Beachcombing Natural Treasures Along The Indian Ocean
After arriving in Port Elizabeth under the cover of darkness the night before, Bob and I were anxious to do a bit of exploring after breakfast the next morning. A dull grey sky hung low over the coast as we began beachcombing for natural treasures along the Indian Ocean.
From our hotel, we could see a lengthy boardwalk through the sand dunes. It was dotted with umbrella-toting strollers fending off a light rain.
The allure of feeling the sand between our toes and breathing the tangy salt air meant we did not delay.
With full bellies, Bob and I set off on the boardwalk before gaining access to the beach.
The high-tide line was littered with tons of seaweed.
I was in awe of the vibrant colours and incredibly varied structures. It gave me insight into the underwater paradise seen by those who do snorkeling or diving.
I can only imagine how spectacular the underwater landscape is with plants such as this Grape Tongue undulating gracefully in the current.
In such varied hues, our discoveries delighted the child in me.
I am no expert on flora or fauna let alone that which washes up along the Indian Ocean, so I have no idea the name of this green jelly-like mass with spherical nodules.
Other than a few fishermen scattered along the edge of the water, Bob and I had left most of the other beach goers behind us.
When beachcombing, no matter what part of the world we’re in, I always am on the lookout for a mermaid’s purse, otherwise known as a shark’s egg sac.
As it turned out, I was lucky enough to find a mermaid’s purse partially hidden underneath some seaweed.
We really took our time and examined many fascinating and unique pieces of plant matter.
Some specimens intrigued and confused us.
Were they flora or fauna?
Using an app on our cellphone, we learned that this is a type of coralline algae. The wonders of nature never cease. Of equal interest was the half-buried shell.
In fact, we were delighted to find a couple of abandoned sea snail shells.
Called South African Turban Shells, they had once been the beautiful homes of marine molluscs.
When searching for treasures, I leave no stone unturned, as the saying goes. I found all manner of specimens, all of which were left exactly where I found them.
The onshore breeze carried bits of salt spray as the waves refreshed the tidal pools.
One clump of seaweed did a good job of hiding a sand dollar.
With the endless clumps of debris littering the beach, no one was more surprised than I was
that I had found a shark’s egg sac. Even though it was a small one, I was happy.
As we made our way back to the hotel, Bob and I admired this huge Cape Aloe plant knowing that our drive to Mossel Bay would be along the Garden Route. We could hardly wait to see the wondrous display of wildflowers along that stretch of the highway.