“The coast is an edgy place. Living on the coast presents certain stark realities and a wild, rare beauty. Continent confronts ocean. Weather intensifies. It's a place of tide and tantrum; of flirtations among fresh and saltwaters, forests and shores; of tense negotiations with an ocean that gives much but demands more. Every year the raw rim that is this coast gets hammered and reshaped like molten bronze. This place roils with power and a sometimes terrible beauty. The coast remains youthful, daring, uncertain about tomorrow. The guessing, the risk; in a way, we're all thrill seekers here.”
CARL SAFINA, 'THE VIEW FROM LAZY POINT: A NATURAL YEAR IN AN UNNATURAL WORLD'
We have entered a time like no other, we are living in a world with clipped wings.
It isn't easy, but it also is not forever. And if there is one thing that we can take from this, it is giving us the much needed chance to contemplate. To actually take a step back and look at the world we live in.
Let's compare our situation to the beautiful creatures we share our planet with.
Human deforestation uprooting the habitat of animals that roamed this earth long before us. Human waste flowing into our rivers and oceans, destroying the natural balance, starving the water of oxygen, killing the fish, the fish relied on by the otters to feed. Plastic discarded by humans destroying marine life. Leaching toxic chemicals, suffocating and strangling our ocean friends.
This virus is giving us to some degree an experience of how powerless the natural world is to the pain we inflict upon it.
The truly majestic blue whale, courtesy of New Atlas
What the human race is experiencing is deeply troubling, we are desperately impacted from so many angles. Our businesses are suffering in the most unimaginable way, our lives are restricted and holding us captive within the walls of our homes, but worst of all, we are watching the most vulnerable of our society being attacked cruelly by a savage virus.
It is more than any of us can truly contemplate.
We must look to the future however, to a time when our world has begun to heal. And we must think about the lessons that this will have taught us.
Will it make us all care a little more about the planet that we live on? Will it make us realise that this powerless feeling is one shared by so many other inhabitants on our beautiful home we call earth?
Let's take a moment to step back and celebrate life on the shorelines, in the rock pools and shallow seas, in the deep vast inky oceans.
Lucinda and I are lucky to live near the sea with our respective families and the brief moments when we can break free of quarantine are well rewarded. With a baby that has just decided 05.30am is a good time to crack on with the day, there is one upside .. catching the sun rise over the sea confirms a calm within the soul.
One day we will all be liberated once again, so why not take this opportunity to start teaching your children about the ocean so that when the day comes their interest has been piqued. Our 'create' page will be updated regularly with fun things for your kids to do from home. This week focuses on our weird and wonderful marine friends, with colouring sheets to bring alive and fun facts for the kids to learn.
Our beaches hold so much wonder for little minds. Shells of all shapes and sizes; teensie ones where tiny little mollusks hide out, ragged ones, with understated exteriors yet beautiful iridescent mother-of-pearl linings and then the archetypal traditional shell of the variety Ariel, our amber haired little mermaid, used as a throne.
Stones made smooth by years of sand and sea caressing and perfecting their shapes, made flat for skimming over the waves or perfect wonky towers to sit atop a sand castle.
Rockpools are the perfect hiding place for little crabs if you have a little net or just want to watch them going about their day to day business. Crabbing is the most satisfying activity for kids and big kids alike. So, here's what you are going to need to catch yourself a little crabby:
Bucket: Crabs don’t like being overcrowded and with those little nippy pincers, you wouldn't want to be crammed in next to one either! Stick to ten to a bucket max.
Crab line: Send Mum or Dad into the garden shed or the 'all-encompassing-kitchen-drawer' to find some string or fishing wire, a little net bag for bait, safety pin to attach it to the string - and a weight to stop it bobbing back up.
Or go and buy a crab line, save your family from the boy scout kit building exercise!
A net: You'll need this to land the crab. Don't fancy your chances against those claws without!
Bait: Crabs are greedy little crustaceans and have a strong sense of smell, so whiffy is good - for them, less so for you. They have a penchant for raw liver, bacon, sardines, squid and fish heads. You can get these supplies at the back of your Grandmother's larder or the local butcher/fishmonger.
Now, the technique 🤓
Pick a top spot, you can be quite British here and follow the crowds, or if you're alone then find a nice deepish spot, avoiding getting your line tangled in any seaweed.
Hold the line loosely, but tight enough that the hungry crab doesn't whip the whole lot our of your clutches!
Once you feel (or see) a crab happily feasting, gently pull your line up. You need to be a master of discretion with this so the crab doesn't realise it's happening.
Then place your net under the crab while it's still in the water and gently lift the crab out of the water and into your bucket (half filled with seawater and a little seaweed for shade).
Don't keep them in there for hours, half the fun is letting them go as they do their sideways getaway jig and scuttle back to the water. Just make sure the scuttle away from you, those little pincers will make you yelp if they fix their sights on your bottom.
Happy Crabbing! 🦀
TÖASTIE CLOUD PUFFER | FOREST GREEN @g12trees
Our beaches are a treasure trove of wonder. The simple pleasure of leaving footprints in the sand or building little dams with driftwood.
TÖASTIE CLOUD PUFFER | BLACK CHERRY @chloeuberkid
“The sea was the cradle of primordial life, from which the roots of our own existence sprouted. Billions of years of evolutionary development brought forth an enchanting variety of forms, colours, lifestyles and patterns of behaviour.”