Beachcombing natural treasures along the Indian Ocean

Beachcombing natural treasures along the Indian Ocean

indian ocean, port elizabeth, south africa

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.

beach and boardwalk, port elizabeth, south africa

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.

beach and boardwalk, port elizabeth, south africa

The allure of feeling the sand between our toes and breathing the tangy salt air meant we did not delay.

bob on the boardwalk, port elizabeth, south africa

With full bellies, Bob and I set off on the boardwalk before gaining access to the beach.

colourful seaweed, port elizabeth, south africa

The high-tide line was littered with tons of seaweed.

colourful seaweed, port elizabeth, south africa

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.

grape tongue seaweed, port elizabeth, south africa

I can only imagine how spectacular the underwater landscape is with plants such as this Grape Tongue undulating gracefully in the current.

orange seaweed, port elizabeth, south africa

In such varied hues, our discoveries delighted the child in me.

pale green flora or fauna on the beach, port elizabeth, south africa

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.

fishermen, indian ocean, port elizabeth, south africa

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.

bob on the beach, indian ocean, port elizabeth, south africa

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.

seaweed with nodules, port elizabeth, south africa

We really took our time and examined many fascinating and unique pieces of plant matter.

white coralline algae, port elizabeth, south africa

Some specimens intrigued and confused us.

pink coralline algae, port elizabeth, south africa

Were they flora or fauna?

pink and white coralline algae, port elizabeth, south africa

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.

south african turban shell, on the beach, port elizabeth, south africa

In fact, we were delighted to find a couple of abandoned sea snail shells.

south african turban shell, on the beach, port elizabeth, south africa

Called South African Turban Shells, they had once been the beautiful homes of marine molluscs.

unknown orange flora or fauna, on the beach , port elizabeth, south africa

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.

seashore, indian ocean, port elizabeth, south africa

The onshore breeze carried bits of salt spray as the waves refreshed the tidal pools.

a sand dollar in seaweed, port elizabeth, south africa

One clump of seaweed did a good job of hiding a sand dollar.

the beach, indian ocean, port elizabeth, south africa

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.

cape aloe, port elizabeth, south africa

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.

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