The Clam Man

Like many Westporters who love Compo Beach, Irene Penny is fascinated by a man she sees often, clamming by the shore.

Irene is a talented photographer. The other day she asked if she could take some shots. He said people ask that a lot.

They got to talking. Irene learned his name is John.

Clam Man 3 - Irene Penny

He was digging for clams for a few retired friends. He does it for exercise, so he doesn’t have to go to the gym. He used to pour concrete foundations.

Clam Man - Irene Penny

John said nobody else goes out there anymore. They just buy their cherrystone clams from the grocery store.

(Photos/Irene Penny)

(Photos/Irene Penny)

9 responses to “The Clam Man


    This might be the clue as to why no one else clams there.

  2. Back in the late 60’s we’d go float our sunfish across the channel at low tide and feel around with our feet, throwing the round clams we’d find into the foot-well. You could also go to south beach and toss a rock and see the long-necks (steamers) squirt. We’d dig them out and have a feast at home.

    My dad (now 94) tells the story of using a friends small boat to go clamming. Hanging onto the gunwale of the boat he felt a hard object with his foot, then pulled it up, and it was a propeller. He looked at the outboard motor, and dang if it wasn’t missing its prop!

  3. Nancy Powers Conklin

    Not true! My husband and Rob Schmidt, Staples Class of 70, go out there all the time. They go in summer and in the winter. We never buy clams! Neither Rob nor my husband would ever cave to that.

  4. Recreational shellfishing is very active in town! Check out the town site and download an application! Come join the fun and harvest your own shellfish:

  5. The area off the main beach of Compo is open to clammers this time of year. It is closed during the summer season.

  6. Is it really safe to eat the clams from this area?

  7. Susan Schaefer

    Does he have a shellfishing license? When you receive your license from Town Hall, the town provides a map of when & where you can take clams safely.