Morning at the beach

The second lowest tide of the month of May was around 8:30 AM on Tuesday the 28th. I was determined to return to the beach that day to collect sea glass. The advice is to go one hour before and stay one hour after low tide. I planned to be at the beach from 7:30 until 9:30. This meant that I would need to take the 6:54 train to arrive in time.

Luckily, I caught the train just before it arrived, at 6:53 AM. It was about 7:20 by the time I got to the beach. Sunrise was at 5:12 AM, so the sun was already pretty high above the horizon. Although the weather forecasts said it would be 55-57 Β°F from 7 to 9 AM, it felt much warmer than that.

Taken at 7:20 AM

The sun was shining down onto the beach, through a cloudless sky. There was little to no wind. The water was calm, as the tide was negative at the time. Seagulls flew overhead, dropping clams from above to crack the shells. They had various calls, and one of them sounded just like “hello.”

At low tide

The plastic bag that I had used to collect shells in last time had some sand in the bottom. I brought it with me, with the intention of returning the sand to the beach. However, as I was dumping the sand out, I was concerned that people might think I was littering on the beach. There was one site with tips on beachcombing, and the author said to bring a plastic bag to collect trash with. Since I had an extra bag, I decided that I might as well use this one for any garbage that I found. There was a scrap of plastic and a discarded paper cup nearby, so into the bag they went.

I took some more steps toward the pebbles that the waves had brought onto the sand. When I looked down, I saw something blue and translucent. There it was. My first sea glass find of the day was a blue piece! I wanted to find a blue piece because I think they’re the prettiest. Then I found a green piece.

The piece is cornflower blue, even though it doesn’t appear that color in the photo. It’s not pictured where I found it.

When it’s sunny, it’s easier to search for sea glass than when it’s overcast. However, reflection alone does not help because wet rocks and shells will also shine in the sunlight. I noticed that it helped to have the light shining down and reflecting towards me, so I walked up and down the beach.

When I wanted to wash the sand off of a piece of glass or my hands, I counted my steps as I walked down to the water, so I would know roughly where to return to. When the tide was lowest, I counted 50-60 steps. After it rose, it only took 30 paces for me to reach the water.

Negative low tide. The water flows in small streams between the raised portions.

I kept wondering if I was being greedy. I remembered in one of the Little House books, Laura and Mary had found pretty pebbles, but “Laura was a greedy little girl” and took too many so that her pocket ripped. I feared something similar happening to my bag, so I held it by the bottom, where the sea glass was. Meanwhile, I held the garbage bag by the handles. I tried to justify my taking the pieces I found because I took the time to search for them. But should I leave some behind for other people? I didn’t even comb one third of the beach, though, so there possibly is more sea glass along other parts of the shore.

Everything that I had found up till 11:00. They’re not that great, but I’m just collecting for fun.
I didn’t want to take the mouth of the bottle at first, but it was frosted and rounded all over, so I wonder how old it is. Even now the thought that it had once touched another person’s lips makes me feel strange.

I found quite a few pieces of trash on the beach. Some could argue that sea glass is trash as well. I felt okay picking them up with my fingers. However, I didn’t feel comfortable picking up a latex glove, so I used the interior of the bag to grab it. The interesting thing was that nearly every time after I picked up a piece of trash, I found a rare color piece of sea glass nearby. One could say that it’s good karma, but it also makes sense because the garbage and glass washed ashore together. However, helping to clean up the beach is nice act to the wildlife and to other people who visit the beach.

A tiny cobalt blue piece!

Tiny red and yellow fragments

After finding a few tiny pieces of red, blue, and even yellow sea glass, and a ton of greens, I no longer picked up most of the green pieces I saw. I also passed up several white and brown pieces if they did not seem ready enough, and only kept the ones that had unique shapes or were well frosted. I had read that seasoned collectors will even pass up a rare color if the piece isn’t frosted all over or has imperfections, such as chips and cracks. I stopped picking up green pieces unless they were good pieces, but I still ended up keeping many not so good ones. I’m thinking maybe I should bring the premature pieces back to the same beach, if I were ever to return.

The large blue piece I didn’t keep because it wasn’t “ready” yet.

I also found a large blue piece of glass, but it was not frosted enough, so I left it where it was. There was also a light blue shard that was quite a beautiful color, but it could be frosted more. I couldn’t decide what to do with it, but finally returned it to the sea. I dropped it in as the waves swallowed it and it was no longer visible.

I threw back the light blue piece.

