We live on the ocean. I have never lived on the ocean before and many of the things that I now associate with the Pacific came as a surprise to me.
The never ending ebbing beach. Yes, we have tides and undertows and natural breakwaters, but what I have seen in my year and half by the sea is that the beach changes and morphs daily. I tell our guests to be aware of the sand and the beach. Notice where the surf hits and how high the beach is from the waves….because tomorrow it will be different. Between June and November we loose about half the beach’s sand...it is pulled out to sea. From November until the following June, it all comes back.
Seashells. No, not the seashells surprise me; it is the lack of seashells that surprise me. You have to search long and far to come up with a pocket full of shells...no matter what time of year. The good thing about this is that the sand is fine, smooth and easy to walk on.
The color of the water changes as much as the ebb and flow of the beach’s sand. One day it is brilliant turquoise and the next it is dark navy. I am learning the color is dependent upon the weather. Be it here or 300 miles from us, all weather effects the colors we see when we look at the ocean. The colors can change from hour to hour also, depending upon the strength and the position of the sun.
The sea creatures and fish are miraculous. Of course when the whales are migrating it is a sight like no other. But when we see a school of dolphins playing down below, or hear sea-rays flapping and flying through the air it is dreamlike. Sometimes there are 100’s of silver fish that take turns leaping out of the water while they travel north of south. Maurice tells me there is a predator in the water and they are leaping out to try to avoid being eaten.
Rainbows. Sometimes, when the sun is just right, and the waves are breaking, just before they hit shore, you can see rainbows in the tide. Vibrant colors dancing on top of the surf.
Salt. Every single things is covered in salt. ALWAYS!! I have sanded metal objects that sit in our house and sprayed them with lacquer to keep them from rusting. There is a salt film on everything we own. To keep the windows clear is a constant battle. The mist from the sea is invisible, but always there. We are 50 meters above the sea. I cannot imagine how much worse it would be if we were at sea level.
The waves never end. The intensity changes, but they never stop. I know this is a given, but to watch them is almost hypnotic. Sometimes gentle and subtle and other times they hit the beach and the cliff below us so strongly that our windows…bathed in salt...actually shake.
The crabs on the beach are Retro’s toys. He chases them and plays with them. I revel in their numbers. It is not that I view the crabs themselves but when the surfs recedes there are 100’s of bubbles in the wet sand, at the base of which is a buried crab.
The sunsets. No matter what time of year the sun sets right in front of us, into the oean. The ocean swallows it up and you can almost hear the water sizzle as it goes down.
All these things now define “seaside” to me. The surf, the sand, the salt, the fish, the crabs, the waves, the colors. BUT, think...what is missing? Really think about the times you have been to the ocean, or by the sea, what is missing in my observations?
I did not realize the answer either until about two weeks ago. When you are at the ocean there are always seagulls. Have you ever been by the sea and not had sea gulls squawking and flying above you? Of course not.
We never had seagulls here, so to me I never thought about them NOT being here. Then two weeks ago, when Mary was here, they just came. I am not sure from where?? I am not sure how long they will be here, but here they are. They fly above us and squawk. This makes me smile! NOW...I truly do believe we live by sea.