Saturday, December 20, 2008

Naked Beach

This weekend the moon obliged with a special trick. December 12 marked a Perigean Tide; when the moon is at its perigee (or closest to the Earth), and the gravitational forces of the sun and moon complement each other. Creating the greatest tidal range possible, Perigean high tides combined with strong winds can result in flooding. But the low tides are bewitching - - - pulling the ocean away from the beach's edge so its shells, seaglass, bits of coral and reef life are casually revealed. This oceanic striptease makes the alluring treasures all the more tantalizing.

Here in Puerto Rico, many beaches have long been considered mecca for seaglass hunters, and I am lucky enough to live in proximity to some of the best. Seaglass from the Western side of the island is prized not only for its especially well worn shapes and gem-like colors, but its age and links to history. Legends of pirates and sunken ships abound.

Customarily, a low tide brings out droves of seaglass hunters: both casual beachcombers and professional "pickers". On Saturday, thanks to a driving rain, my favorite stretch of seaglass gathering beach was blissfully vacant. Leaving me to merrily splash about in a shallow, slightly murky pool of swirling ebbing salt water. Squinting for the tell-tale glint of surface frosting or a bright flash of color against the beige sand and dark grey pebbles. Intent on the mission, dripping wet, pockets full.


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