Sunday 10th March saw the lowest tide of the year, the signal for some islanders to take to the seashore in search of their favourite mollusc, the ormer. A local speciality, the green ormer is a species of abalone and is only found in the wild around the Channel Islands and the adjacent coast of France. Ormers feed by grazing on seaweed and live in rocky areas where they typically cling to the underside of rocks and boulders. On the lowest tides of the year they can be found on the very edge of the sea by turning over boulders and prising them off the rocks.
In Sark, as in the other Islands, ormering is regulated by laws which protect the smaller ormers and only allow those that are large enough to be collected on a few days a year and never by divers or snorkelers. Traditionally ormers are casseroled with bacon, onions and herbs at a low heat for a very long time until the large pieces of flesh are tender. Favourite ormering spots in Sark include Grande Grêve, L’Eperquerie and outside Creux Habour although the keenest gatherers keep their best spots a closely guarded secret.