Thursday, January 25, 2007


The other day Andy and I decided to go for a swim, but first we were going to take a walk along the beach at the mouth of the Ross River. (You can't swim there because there are crocs and stingers. To swim, you can go to the stinger nets at the beach, or pools around town.) Andy wanted to look for driftwood for a fishtank, and I just like going to the beach, especially at low-tide.

Even though I'm 22, I'm like a little kid when I see snails and things. I never want to touch them, because I think about how annoying and scary it would be if I were in their shoes (shells?). But I squat down next to them and just watch. I spent 5 minutes watching a snail chase prey. It wasn't exactly high-speed action or anything, but the snail was making loops and curls and leaving beautiful trails in the wet sand.

We watched some birds splashing and swooping around, and then started to walk back to the car at the high-tide mark. Where the river meets the ocean, there are a fair few mangroves, and in the intertidal zones there are soldier crabs. I saw one or two burying themselves in the sand, so I got worried that I would step on them and crush them (note: I don't think that's possible. They have very strong shells.) and started walking around on my tip-toes. Then Andy pointed out an army of them. Literally hundreds of tiny bluish-white crabs were running together across the mucky sand. They saw us coming and started to run every which way to avoid us, some buring themselves and others trying to outrun us. The clicking of all the shells when they moved sounded like really loud champagne, or like rain on a tin roof. It was amazing. I wish I had a camera, although I'm sure it wouldn't do it justice. We came across four or five other groups like that; all told, there were probably more than a thousand little crabs on a tiny stretch of mangrove/beach. I feel lucky that I got to see it!

1 comment:

bazu said...

I love your descriptions. I think I would have gotten down to observe the marine life too! There are so many pictures of me on my knees "talking" to squirrels and other critters. Glad you two had such a lovely afternoon!