National Geographic : 1972 Jul
a narrow neck of the island and was filled with exultation. The clam beds that the island's owner, Dr. Jim Gaston, had shown me when he agreed to lend it to me, were still thriving-a bountiful population of delicious steamers (Mya arenaria).I put the two boys to digging clams and gathering mussels, while the rest of us carried our camping gear over the jumble of seaside granite and pitched our four tents on one of our islet's few level places. With the two girls, I set off to find some plant foods to go with our clams and mussels. The girls were not impressed with the scenery of Rockystone Island. (That is not its real name, which I withhold for its own future protection.) Rockystone is nothing but a ring of sea washed granite surrounding a low crown of dark spruce trees. Its highest point is about 50 feet above sea level. When the mighty tide of Maine runs out, the size of the island almost doubles, to reveal more rocks pocketed with mud flats and tide pools. But Rocky stone's austere appearance belies its fruitfulness. Bayberry grew all about our campsite. Its fresh leaves are a fine herb to steam with seafood, and they make a fragrant, delicious tea that can perk up a meal no end. A few hundred yards around the shore we came upon a wild garden. Orach and sea blite grew so low on the beach that they would be lapped by the highest tides. Both plants are relatives of spinach and chard. Orach can be eaten raw in salads or cooked as greens; sea blite is best when rinsed of its saltiness and cooked. Just above these, in the wrack tossed up by storms, grew a patch of beach peas. The ripe peas, their crowded pods borne on thrust-up stalks, seemed to ask us to gather them. They look and taste like CANCERBOREALIS,FOURINCHESWIDE DRAWINGSBY STAFFARTIST LISA BIGANZOLI Jonah crab, a gift of the sea, can readily be netted at low tide. After boiling for ten minutes, suggests author Gibbons, serve on a bed of piping-hot wild greens.