My memories are filled with different adventures on the boat. If you ask me to describe my childhood, it definitely took place on the water. We fish, scuba dive, water ski, wakeboard, lobster, and scallop. Growing up around the ocean gave me a deep love and respect for the water and sea life but it dims in comparison to other members of my family. I find it interesting how everybody finds their own “culture” at some point. For my parents and brothers, their culture is the ocean. My culture is that of a triathlete where my idea of fun is a group bike ride or trail run.
Scalloping, however, is a must do in Florida during the scallop season which runs from the end of June through September. Most people only see the finished product once the scallop has been cleaned and cooked. It has a similar texture to lobster.
They look completely different underwater though. Scallops are in the mollusk phylum so they are encapsulated in a shell. The part that you eat is the muscle that holds the two shells together. They filter the water for plankton and have this row of simple eyes that you can see underwater.
Kind of crazy looking, right? They usually are found in grassy areas of the ocean in 5-10 feet of water. Scalloping is kind of like Easter Egg hunting. You snorkel and scan the bottom of the ocean for the scallop. Here is a picture I took from our trip and my bag for collecting the scallops.
The density of scallops depends on the season, location, and if other people have been to that spot before. The timing of the season is very important to maintain the scallop population. You can’t scallop until after the scallops have laid their eggs for the next season, otherwise the population will be depleted. Also, there is a strict limit for how many scallops a boat can take each day.
This past Sunday, we took a few hours snorkeling around finding scallops. I love seeing all the different animals in the ocean. It’s as if I’m spying on a completely new world. Fish darting around like they have somewhere important to be and the grass being tossed by the unseen force of water. I love how the water can be warm one second and cold the next, unlike the uniform temperature of the pool. The waves gently rolling your body back and forth like a hammock. Scalloping is fun because you can spend the day with 10 other people but have an almost meditative time alone while actually searching for scallops. There’s no way to talk while your face is in the water and usually everybody goes off in different directions anyways.
It was fun sharing an experience from my childhood with my boyfriend and friend Sarah. They had a great time in the ocean…not knowing exactly what the next part of the day entailed.
Shucking…so much fun. Shucking is when you open up the scallop, clean off the other parts and take out the meat that you will eventually cook and eat. Sorry to any of my vegetarian readers out there! I tried to spare the gory details.
It’s definitely not glorious but everybody pitches in and you spend an hour or so in an assembly line. Each person has a different job in the shucking process. Lastly, we cook some of the scallops on the grill and enjoy our day’s work!