Still miffed from my late bad luck at catching fish, I decided that a different kind of wild food was in order. Thus we headed off past Port Chalmers (with impressive cruise ship in port!) and along the winding Aramoana Rd.
We headed out to the tide line and a patch of grass-like seaweed. Cesco, with his waders, was in charge of searching in the water, while I stayed above the water line.
Running my fingers through the sand soon revealed dozens of good-sized cockles.
The daily bag limit for cockles is 150 per person, which was more than enough for us. After gathering a bag full, we still had some time before Dad was scheduled to come by and pick us up.
While Cesco guarded our booty, I decided to poke around. There was a small narrow island surrounded by rocks, which I lifted to discover masses of purple shore crabs and pretty blue half-crabs. Also present were some large chitons and tiny fish.
I also noted that as I approached the island, a pair of black oystercatchers became quite agitated. Since there was only a tiny amount of dry land nearby, this gave away the game a little, and I soon located the reason for their distress.
I decided not to bother the poor creatures any more and retreated. I suppose this also explains the many oystercatchers who bothered us during our Boxing Day walk.
Once home, we admired our haul.
Since we’d received a portable fish smoker for Christmas, we decided to experiment. After some debate, we laid the live unopened shellfish in the smoker and lit it up. This worked splendidly and our load of manuka-smoked cockles came out toasty and flavoursome. For our second round, we decided to use pohutakawa chips and the result was even better! We called in a friend to confirm our delicious findings, and the pile of smoked shellfish quickly dwindled as our waistlines expanded. Alas, I could not get a photo of the finished product as my phone camera refused to focus.
Appetites finally sated, we declared our experiment a success.