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The Mystery of the Beach




The mystery of the beach goes well beyond the sand and the surf. It is all about being good stewards of the land and sea for all the living creatures that use the beach as their nesting area, landing strip, hatchlings preservation, and chit-chatting area.


The seagrass that washes ashore is a virtual buffet table for all the nesting birds. It has been noted that it is not wise to rake away the dinner table so humans can sunbathe when birds that fly many miles use the beach to rest, eat, and regain the strength needed for the long trip home.


We must also protect the huge loggerhead sea turtles that lay their eggs yearly on our beautiful beaches. Many tourists forget the rules of the beach during turtle nesting season. One bright and shiny light might be good for Christmas, but it can wreak havoc on turtle hatchlings. They get disoriented and think they are heading out to sea when, in fact, they are heading for disaster as they crawl onto pavements and streets with cars. They are only about 2 quarters in size if you put them flat on your hand, but they grow to be 250-300 pounds on average if they are the lucky ones that make it back into the Gulf of Mexico.


People come to the beach and like the sand dollars, and when they find them, they are taken away so they can remember their trip to the beach. If they stood in the water and put a sand dollar on the palm of their hand, they would find out that they would move across your hand. Interestingly, it takes this adventure to realize that it is alive and does not want to be taken away from the beach to be bleached out by the sun and die so that one remembers one day at the beach. It is much better to take a picture with you and your new friend and then another picture of you returning your friend to the sea.


Speaking of friends and their homes, what about all the beautiful shells? When you find a shell and pick it up, it is always good to look inside as it might be occupied. These shells are "gifts from the sea" only when not occupied! Channelled Welk, Moon Shell, Double-Sunrise, Oyster Bed, and Argonauta don't sound like the names of houses, but if you take a Channelled Welk home that is occupied, you will soon find out that it would have been better to take a picture rather than deal with evicting the owner!


Come to the beach, and when you leave, leave your footprints in the sand and everyone's shell house alone where you found it in the water.

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