Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Scallops Aplenty!

There is a bumper crop of scallops this year along the coast of Keaton Beach and Dekle Beach. Lots of boats line the shoreline in search of the sweet bay scallops. If you haven't yet made the trip, just come on down, launch your boat at the Keaton Beach Public Boat Ramp or marina, and anchor up where you see groups of boats just off the coast. At low tide, you can find the scallops in waist deep water. Just bend over and pick them up if you don't have snorkeling gear or don't want to snorkel. The water is clear and the scallops are easy to find. Be sure and have an active salt water license though, as you will likely get checked by the marine patrol. Follow safe boating habits and stay close to your boat when in the water. Fly your diver's flag so other boaters will know someone is in the water. When moving your boat in an area where others are scalloping, drive slowly and keep your eyes on the water around you to make sure you see any divers that have strayed too far from their boats. Bring your family or friends along and experience one of the greatest saltwater pleasures that our Nature Coast has to offer. Happy diving!

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Scallop Season is Here!

Scallop Season begins July 1 and runs through September 10. Keaton Beach and Dekle Beach are popular areas for harvesting scallops, which during normal seasons can be found in abundance in the shallow grass flats along the coast. Snorkeling and diving for scallops is a fun activity for the entire family. Your scalloping equipment should include a mask, snorkel, fins or wading shoes, and a mesh bag to hold your scallops. The limit is 2 gallons per person and 10 gallons per boat of whole scallops in the shell; or 1 pint per person and 1/2 gallon per boat of scallop meat. Take appropriately-sized containers on the boat so you can measure your harvest. If you don't want to dive deep, it's best to do your scalloping during lower tides. There will be lots of boats in the water, so always fly your dive flag (required) to let other boaters know there are people in the water. And be on the lookout for divers when you are operating your boat. Always use safe boating habits. Also, use precautions when cleaning your scallops on the boat. Be sure to go out to deeper water away from the scalloping crowd. Please don't throw the shells back into the water in an area where people are in the water, as the refuse can attract fish, thus sharks. To clean scallops, you will need a scallop knife especially designed for cleaning scallops; or you can use a teaspoon. Hold the deeper side of the scallop in your palm with the shallow side up. Insert the knife or teaspoon into the slit at one side near the hinged part of the shell. Pry the shell slightly apart and scrape the scallop muscle loose from inside the top shell. Open it all the way and remove the guts, then scrape the scallop from the bottom shell. There are a multitude of scallop recipes from linguini alfredo, to white lasagne, to baked in a half shell w/butter & parmesan, to broiled, or simply fried. These sweet morsels are, without a doubt, my very favorite seafood to prepare. So have fun this summer and experience the fun and adventure of snorkeling and diving for delicious bay scallops. Enjoy Scallop Season at Keaton Beach!!!