Friday, March 11, 2016

Caribbean Sea - Lost & Found

Lost sole
It’s astounding.  The stuff that floats in from the Caribbean Sea is downright fascinating.  

From huge to tiny, boats to drift seeds, wood to rope, all sorts of weird and interesting junk gets tossed up onto the sand.

In our life BD, Before Dog, I combed our neighbourhood beach on a regular basis looking for fun stuff.  

Oars from Cuban refugee boat 
Now that we are WD, With Dog, my short, terrier-cross, walking partner doesn’t have a lot of patience for my frequent stopping and poking at strange items lodged in the sand.  Walks are all about him!  

It’s probably not a bad thing as our house was getting a bit crowded with the treasures I have dragged home. Our casa resembles a hut owned by castaways, salvaging anything that might be potentially useful.

One of my best finds was a set of long wooden oars used by Cuban refugees to land their insubstantial, home-made craft just a couple of hundred feet north of our house.  The boat was equipped with a diesel motor hooked up to a tiny plastic propeller.  The oars were necessary as a backup for the motor, and as assistance when landing the boat eighty-five miles from Cuba on Isla Mujeres.  Not a leisurely cruise, but a dangerous uncomfortable struggle towards a better life.

The start tangled and heavy. Small spheres under bench.
More recently I entertained three young workers with my valiant struggle to drag four hundred feet of wet, sand-saturated, seaweed-encrusted rope out of the water and up to our house.  

From their vantage point at the top of our ocean-side palapa they could chart my painfully slow progress.  They were still giggling when they joined me on the beach to drag my newest treasure home.  

Six hours later - a bit of fun for the patio
It took me six hours of untangling, and re-winding before I was satisfied with the results.  A large pale-blue rope ball now sits on our patio along with a collection of smaller spheres all made with various bits of rope scoured from the ocean.

We usually leave the various fishing net floats, solid pieces of lumber, or bits of netting out on the street.  Someone, somewhere on the island will find a use for these bits and pieces.  

The plastic bottles, old toothbrushes and other plastic junk we collect fairly regularly and toss into our household garbage.  It’s all part of living on an ocean shared by billions of people.

Prettier treasures include jars, boxes, and bowls of shells and fascinating seed pods in every size, shape and colour.  

Monkey Hearts (Sea Hearts) and Deer Eyes drift seeds
There is a sun-bleached turtle skull that I found several years ago, perched on the top of our microwave alongside a bowl of the fragile husks left behind by sea urchins.  

Another bowl holds a collection of volcanic pumice gathered from the beach.  It’s useful for scrubbing calloused feet and I have a thirty-year supply, just in case. 

And sea glass, oh, my goodness, sea glass.  White, aqua, royal blue, pale green and even a few bits of lavender.  
My favourite pieces of sea glass
I collected so much that I finally set it free - salting our beach with twenty pounds of sea glass that I didn’t need. 

It’s amazing how many visitors find sea glass in front of our house.   

I kept a few choice bits for me to eventually have turned into a necklace or a bracelet.  


Moto-helmet washed up on beach
There is always an abundant supply of shoes on the beach, never a matching pair just lonely, mismatched, barnacle-encrusted shoes.  A number of the lost soles have found their way to a shoe-tree built by a guest at Punta Piedra.  The shoes decorating the tree come and go, depending the whim of passing dogs who take a fancy to this one or that one as a good chew toy.  

Along with flip-flops and stilettos the occasional moto helmet floats up on the sand, or a set of keys.  Questions like: Why? How? Who? Flicker through my mind when I see them.

Lawrie repairing fiberglass moon
The most useful bit of flotsam and jetsam that hit the beach several years ago was not found by us, but another islander.  

It was an eight-foot tall fiberglass crescent moon, a very old remnant from an out-of-business bar in centro.  

Lawrie’s sister’s house is called Casa Luna Turquesa so as a surprise fun gift for Linda and Richard we purchased the moon.  

Garry - airbrushing on paint
Lawrie repaired the battered fiberglass shape and an artist friend, Garry Sawatzky, airbrushed on a new paintjob.  The moon has become a focal point of the large swimming pool at Casa Luna Turquesa.   

But the biggest bit of beach junk, was and still is, the navigational light buoy that drifted in over a year ago from the channel at the southern end of the island.  It’s huge.  Unwanted and unclaimed by the various government agencies it is slowly beginning to flake away, bit by rusty bit.   

We aren’t allowed to remove it, or cut it up.  Nature will gradually take its course and in twenty years’ time no one will know it was here.
Slowly, slowly rusting away. 

In the meantime, I really need to convince our little rescue mutt, Sparky, to enjoy beachcombing.  

There are some pretty cool treasures to be found out there.

Hasta Luego
Lynda & Lawrie

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