Thursday, January 10, 2008

Everyday Life 30 :: 4 Outside, Over There!

Yesterday we took our P.E.outside. We were lucky to arrive in time for a wide open beach. The tide was very low and the shoreline was revealing a view of the deep. And I do mean deep... we were treated to something quite extraordinary.

Maria walked a considerable distance. Imagine her trying to keep up with her long legged brothers. No wonder she runs a lot. Her boots were perfect for a bit of splashing. "Boops," she calls them.

I love how walking on the beach relaxes everyone. Alex and William walked and talked, looping back to help Maria keep up. Max ran ahead, to this uprooted sea kelp. He was really impressed by the strength of it. He put all of his weight in to pulling the stipe before the long, lanky limb of the sea kelp broke loose.

This is the holdfast, or the root base. Sea kelp grows in a forest, which provides an amazing ecosystem... I am recalling all the wonderful things my middle school science teacher taught me. Thank you Carol.

And here we have the fronds... I think they look like a mermaid's salad.

I almost always have my camera with me, and lately when I don't have my camera William has been reminding me to bring it along. I love digital. I love that I can take just a moment to capture something pretty, or amusing or memorable.

There are a lot of sea gulls on the beach, and though I have heard them called the cockroaches of the sky, I still think they are handsome. This poor fellow is missing a leg... he is not impersonating a flamingo.

Surfers are dedicated. Enthusiastic. Devoted. Single minded. Passionate. At least this guy had something to keep out the winter temperatures. His wetsuit included a cap.

Max enjoyed playing with the length of seaweed he won in the wrestling match. Swinging it, dragging it, twisting it. He could not wear it out.

Maria did wear out. William and I took turns giving her shoulder rides.

Textures and colors and the play of light on water... I find so many beautiful sights to point the camera at.

Low tide is is always magical.

Max talked to me about sea stars and how they eat mussels. Do you know how they do it? Maybe I should have Max write a guest post... it could be his own science feature.

We thought it was time to head home, but luckily we lingered a bit longer, otherwise we would have missed seeing this shark. Uh-huh, a shark.

She (I did not see any claspers) was caught in a tidal pool, where there was not enough water for her to breath. Fish rely on swimming or the free movement of water to push water through their gils, and this poor girl was drowning.

I wish I had more photographs, but seeing a unique situation I switched my camera to film, and maybe Geoff can help me post the footage I captured.

A small and concerned crowd had gathered and we were trying to figure what to do. Maria was crying. She is not too crazy about fish and the word shark seemed to make a bad impression on her. Two young men decided to be brave and they picked up the small(ish) shark from behind and rushed it back to the surf and deeper water. It took two attempts and they were successful. Yay!

While we were looking at the shark, I thought, Gee, it doesn't look like a baby leopard shark, which are common and mild. It really looks like a shrinky-dink great white shark, but I thought that sounded too dramatic, and too unlikely. Guess what? It was a shrinky-dink baby great white shark! What do you think?

Dudes, it was totally awesome. I hope she remembers us kindly, and I hope she returns to much deeper water.


Oiyi said...

Love the beach photos. I would love to be on the beach right now. Nope, no baby yet!! Sigh!!!

Lesley said...

Fabulous beach photos, Natalie! I'm amazed at the shark tale. Last year, when my son Will was surfing at Del Mar almost every day, I used to talk to his mates about sharks, and they laughed at me, insisting there were no sharks in these here waters.
Huh! Callow youths!
I used to panic about Will bobbing about in the water on those misty early mornings, which in Australia we all acknowledge as sharky weather. Feeding time ...

amy smith said...

amazing photos! and that reminds me of a time i caught a shark, not on purpose, and as i was bringing her on shore, she began delivering babies. i had a simillar experience releasing the babies back into the deep.

nikkipolani said...

Natalie, what an incredible and fascinating series of photos. I felt relaxed looking at your beautiful images. And very cool about the shark - I'm glad she got back out to deeper waters.

Sabine said...

Wow, wow, wow! This is amazing! I am happy that the shark was saved. I know that they can be very dangerous, but I heard once that they also need to be protected. What a beautiful creature! I've never seen one in real life.

Andylynne said...

Love the photos of the beach. Makes me homesick:)

Jennifer said...

I am so thankful to live in a time in which people have learned, in which a series of random, unconnected people at the beach come together and agree that they need to save a shark -- they know that they have a responsibility and they know that the shark is beautiful and worth saving. Not that long ago, people would have been more likely to turn away, or to watch the see the animal suffer and die. Thank God, right, for Steve Irwin and for our overall enhanced understanding and love of the wild creatures with whom we share this planet. Your day at the beach looked ordinary yet extraordinary; the gift you give your children on those outings is incalculable. (Did I spell that right?) And hurray for teachers who teach us so that we've learned for a lifetime and can teach others. (Yes, I do love seagulls, except when they poop on the quilts I'm working on or try to steal my lunch -- oh, but I still love them.)

Anna Banana said...

I had a "what's wrong with this picture?" moment when I got to the shark. Scrolling through the photos of familiar territory and then whoa! Hey, I was at the beach at 11 walking with the moms, it was high tide then. Thanks for the great photos!

Mama Spark said...

Your photos are fantastic! It reminds me of when I was in Moneray this last spring. We stopped at a beach and took similar pics, minus the shark. How cool that you and your kids got to see that! Once when the girls were little and we were in Florida, I saw bubbles coming up from the sand. I told DD1 to dig, thinking it was a clam...WRONG!!! It was a horseshoe crab!!! I have some great pics of that day but sadly they are not digital.

Dallas said...

The beach looks so relaxing - I love the green reed texture shot. I'm glad to hear the shark got back out to deeper water, but what a neat experience to see her.

Julie said...

For my birthday, I decided to check in with Chicken Blog and see how all of you are doing. Looks like you caught a baby great white shark in honor of my day! ;) Way to go--leave it to Natalie to always have something cool to write about!

Take care!
Julie in not Seattle, but Bellevue now

Missy said...

How exciting! What a fantastic adventure for you and the kids. I personally couldn't have picked up a shark (phobic and all) but I applaud those brave young men who did.

p.s. I can't practically see the swishing seaweed. Gorgeous!

Tarie said...

Cool: shark action! Great pictures, Natalie. :o) Sea stars eat mussels?!

Anonymous said...

That's awesome!!! How did you find out it was a great white? (It looks just like Mini-Jaws)


Laura Jane said...

Fabulous post Natalie, fabulous photos.

great science lesson, gotta love an intertidal zone for a months's worth of aquatic and environmental science. Max looks very relaxed after a wrestle with the stipe.

When I was a student we took a trip to a local reef and I still recall how much we gained from that day. To this day I am completely unable to wander at the beach without looking for an anemone to suck at my finger.

And OMG - a shark rescue. How cool is that?

happy zombie said...

What a fab adventure and photos Natalie! That shark sighting is amazing. Cracking up over "cockroaches of the sky" - as cute as they are, I so agree with that term. Too funny!

village mama said...

Your photos are fantastic.You captured movement and colour and calm, ahhh, I can almost smell the sea.

Julie said...

I {heart} digital too!!! You come visit me for snow. I'm visiting you for the beach!!!! Love seeing your photos and dreaming of the sea.