Slept in this morning a bit, then had a hot breakfast before heading to the beach where the promised seashells lay awaiting pickers like us. The girls and I all put this island beach on our list of places to see after reading about the ample seashell combing to be hand. Because of the lay of the land, each tide sweeps countless shells up onto the shore. Still more lay untouched just a few feet out into the gulf.
We spent the morning beachcombing, E and I finding plentiful shells for a variety of projects. V focusing, as usual, on living beasts and creating her own aquarium in the sand. When we found live animals, we turned them over to her. All totaled, her aquarium included four sea cucumbers (two she named "Memory Foam" and "Hush Puppy"), several purple urchins, four sea anemones, three fighting conch, a couple of live scallops and a BABY OCTOPUS! THAT was the coolest animal she's ever found. We kept it in the pond for observation for awhile (and shared it with passers by) before finally walking it offshore a ways and releasing it.
A boy struck up conversation with E and in no time they were out on the sandbar splashing away and bringing more shells and live things to her sister. Austin, though a full head taller than her, is only one grade older than E, and was very pleasant, soft spoken, funny. They spent most of the remaining daylight together either in the ocean, on the beach or in the pool where we spent our afternoon.
As we picked shells, I couldn't help but think of all of our family members who so enjoy the beach, shell hunting, rock hunting. We know Grandma Ruth would have been in heaven here, and we're really sorry Aunt Kathy isn't here with us to pick up shells. A number of our finds, which we soon discovered were alive, reminded me of Auntie M. (Yes, we threw them back!) We made tidy little collections and look forward to sharing them with you all when we return.