A large brightly-coloured crab crouches near rocky ledge; as I sneak up to capture it on my camera I discover it can’t run away. It’s a beautiful skeleton, motionless in the sand.
Further on a single multi-coloured shoe has been discarded on the sand by a careless wave. The shoe appears to be expensive, with a patchwork of pink, blue and green criss-crossing the sides.
On a fairly regular basis a variety of shoes and sandals float in, prompting one artistic acquaintance to start a tree of “lost soles.” Passersby helpfully added their beach finds until over a hundred shoes decorated the tree. Realizing his creation was out of control, the artist dismantled his display.
All year around the wind brings an assortment of other items to the beaches; some are interesting, and some junk. Earlier in the year the beaches were buried under an unusually large mound of debris that winter storms had flung high along the eastern side of the island.
|Cleaning up the mess|
Picking up garbage became a never-ending job for home owners. A hard working group of city workers and volunteers were dispatched to dispose of the trash, making the beach usable again. No one knows where the excess garbage came from, but hopefully we won’t experience that again.
The one change I have noticed is I seldom find shells along this beach anymore. Why? Perhaps due to the increase in beachcombers. Or perhaps due to the 2008 removal many tons of sand from the sea bottom to refurbish the Cancun beaches devastated by Hurricane Wilma in 2005. It’s my personal “grumble.” The barges and their massive pumps worked for months stripping the sand, along with mollusks and other small sea creatures. Many of the shells for sale on the island have been imported from the Philippines, to fill the gap between supply and demand.
|Tiny fragile Sand Dollar|
Other items I have found along the edge of the surf include an assortment of sea glass, turtle bones, a large turtle skull, and several pieces of fan coral uprooted by storms and tossed on the beach.
I also happened upon a very small and delicate sea biscuit, or sand dollar. It was only two inches long, and extremely fragile leading me to wonder how survived its journey in the waves.
|Sea Hearts (Monkey Hearts) and Deer Eyes|
I now have several glass vases filled with Sea Hearts, and Deer Eyes; drift seeds from the Amazon River. My latest find is a grapefruit-sized seed pod called a Calabash.
More recently I have been picking up small, smooth flat stones in a variety of colours: tan, black, white.
Maybe I should create something with them? Or maybe not. I enjoy just looking at them.
|Garafon Park zip line braking system|
Recently I found several wooden items, with two strong fabric straps attached. We puzzled over that, finally sending a photo out by email asking friends if they could identify the items. John Stuckless said they were hand brakes for riders of the Garafon Park zip lines. Exactly right.
When I returned the items to a staff member, he was grateful, but puzzled. Why would the items float counter-clockwise against the current at south-point to the eastern side of the island? Lost items normally float with the current. He shrugged. I shrugged. No clue how that would happen. Two days later I found a fifth one.
|Drift seeds, sea glass, turtle shoulder bones, carved wood|
Every once in awhile I open a kitchen drawer, or storage box, and realize that – yet again – my collection of treasures is unmanageable. I ask friends: “Do you want a bag of Sea Hearts? Or Deer Eyes? Or sea glass?”
Thankfully our creative friends are always happy to have fresh supplies for their artistic endeavours.
Perhaps one person’s treasures can also be treasure for someone else?
Lynda & Lawrie
|Creative use for sandals found on the beaches in Kenya|
A creative solution to the multitude of discarded shoes was created by a group in Kenya – the group makes artistic creations from the shoes.