I dislike this blue-black strip, sometimes as wide as a street; it may be dry on top, but it could be up to a foot deep, and wet, with no indication to warn me of random deep spots. My feet sink, releasing a foul odor. Flies and sometimes wasps buzz around me; the wasps follow me until I reach bare stones again. And it stinks; did I say that? It stinks of rotting vegetation, and sometimes of unidentifiable putrid carcases. I may have stepped onto or into one.
I reach the stones, rolling underfoot, but at least dry and clean. Then there's a second, narrow, line of dead seaweeds and other detritus, the leftovers of the latest high tide. That's fine; it smells of sea; if it's wet and slippery, I can just step over it.
Finally, the beach. If the tide is low, I can start exploring.
Last visit, the rising tide forced me back to the stretch between the dead seaweed belts. And I found it full of interest.
|Eagle feathers. Everywhere, there are feathers.|
|Probably a gull feather.|
|Another feather. There are always more feathers.|
|A scrap of red coralline seaweed.|
|Jingle shell. This clam look-alike, or "rock oyster" (but it's not an oyster, either) has a hole in the lower shell. Byssal threads grow through this opening to attach the mollusk to a rock.|
|The lower (jingle) shell is thin and shiny. Tied with other jingles, it makes a nice, jingly wind chime.|
|Purple shore crab molt. At this level of the intertidal zone, there are no live crabs to be found, but their leftovers are scattered everywhere.|
|Another one, a male.|
|Tunnels in a strip of bark.|
|More tunnels, in a small piece of driftwood.|
|Another feather. The pale seaweed has been sun-bleached before it dried.|
|Two feathers, and dried eelgrass, toasted to blue-black. Sea lettuce retains its green colour until it disintegrates.|
|Bedraggled feather, wrapped in dried sea lettuce.|
|A rocky fish.|
|And there's always, always styrofoam. I filled my bag with a fair collection of it, a plastic water bottle, and a beer can. At least, I get a refund on the beer can.|
And sho' 'nuff, there was a rotting carcasse! In the next post.