Thursday, March 10, 2011

in which I mess with innocent beasties

You may recall I’ve been mentioning my friend Katie lately. I met Katie last fall in Portland at our Reiki Master class. She’s from Portland originally, but she now lives here on Hilton Head.


Katie, me, last fall in Portland.

Anyhow, Katie and I hit it off immediately, duh. A couple of months ago, when I knew Kevin and I would be visiting Hilton Head this month, Katie and I started talking about doing something with Reiki while I was here. “Lots of Reiki” turned into “A Public Demo of Reiki” which quickly morphed into “A Level 1 Reiki Class”. Katie rounded up a handful of students in no time – all of them, like her, professional massage therapists – and last night, ta-dah! We did it. We taught a class together. It was a total blast, not to mention a privilege and honor. Yaaaayyyyy!

Onwards to the crabs and beach stuff!

It was cool and intermittently rainy today, which – on our last full day here – is (sadly) a recipe for potential crabbiness. Kevin and I attempted to go for a bike ride but we had not gotten as far as the main bike path before it started to rain. Grrrr. A little while later, it cleared up, and we ventured out onto the beach.

Each year at the beach is different. This year is all about whelks. The adventure started when I saw something I had literally never seen before in all my years of exploring this beach.


It’s a whelk shell, on its head (as it were – pointy-side-up), and the occupant (the blobby bit to the lower left) is busy exploring its neighborhood. I just hung out and watched for a while, and since it didn’t realize I was there, it came out even more:


This is too cool, right?

Seeing this kind of re-set my perceptual filters. All of the sudden, I saw buried whelks everywhere:


A handful of different whelks within about a five minute walk. For the most part, I left them alone.


But I messed with a couple of them, just to confirm they were what I thought they were. 


It hastily sucked itself back into its shell.


By way of apology, I placed it in one of the little lagoons that remains at low tide.

Then I went messing with starfish. When the tide goes out, you see a fair number of stranded starfish up on the beach. Typically, they’ll burrow into the sand and – I presume – wait it out til the tide comes back in. Occasionally you see them in an agony – most of their arms up, clearly desperate for relief. My policy is, if they are fairly well buried and content looking, and not too far away from the water’s return, I leave them alone. Otherwise, I find water for them – I either chuck them out into the waves, or put them into lagoons.


This is a perfect example of a borderline case – I can’t remember what I did with him.


These are two that I moved into a small lagoon. Once they realized they were back in water, they started moving around, fast. I should have filmed them, but I was too entranced just watching them.  Can you see their tracks?


Can you see where I originally placed them? The small one was on the left in the picture above, and the big one was on the right. The small one moved first – he went right up to the big guy and bumped him, whereupon the big guy took off. When they move, they just appear to drift – you don’t really see how they go about it.

Then I ran into a crab either feeding or cleaning itself – I’m not sure. As I type, I’m uploading a video to YouTube. I’ll post it when it’s through, which should be sometime next year. The internet connection here leaves a little something to be desired, I’m afraid. I also have a video of a starfish doing God knows what, and I’ll try and get a link of that posted here, as well.

While we wait for that to load, let me show you a mysterious thing.


Is that a creature, or a body part? Is it an exploded sea cucumber? It was fairly firm. I have no idea.


This is what it looked like when I flipped it over. Huh. No clue.


Kevin was very patient while I mucked about with the locals, and took the opportunity to stand out in the water, which is his favoritest thing to do. But eventually, he headed back, and I continued my walk for another hour or so.

Oh! Looks like the crab video might be ready. I tried to embed it, but I’m having trouble actually publishing this post, and I think the embedded video might be the problem. So to watch a happy, busy crab, click here instead

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