Monday, January 10, 2011
Life's a Beach
On the same tone as my last post on sunsets, I was equally fascinated by the ever changing sand on the beach during my trip south. On the first day there, the beach was miles of what you see in the pictures above and below, miniaturized models of erosion. There were sea shells washed ashore all up and down the beach. In fact, the first morning when I woke up and took my first pre-sunrise walk along the beach, I ended up coming back to the condo with all my pockets stuffed full of all kinds of shells and sand dollars. I figured that it I kept up that pace, I would have a grocery shack full of shells by the end of my stay. But that was the last time I saw that many large shells in one place. I tried at low tide, just after high tide and both of those in combination with the eight feet waves crashing ashore on the last two days and never found very many. I would generally come back with just a handful of shells to add to my collection.
Back to the original topic of this post, the changing shoreline was fascinating. Sometimes there would be a ridge of sand pushed up with a steep slope into the ocean and an area behind where pools of ocean water would collect and edge out little mini rivers to drain back into the ocean. To walk that kind of beach, you could walk between the ridge and the pools during low tide and even during higher tides as long as you were prepared to jump across the pool of water should a large wave wash ashore. Soon, that ridge disappeared all together and was replaces with an expansive shallow sloped shoreline full of hard packed sand that was almost like walking on a paved road. Sometimes the sand would be fairly firm to walk on but would squeak when you walked on it giving me the impression I was treading on cheese curds. Other times the wet sand wouldn't stick to my shoes and still other times it stuck to my shoes like Edina clay.
One thing is for certain, that fine powdery white sand got into everything and I still have some of it that spilled onto the surface of my flat surface stove top from drying my shell collection in a colander that I haven't yet brought myself to sweep up. I should because I'm sure I could find more of it in the recesses of our luggage now back in the storage closet down in the basement if I really looked hard enough. It was a beautiful sand, except when on the last morning there before we started back when it jammed up the lens on my small point and shoot camera. When I got back to Iowa and successfully downloaded the pictures from the camera, I tried beating the lens against my palm to knock out the sand but with no success. Looking at a camera that was a little over a year old and now destined for the scrap heap, I took to hitting the lens on the edge of the desk. White sand started sprinkling the surface of the desk. I kept at it hitting it harder and harder until eventually the lens started functioning again and I ended up with a small pile of that white sand on the desk which I did sweep up. The camera appears to be no worse for the wear.
On a side note, along with shells that first morning on the beach, I found one of those things seen in the picture above. I thought it looked like what I thought a discarded breast implant might look had it washed ashore which is why I took the picture. I surmised it might actually be a jellyfish and soon saw dozens washed ashore that morning. They were so thick that once when I wasn't paying attention, I stepped on one in my shoes and almost went down on one knee when my foot slid out from underneath me. That shoe still has a distinct sea smell to it. I never saw another jellyfish my entire stay except for one freshly washed up one on my last morning walk that still had its tentacles intact.