Friday, May 30, 2014

African Adventures volume 2. Shell collecting and Trash collecting

We have been getting up early to walk on the beach while the tide is out. There are amazing things to be seen in the rock tidal pools that line the beach at that time of day.

The water is crystal clear and I’ve seen many varieties of fish swimming in the pools. My favorite place to watch fish is behind a giant rock formation that I call the natural aquarium. There are at least a dozen species of fish that congregate in the shade behind the giant rock. I’ve seen striped fish, spotted ones, yellow and black ones. I’m too lazy to research what they are but they are beautiful.

When we first started walking I noticed a fair amount of what I call dangerous trash. Broken bottles and fish hooks and fishing line kept popping up as I searched for shells. There is a crew that comes to the beach daily to pick up trash but they often miss stuff that is out in the surf.

The first day we arrived here Rog started picking up the rusty hooks and carrying them up to the trash cans that line the sidewalk. I didn’t really want to do that. Maybe I’m not naturally civic minded but I didn’t want the hassle of having to pick up other peoples trash.

After a couple of days I had a realization. I decided that if I was going to collect beautiful shells from the beach, the least I could do is remove a little trash. I know most of you are aware of how polluted the ocean is becoming so I won’t get into that. I’ll just say that it feels good to my little part even if it’s only a small thing.

Yesterday I was cowrie hunting and I saw a dip in the water where there were thousands of bits of shells and debris. I saw a cowrie at the bottom and practically dived in fully clothed to get it. It was such a rush as I grabbed it and fished it out of the sea.

Rog and I started darting in, grabbing handfuls of shells and carrying them out of the surf so we could look through them. We managed to find eleven cowries, all different from each other.

In our searching, we also found bits of plastic, sharp glass, rusty nails and the like and I started a second bag for trash. Now it’s become something that I do automatically.

This morning we found a beautiful little statue of the Hindu god, Ganesha. (He is the remover of obstacles and the patron of arts and sciences) He is now sitting in our apartment along with our cowries and other shells. Rog is now collecting lead fishing sinkers as well. They come in all different shapes and sizes and are surprisingly decorative.

Rog and I are definitely becoming beach combers. You never know what is going to wash up on shore. It’s a great adventure and I’m glad I’m here to be a part of it.

Cheers from South Africa

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