Thursday, August 14, 2014

Beach Beauties

My main goal this summer was to go to the beach and that is why we went to Charleston, SC.  We ended up staying at a condo on the Isle of Palms and every morning I woke up early and took a nice long walk on the beach.  And the beach never ceases to provide amazing things to photograph.  In the photo above you can see my very favorite beach beauty.  It is a whelk egg case that washed up on shore.  As you know if you follow this blog I loooooooooove repetition so it naturally follows that I love whelk egg cases.  Each "disc" contained a baby whelk.  You can often see the hole in each disc where the young whelk exited and if there isn't a hole, you can open it and find a baby whelk.

The photo below is a cannonball jellyfish.  When I googled it I learned several interesting facts about them.

1) To reproduce they shoot sperm out of their mouth which are caught by another jelly.
2) They are an important food source for the endangered leatherback sea turtle.
3) They don't commonly sting humans (although they contain toxins that can harm us).
4)  They are called "Jellyballs" in Georgia, where they are the third largest commercial fishing industry after shrimps and crabs.
5) The "Jellyballs" caught in Georgia are sent to Japan, China, and Thailand where they end up on the dinner table.

Fascinating, huh!?  My friend Melissa who lives in Charleston said they used to throw them at each other.

This boardwalk was at the tip of the island near our condo.  It was a beautiful, serene place to sit and listen to the marsh sounds while watching the sun rise.

And I can't help but mention that horseshoe crabs (shown below) are totally amazing creatures.  Did you know that the blood of the horseshoe crab is used in the pharmaceutical industry to test to make sure their intravenous drugs and vaccines are free from bacteria?  Every drug certified by the FDA must pass the horseshoe crab blood test.  Each year huge numbers of horseshoe crabs are harvested, bled, and then returned to the ocean.  And their blood is baby blue!  There is a good article here about this industry which states that "every single person in America who has ever had an injection has been protected because we harvest the blood of a forgettable sea creature with a hidden chemical superpower."  And it is suspected their populations are in decline due to this bleeding process.  So whenever I see one on the beach I am reminded of the debt we owe this beautiful, silent bottom dweller.

My last day on the beach there was an amazing sun rise.  There is something that lifts the soul when watching a sun rise at the beach while listening to the sound of the surf.  It reminds me of my smallness and my vastness at the same time.  And as I stand there I don't want to be any place in the world but right where I am.


Jodi Christiansen said...

Again, just lovely! I've never seen a whelk egg case, they're beautiful.

Amy said...

So beautiful! I hadn't caught up with your beach posts!!!! Love the photography AND the sketch of the whelk case especially!