During the year that I lived in James Bay, I spent a lot of time on the beach. On one particular beach in fact, a modest and often overlooked beach, the beach at the end of my road.
If you like a beach with lots of stuff on it, this is a good beach – All year you can find plenty of driftwood and seaweed. I love seaweed.
In the spring and summer, when the tides are lower, you can walk out along the base of the breakwater and find all sorts of creatures that, until now, were hidden by the sea.
And dead crabs.
Then the jellyfish start to arrive.
The polystyrene arrives every day. Just look in the seaweed along the wrack line:
Where you might also find this:
The driftwood also collects interesting items:
And if you scrabble around a bit where all the small pieces of driftwood collect at the back of the beach, you can always find plenty of polystyrene. I tried to clean it all up but there is so much, and the pieces are so small, I gave up.
As these photos suggest, most of the debris I found on this beach was small. Small enough to fit into jars, in fact. Which is what I did. Here are the jars in my studio.
There are 76 jars. Each one has a note with the date I collected the debris, and sometimes a reminder such as “just what was in front of me.” (Which means what I found on front of me as I was walking along the beach without actually going and looking for debris.)
I find that people love to pick up the jars and peer into them. The glass, and maybe our association with jars and specimens, creates a distance that makes the debris fascinating. Better than actually finding it on the beach, perhaps?
Now I’ve moved, so my “new” beach is Ross Bay. Equally lovely and very different.