Saturday, August 09, 2008

What a difference a shoe makes!

A great expanse of knee-deep water.

I can't wear those floppy thong slippers that everybody else seems to use all summer. Never have been able to. They hurt my toes, flop all over the place and trip me up. And I can't wear the clunky-looking rubber clogs that every store has a rack of these days; the heel slopes back, and I end up with a backache. So I've been wearing cloth shoes for the beach and trying to stay out of the water as much as possible.

Laurie, in boots, looking over someone else's thong flip-flops.

Laurie always wears good, sturdy, sensible boots, with wool socks. Hiking boots of suede or leather, not rubber boots. He's very careful with them. So he stays out of water, too.

That has changed. Recently, as a result of a fall on the rocks at White Rock, he ended up with scraped and sprained ankles. His feet were swollen, and he could no longer tolerate the boots. He tried on those clogs and -- waddya know! -- loved them.

And last month I found, at Mark's Work Wearhouse, a pair of ordinary-looking summer shoes, with the heel that I like, but made of rubber. And they fit, and are comfortable. I've been wearing them ever since, for street and beach.

All that to say that the other day, when we found the tide high at Boundary Bay, we waded right in, and joined in with all the other revellers. Nice!

The building supervisors wear white.

The beach looks different underwater.

Seaweeds, no longer lying in an untidy mass.

Shallow water, with patterns of light. And lugworm egg case.

The sandy areas were dotted with these lugworm egg cases, swaying back and forth in the waves. We saw these here last year, about the same time. I checked, and it was sometime in the last week of July; I wrote about them on August 1st and 2nd. Hugh has another photograph, from this year.

I found one in inch-deep water that looked torn and ragged, so I didn't feel guilty about damaging it. I tried to dig its jelly "root" out from the sand, but it tore off. Digging deeper, I just came up with handfuls of sand, nothing more. I'm wondering just what is holding them down, and how deep it goes. (And where it goes to when I dig.)

They're beautiful, in their own way; the egg cases lying in the shallowest water were coated with sandy grains that glinted gold in the sunlight.

Abarenicola pacifica egg case, with lugworm poop, and snail trails.

As the waves rolled in around our knees, bits of eelgrass floated by; I grabbed at one with a blob of yellow stuff on it. Luckily, I had remembered to bring containers; I broke off the piece of eelgrass and shoved it in a pill bottle full of seawater.

At home, I poured it out into a bowl. Here it is, greatly enlarged (the eelgrass is really about 1/2 cm. wide):

It's a band of clear jelly, striped with yellow dots, firmly glued to the eelgrass, curled, but not joined in a ring. The jelly is quite firm; I could pull at it with a hook to spread the strip out, without it tearing. I think it's an egg strip, probably belonging to one of the snails, or a sea slug. (And yes, I do feel guilty about spoiling the batch. Unless it's one of the invasive Batillaria, in which case: good!)

Here are the "eggs" blown up even more:

Anyone know what these are?


  1. I spent more time than I should have trying to id those eggs, but no joy. Gastropod sp.

    About footwear: When I worked as an interpreter at Boundary Bay I clumped around in gumboots on public low tide programs while the public happily ditched their shoes and went barefoot. No one ever got hurt. Since then our family has always waded shoeless, several times a summer, again with no misadventures, until recently when my wife bought the kids those rubber clog-things of which you write and my son wore a pair out onto the mud. He soon found the intra-clog ooziness too much to bear, and took them off. Half a mile out, he cut his foot on a clam shell and I had to carry him back to shore.

    So there remains much to learn about Boundary Bay, about mollusc eggs and about footwear.

    (And thanks for the link!)

  2. Thanks, Hugh. For some of the things we find, I think we need a salt-water aquarium so we can watch them as they turn into something recognizable.

    Re the cut foot: doesn't it always happen that way? He never would have cut his foot if he'd just plain been barefoot. But having shoes and ditching them is almost a guarantee of trouble. (Well, not quite. Sometimes it seems that way, though.)

    I don't mind going barefoot; I do at home, even walking around outside. But the rocks between the sand and the beach are pretty sharp.

  3. Hi Weeta, I am here catching up and reading your wonderful blog...I agree about the shoes in summer...I have a pair of cloth type sandals I wear in the water but they do make really good water shoes now and I should look at some....I loved the photos of Boundary Bay. Nice to see your blog again.


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