Saturday, June 18, 2011

Bar Island, May 28, 2011

Bar Island, May 28, 2011 (available here)

It was my mother-in-law's 70th birthday, and a huge crowd of relatives had gathered for a week of feasting and talking. The day was cold and wet, with a low gray sky that made me think longingly of naps on the sofa. Instead, we all walked across the Bar to hike up Bar Island.
 There were about 10 people, ranging from intensely athletic to sleepily middle-aged. We managed to stay together almost all the way across the Bar, and then the 13-year olds found itty-bitty crabs under the rocks, and I took pictures and when we looked up everyone else was out of sight.
There's a periwinkle snail crawling on this crab!
So the three of us wandered along the shore more slowly. I saw a marine worm, more crabs, and thousands of baby barnacles. It must have been settling time for new barnacles, because teeny little barnacles covered every surface. Every rock, every piece of driftwood, every shell, even the seaweed. It's hard to get the scale in this photo, but there are ordinary, full-grown barnacles at the bottom. The babies are even covering the grown-ups! I've never noticed this before. I wonder if it looks like this every spring or if this is an especially good crop of barnacles.
 The boys found a steep sandy hill and amused themselves by sliding down it and destroying their pants. I took photos of them, and the seagulls, and the rocks, knowing that in the dim grey light most of the photos wouldn't come out but playing with my camera anyway, hoping to learn something.
And of course I had a plastic bag with me because I am physically incapable of not beachcombing. It turned out to be very useful, because I found this:
I'm usually rather finicky about what I pick up - it has to pass the sniff test. Rotten sea-life is incredibly hard to clean, so stinky stuff stays on the beach! On the other hand... a cormorant skeleton? It went into the bag. Fortunately it was pretty clean already. Thank goodness for crabs! I brought it home and sorely tried my husband's patience by boiling it for several days and then bleaching the bones. It didn't smell after the first day, but I guess not everybody is as enthusiastic as I am about bones. I didn't bleach it white because the bones are already fragile and bleaching makes them brittle. Last time I cleaned a spine this way it fell apart in the boiling water, but the cormorant tendons seem to be tougher and it only separated into three pieces.


  1. I am so happy to have found your lovely blog! I have been lurking around your etsy shop for ages and using your work in treasuries pretty steadily as I really need the east coast. We're headed to Bar Harbour for 4 days in July on our way to Grand Manan, NB and your photos are killing me. I need the ocean and beach found treasures now :)

  2. Hi Laura, that's great! I looked up your blog and love your photographs - there's one of the side of an old turquoise barn that is just amazing.