Thursday, July 9, 2009

Seaweed, Shells and Sand Dollars

Drayann (the wolfhound) and friends

This week's Wednesday Walk took us to Osborne Bay Park, an off-leash area just a five minute drive from my home. It is a beautiful park of over sixty acres, an old farmstead which still harbours many fruit and ornamental trees. The first section of the park is rolling fields, which is followed by a trail winding through tall trees and bushes, leading down to a wide expanse of pebbly beach just teaming with marine life.

I have had a love affair with the ocean ever since I can remember. Family photos show me playing on the beaches in England as a toddler, and later in the then-small seaside resort town of White Rock where I grew up. In my adult years, I have made a point of exploring isolated stretches of beach every chance I get. The tidal pools teeming with marine life, the soothing rhythm of the waves as they crash on the shore, the sense of wide-open spaces as one gazes at miles of sand and water - fascination, education, relaxation all rolled into one.

Osborne Bay is resplendent in sand dollars and shells of every colour:

White Sand Dollar

Purple Sand Dollar

Golden Sand Dollar

Tidal pool of dollars - riches of a different kind

In the pools, shells and sanddollars and seaweed formed a patchwork quilt for the tiny crabs and other sealife who resided there:

Shells and Sand Dollars

Sand Dollars in Water

Sand Dollars in Seaweed

Small Shells in Seaweed

Evidence of the circle of life is all around:

Broken Shell


Starfish on the beach and under rocks add another splash of colour to the already brilliant palette:


Starfish under Rock

Higher on the beach, abandoned boathouses and old stairways to nowhere attest to the history of the area:

Old Stairs

Biodiversity, that interdependency of living things, is well represented here. A tree, long ago fallen from the cliff to the beach below, has become a home for the thousands of mussels that cling to its branches:

Tarben investigates tree on beach

Mussels cover the branches

I love this shot of the wall-to-wall shells on the beach. It reminds me of one of those very-hard-to-solve jigsaw puzzles I used to love to do (It looks a lot more striking when you click to enlarge it!):

A Landscape of Shells

The tide was out, a few people digging clams could be seen in the distance, but for the most part the beach was ours.

Happy Clammers

Tarben investigates

Sadie and Tarben resting for the climb back up

Charley and Sadie, Osborne Bay Park

Seaweed, shells and sand dollars - a beautiful setting for some friends and their dogs. Life doesn't get any better than this.


EvenSong said...

Looks like Charley is feeling better? Good deal!
Beautiful post. A similar beach on this side of the border is accessible by 3-mile walk through the rainforest from Lake Ozette, on the Olympic Peninsula.

Chasing The Dog said...

that is a very pretty beach! I've never seen sand dollars actually on the beach. I spent nearly every summer on the beaches of the Gulf of Mexico in Florida... fond memories: But no sand dollars! ;)

Black Jack's Carol said...

I'm happy to see Charley looking so well!

Great post! Apart from the beautiful shots, it made me realize how little I know about the things see/miss on the beach. I'll be looking with a different eye the next time I go:)

Anonymous said...

Great pictures Jean. I love the picture of the stairs. You should talk to M about joining the camara club.


Janice Gillett said...

I am so amazed at the amount of sea life still left standing!! Is the beach protected from shell and scavager hunters?

Hunde Haus said...

A purple starfish!! Oh my lawdy,that is beautiful!!

Stunning photos Jean, your Wednesday walks look absolutely wonderful.