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Saturday, July 28, 2007

Finding Sea Glass

I went to "the Cove" the other day, a north-facing inlet on the Pacific with tidepools, rock formations, cliffs, caves and pebbley-sand. These nautical environs provide the perfect conditions for finding sea glass.

Sea glass is trash-become-treasure, most of the time. Beaches that used to be dump sites, are next to dump sites, and beaches that are populated with visitors who leave behind bottles or other glass discards will wash sea glass onto shore. Here's why - the glass is pulled into the ocean, then serves a term underwater exposed to the tide, the rocks, salt...eroding it's way to beauty. The glass, broken from the beginning or broken in the ocean, becomes smooth, the scratches on the glass lend a foggy, rustic appearance. The sea glass I have found is aesthetically pleasing enough to wear dangling from my ears or around my neck as jewelry. (I like sea glass more than pearls - really!)

I originally went to the cove with some girlfriends and our kids to take pictures. I'd like my kids to know that capturing their childhood was important, and I like to make it fun - so we have pictures of them holding hermit crabs, eyeing garibaldis (those are fish), giggling as the waves chase them, and picking up my habit of picking up sea glass.

My daughter Zoe discovered the first piece, lime green. Thereafter I found clear and brown, and I was hoping for blue, but no luck. Our normal hunting for sea shells and and dollars fell by the way side as we let the sand slip between our fingers looking for glass remnants like miners panning for gold.

Sometimes the pieces are small, sometimes they are a large as your hand, but it's always a thrill to find some. There are a few things you can do to increase your chances of finding sea glass...

Check the paper for high and low tides and plan your beach trip accordingly.
Beaches, as aforementioned, next to or that used to be dump sites are prime spots.
Beaches that have rocky terrain aide in breaking and "buffering" the sea glass.
Beaches with coarse grain sand, not the fine, sugary sand, usually have more sea glass.
Check Coastal Living magazine (spring and summer issues) or their website, more than once I have found a list of beaches reputable for sea glass put together by their editors.
The convention and visitors bureau in beach cities will sometimes mail out guides and brochures to prospective tourists detailing their recreational areas and activities. More often than not these brochures advertise what makes their beaches special - if sea glass is a local perk, they'll tell you. Or, ask someone who lives near the beach where to look for sea glass. You might even find "sea glass" in or near a river or lake. You never know, and that's what makes it so fun!
It's no fun, however, to step on a piece of "unfinished" (read: sharp) sea glass, so I wear my flip-flops. You should too.
Sea glass is a tangible memory, that's what I like best about it. The colors, the shapes, the opportunities, all unexpected and random. Hunting for it is a child-like hobby, finding it is exhilirating, but keeping it, displaying it, and looking at it makes sea glass a memory.

Can't have enough sea glass.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nice work explaining sea glass to your audience. I noted your comment about the Coastal Living articles, some I've contributed to in the past. For the August issue of Martha Stewart Living I provided a TOP 5 Sea Glass Beaches along with another 20 or so. For sea glass collectors and artists there is now an organization that holds an annual festival see Best of luck, if you want to swap books some time let me know.
-Richard LaMotte (Pure Sea Glass0