I saw the tide rise, and it was 11:00 when decided to head back. However, as I was leaving, I spotted a beautifully frosted piece of sea glass. Then I spotted more larger, well frosted pieces among the larger pebbles higher up. Why had I been spending so much time at all the small pebbles? The rare colors were there but they were all very small pieces. I ended up not leaving the beach until 11:40.

I did a lot of walking, bending over, and squatting that day. My feet hurt and the smallest toes on both feet still felt numb two days later.

Original post 6/8/13


27 thoughts on “Morning at the beach

  1. That’s wonderful to go hunting for seaglass — some colors are quite valuable. Are you planning to make something with what you found, or have you not decided? Where is the beach?

    • I haven’t decided what to do with it yet. If there happen to be any jewelry grade pieces, I might eventually try to make something, though I haven’t yet learned how to wire wrap. The beach is in Massachusetts.

      • I’ve wire wrapped several pieces and they really are beautiful especially when the light hits them right. Check out some of the wire wrapping video’s at youtube. Some look tacky but it will give you the idea. A 16 guage wire is a good start. Not the real soft wire like i usually find in the stores. If it’s on a roll like a spool of thread it’s probably not the soft kind.
        Once you see the video’s you will see it’s much easier than it looks. The fancier wrapping looks good on some stones but i like a simple wrap for something like the sea glass. I think i still have some photo’s at xanga if you want to look.

  2. The sea glass is pretty. The pieces look like little gems. The jewellery that I’ve seen made out of it is kind of expensive. You must have quite a collection by now.
    It was over a hundred degrees here, today. Thank heaven for air conditioning!

  3. Pingback: Morning at the beach | Ky_CountryGirl

  4. I wish I lived by the sea! What beautiful pieces, nature’s little gift. I understand how you would feel greedy – during my last vacation, I’d found little baby catfish hiding in the washed up seaweed by the shore. They’re impossible to catch, but I caught six of them to bring home and throw in my tank. After I caught two of them I started to feel like I was robbing the lake of future fisheable catfish. I justified it with the thought that being so incredibly small, they’re most likely to get eaten anyway. They were so small I wouldn’t be surprised if the minnows swallowed them up.

      • As pets. Any fish will only grow as big as their surroundings allow them to, so if I were to place them in my 50 gal. tank, they would only grow to be a few inches. My boyfriends grandfather used to catch catfish and let them grow in the bathtub for future consumption, lol. Fed him through the winter, anyway.

      • I didn’t know that about fish. I had a pet betta fish for almost five years, and from what I’ve read about bettas, they don’t keep growing. Mine didn’t, but then again, he was in an half gallon bowl, which really was too small for him.

      • Well I meant the fish that are known to grow big, lol. Obviously to keep a catfish in a half gallon bowl might kill him before anything, it’s got to be reasonable for the breed. I love betas! I had one for 3 years, I didn’t know they could live so long as 5 years (: You must have taken great care of him.

  5. I grew up going to the beach often, a reefwalker I am, I love the ocean. I think it is really good how you planned the visit, checking and making sure of the low and incoming tide. That is veteran beachmanship πŸ™‚ beautiful beach shots. Xanga used to have a member, macphoto a pro photographer who resides in Boston, the first two shots reminds me of photos that she would compose in a similar fashion. I have never seen as much glass on the beach as they have there, I’m sure we have some beaches like that just never visited any here. It could be because ours are swim, surf and dive beaches. Nice post.

  6. Oh, beautiful pictures! I always liked to look for shiny rocks on the beach more than shells, maybe because the shells (especially at the beaches I went to) were small and not as beautiful. When I was a kid we went to Lake Erie because I have an aunt who lives there, and we collected quite a few rocks. A bunch my mother used as decorations in her garden. I have wanted to watch the sunrise over the beach, but maybe it will be better to do that in the winter when the sunrise is not so early and there are very few people there. Beaches in New Jersey are so packed right now and I don’t want to be around so many people.

    • Thank you! I suppose the polished rocks would look pretty as well. I was amazed by the quantity of shells the first time I went to that beach, because I had never seen so many before. I thought it would be neat to see the sunrise over the ocean, but it had already risen by the time I got there.

  7. I really enjoyed your post! πŸ™‚ The photos are so beautiful! The first two and the fourth one…I could stare at them forever! The sea glass is so amazing!
    I love the ocean/beach…and your words took me there for a mini vacation! Thank you!
    HUGS!!! πŸ™‚

  8. Pingback: Pescadero State Beach | Musings of a Quirky Introvert

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