During her husband’s military career, Sonny Ogden’s family was stationed in Micronesia’s Marshall Islands on Kwajalein Atoll for three years. Measured by lagoon size Kwajalein is the world’s largest coral atoll, its 97 islands surrounding an immense 2175 sq km body of water.  It is located in the middle of the South Pacific, 2136 miles from Hawaii, 2300 miles from New Guinea and 2300 miles from Tokyo. Living in Kwajalein was paradise, with fishing, snorkeling, sailing and diving in abundance.

Sonny had been told about a giant clam [Tridacna gigas], an endangered species, living on one of the coral heads in a nearby lagoon. On April 6, 1967, she planned to photograph the shell while on a dive trip but when her dive party arrived at the coral head, they discovered the shell lying on its side, dead. Greatly disappointed, they took pictures and that is when Sonny decided she wanted to collect the shell, a huge undertaking! The Giant Clam was located in 20 feet of water, so wearing scuba gear and utilizing air bags, they lifted the shell to the surface of the water. It took four people to lift the shell into their boat. Sonny was the proud owner of a very large Killer Clam, Sonny’s nickname for her new giant shell!

In 1969, when her family moved back to the USA, Sonny’s enormous clam, weighing 328 pounds, over 3 feet wide and 2 feet high, was packed in a crate and shipped back with their belongings to the United States , where they settled in Pompano Beach, Florida. Sonny exhibited her Killer Clam at the 2011 Broward Shell Show, winning first prize in the Scientific Self-Collected category.

Sonny’s Killer Clam is now the Broward Shell Show Mascot and will be displayed at our upcoming Broward Shell Show on January 21-22, 2012. Please join us at the show and take your picture with the Killer Clam!!

Pompano Beach Civic Center, 1801 Northeast 6th Street, Pompano Beach FL 33060

The Broward Shell Show is open to the public. Admission and parking are free. Hours: Saturday, 1/21 10am-6pm, Sunday, 1/22 10am-4pm.

For more information, call Nancy Galdo, 305-467-4412.

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