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Beachcombing- the ultimate treasure hunt

By Russell Gienapp

A trip to the beach doesn’t just mean sandcastles and swimming. Some of the most fun I have had with my daughter is just walking down the beach doing some good old fashion beachcombing.

The best thing about beach combing is it is the ultimate treasure hunt. The more you look the more you think you will find something better just a little farther down the beach.

I personally wasn’t feeling very motivated to go anywhere far from my towel on the warm sand at Caladesi Island,Florida. It wasn’t until the sand dollar my wife found, (unbroken and whole) was placed by me by my daughter and subsequently rolled over by yours truly, did the urge hit me to take my daughter down the beach to see what we could find. (Hopefully another whole unbroken sand dollar)

We kept walking and walking. Other fellow beachcombers with pails and plastic bags in hand would nod in acknowledgement of the shared adventure. The most serious of the lot would ask what we have found. My daughter would show off her collection of shells and creatures to envious ohhs and ahhs. One shell, in a nice grandmotherly collectors bucket, particularly impressed her.

All laid out I was quite impressed at the shear number of pieces she chose to be in her special collection. She presented to her mom the most prized find, a whole sand dollar:

A jellyfish, a slightly dehydrated puffer fish, sponges, broken corals, driftwood and shells enough to fill the sky like stars. My daughter had opinions (all of which I listened to) and many questions (I tried my best to answer correctly).

It doesn’t have to be the big wide ocean for your beach collecting adventures. Even in small fresh water lakes and rivers you can find evidence of Nature’s existence. Animal tracks, tadpoles, minnows, water skimmers… The list is endless. Finding pieces of garbage can be an opportunity to pick it up and talk about paying attention to what we do with our litter

I remember endless hours on the shore of Lake Superior when I was 5 years old looking for agates. It was a never-ending quest only interrupted by the discovery of a bone of bird or a piece of driftwood worn smooth into the prefect shape of a dinosaur bone. (Or so I imagined) The entire 2,700 odd miles of shoreline were mine and I wanted to walk the whole distance (or at least in site of my grandparents) just so I could find the perfect stone.

Russell Gienapp is an international freelance cinematographer and feels lucky to make his living doing what he loves in life. Being a cinematographer in the film and television industry, demands skills both creative and physical. His office ranges from the steamy tropics to cold artic conditions. Russell is also the other part of and he lives our motto, “No bad weather, just bad clothing”, everyday when he is on the job or outside teaching his daughter Nature's little secrets.

Editor note:
Make sure you that you are allowed to do beach combing at your beach. Bring with you buckets and extra bags for carrying your shells. Bring with you some books about the sea. A great activity is to name your sea collections with their real names. As always on a beach make sure you are protected against the sun. Make some shell craft when you are  home.

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