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Gifts from the sea

A couple nights ago, I dreamt I was back on the beach collecting sea beans. If you know me, you've probably heard me go on about sea beans. I think they're amazing and such a great example of ocean currents and nature's proliferation.

©EM Collins 2000

A tree grows in the Amazon and its seeds and pods fall to the floor of the forest. Rain washes them out into the ocean and they take a ride on the ocean's currents eventually washing them up on beaches from Florida to Cornwall and beyond. And I stumble upon these gifts.

During the time I lived in Florida I found hundreds of sea beans and still have a number of them around. They're just cool.

This is one is called a sea biscuit bean (right) - bearing a resemblance to the animal sea biscuit - and is native to Brazil. It came a long way to be tangled in the dry seaweed near my house in FL. Other great things would come ashore, sea turtles in huge numbers would nest nearby.

These gifts are both part of something called the blue brigade that came ashore at about the same time - blue bottles and (above) a by-the-sea sailor, as well as blue buttons and a wonderful nudibranch called a blue glaucous!

For a time, I collected algae for NOAA as part of a national inventory. Each week it was a treasure hunt looking through the microscope to see what was living in the water off our coast. More cool stuff.....mostly good!

The ocean always left gifts along the beach. You never knew what you would day there were piles of sea urchin tests. Some so perfect and beautiful.

This is another interesting gift that the ocean leaves on the beach called a Spirula spirula. It's the internal shell of a deep-sea squid. After the squid dies and disintegrates, the chambered shell floats to the surface and washes ashore.

I don't remember what this is, but it was hard to miss :) Of all of the things the ocean has given me, perhaps the biggest thing is inspiration. I need to go to the beach and be inspired.

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