Coast along

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Beachcombing

Some people see more in a walk on the beach than others see on a trip around the world. That’s why beachcombing along a shoreline in the salt-laden air is at once gratifying and somehow quintessential to life. As the saying goes, “May you always have a shell in your pocket and sand between your toes.”

Seashells echoing the roar of the ocean, polished glass shards, pottery bits (hopefully eons old!), driftwood, sea sponges, shiny shark and ray egg casings, cuttlefish bones, iridescent abalone shells and fossilised shark teeth are all there for the taking along our West Coast shores.

As for seashells, you’re almost guaranteed to find turkey wings (Marginella Diadochus Marginellidae), sea urchins (Echinoidea), Paper Nautilus (Argonauta), prickly limpet (Pectunculus) and sea snails (Serrata).

Spots that are particularly interesting for poking around are the Elands Bay and Lamberts Bay shell middens that are several thousand years old: Elands Bay Cave, Elands Bay Open, Spring Cave, Pancho’s Kitchen Midden, Steenbokfontein Cave and Tortoise Cave[1].

Best time for a spot of beachcombing is after a storm has passed, an hour after high tide. Who knows? You just might chance upon ancient coins or Bronze Age tools! Jokes aside, even with your stash of seashells and driftwood you can get creative by displaying them in glass jars or shadow boxes. The crafty can make garden ornaments, wind chimes and mosaics.

And be a doll: while beachcombing do your bit to save our sea life by picking up some plastic. Every bit helps.

So what are you waiting for? Go seek and find.

[1] Antonieta Jerardino in sciencedirect.com