After we waved the Hunters off, Nick and I took a walk to blow cobwebs away. We went down La Voie Vert, a wide foot/cycle path which has been routed along the old railway track. It takes us past a small industrial complex, some established houses and some new residential settlements. One house in particular grabbed our attention, about which more in a later post. We arrived at the beach road and continued along the wall above the shore and round to the harbour. The extent of the oyster beds exposed indicated a good low spring tide, with pecheurs a pied very much in evidence in the harbour.
It was bitterly cold but there were several scallop fishers in their chest wading gear scooping their nets around in the receding seawater. A lone hang-glider attracted our attention as he swung back and forth across the oyster park and adjacent sand flats.
We walked on round and along the harbour wall to get a better view of the figures scalloping between the lighthouse and Ile Tatihou. As we walked Nick glanced down and spotted a couple plodding around in the mud and drainage channels immediately below us and adjacent to the harbour inner wall.
As we watched we saw them bend to pick up……….. King Scallops – Pecten maximus. There were some dense scatters of single shells but every now and then you could see them pick up the living article. They worked their way back and forth along the wall margin, placing the scallops in their tucker bags or throwing them to the edge to gather up later. Whilst we watched the woman must have found at least 100.
In the past Nick and I have waded around at the water’s edge and just below on those flats, finding stray specimens but we have never taken such a bountiful haul. This is an expedition we will have to try for ourselves.