A Southwest Washington game warden rescued a hypothermic pair of commercial razor clammers on the Willapa Spits late yesterday after their boat became disabled and one had begun to write a goodbye note to his girlfriend.
WDFW says that Sergeant Todd Dielman was heading home from working a morning recreational razor clam dig when he heard a vessel-in-distress call issued by Pacific County Dispatch.
The two clammers were said to be both wet and cold, and the weather was worsening as the wind and rain picked up and the tide came in and covered the spits. According to WDFW, due to hypothermia in their hands the men’s phones somehow wouldn’t recognize their thumbprints but they were able to use the Siri function on the devices to call 911 and kickstart a rescue.
However, the call dropped and the only thing known about their location was that they were on the spits, a series of sandbars at the mouth of Willapa Bay only accessible by boat and dangerous waters for any craft.
“Sgt. Dielman is familiar with this area of Willapa Bay. He ran to Nahcotta with his small rigid hull inflatable vessel and headed out to look for the men,” reported WDFW Police this afternoon.
The U.S. Coast Guard and Pacific County were eventually able to get a better bearing on their location and Dielman soon spotted the men and their boat, tied up to a crab pot on the bay south of Tokeland.
Sea conditions at that point were reported as a 4- to 5-foot wind chop with 20 knot winds.
Fortunately, Dielman was able to get a rope to their boat and tow them north to the Tokeland Marina and safety.
“Once at the dock both men thanked Sgt. Dielman. One of the men fearing the worst, told him he had started to write a note to his girlfriend in case he never saw her again,” WDFW Police reported. “. We are extremely thankful the men made it back safely instead and that they knew when it was time to ask for help.”
Where the recreational razor clam season runs from fall to spring, the commercial fishery is April 1-June 14 in 2023. The spits are only open to commercial clamming.