Beach Treasures

What an exciting week on the beach! The weather has been clear and crisp and lots of beach combing and treasures were discovered. Before becoming a full time beach bum I always thought of beach combing as simply a leisurely walk on the shore looking for a few cool seashells (broken or not) to keep for memory sake. My definition has certainly changed over the year and a half of living here.

Sunset in Washington

I’ll never forget the first time we headed to the beach after a storm. The clouds and wind provided a gloomy aura as we drove the Jeep through the sandy shore of scattered trees, debris and shells. We slowly drove Northward and discovered a trail in the rain soaked sand. The trail was an odd shape, definitely not any kind of vehicle. It veered left, then right and continued northward. We followed this odd looking trail for several miles and continued to guess what kind of animal, vehicle or thing could make such a long and strange trail. In the distance we saw a person…a young person…bundled up like an Eskimo…and this little person was dragging something behind them. Could this be our mystery trail maker?

As we approached the little Eskimo on the beach we found a young boy, not more than 12 or 13, who was dragging a net which was filled with a large, beautiful, green glass float. We had found our trail maker! He had walked for miles and miles while dragging the float which was entwined in at least 10 to 12 feet of heavy, wet, fishing net. The float must of been at least a foot or more in diameter. By the time we had reached him he was heading for the dunes and probably home to boast of his discovery. I know that I’ll never forget the vision of this little boy and his determination.

While we haven’t found a glass float yet we have discovered the joy of spending time together while searching the shore and upper dunes for treasures. Our treasures are sand dollars and fishing net floats (buoys). I don’t really know the story of why a majority of beach dwellers collect these colorful floats but many do and they proudly display them outside their homes for those passing by to see. It is hard to describe the excitement that I experienced when we found our first float. A round, black, large float covered in barnacles had just washed ashore. David whipped the Jeep around and I jumped out into the pouring rain, blustery wind and cold surf to grab it before the waves reclaimed it as their own. We proudly displayed our float on our back deck and the rest, they say, is history.

Our collection of floats has grown by a dozen just this week. Each is a different size, shape and color which just adds to the artistry of our display. As I proudly hang them on our deck I often wonder about where they have been. What have they encountered along their journey? Our collection includes rope found on the beach which strings them together. Pieces of unique driftwood also grace our nautical display area.

I’m not sure why; however our sand dollar collection hasn’t grown as fast this season as last. We did find a nice colony of sand dollars yesterday as well as some very nice clam shells. We’ve collected so many shells over our time here that we are very selective and only keep the best of the best. I recently found a discarded rusty 3-tier vegetable hanging basket and hung it on our deck and filled it with shells. The basket has come in handy – when we come home from the beach we just toss shells into the baskets for the rain to wash and sun to bleach.

We are still searching for our first glass float; however enjoying the journey along the way. If a little Eskimo boy has the determination to walk for miles on end in stormy weather then we can surely wait for our float to come in!  We’d love to hear what your favorite beach treasure and/or discovery is.

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