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 °F from 7 to 9 AM, it felt much warmer than that.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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