other distinguishing traits). These are the native “caparossoli,” which are the acknowledged kings of the molluskian world, but if you don’t know what they look like you might be fooled by some other clam on the menu, presented — how may I put this? — under false pretenses.
Lots of half-buried fan mussels (Atrina fragilis) swathed in eelgrass, strewn about like Mollusk-henge.
When the water is high, you try not to row over them — you can find out too late that the water’s not quite high enough when you hear a little scrape or crunch under the boat. Not good.
Rising tide is also nice.
How can I put this? We found just about everything except clams. But we had a great time visiting the neighborhood.