The tides have worked back around again to where low tide is in the early morning and Mary and I were able to start our day off the way we most prefer with a peaceful walk on the beach.
We have mentioned before that the currents, tides, and wave action seem to carve out a different design on the sands each day and we never tire of watching the ocean and seeing what new designs nature has left for us to see each time we go for these walks. Today was no different – we saw some different behavior in the pelicans, collected some new shells and some new rocks exposed by the receding tides.
But, we also were intrigued today by the art work created by numerous small sea snails.
Just under the surface of the sand along the area washed by the waves live hundreds of small snails. They prefer to stay under the sand to avoid the terns and other shore birds that will eat them if they are exposed, but, occasionally a wave will wash away too much sand and the little guys are left exposed and vulnerable.
When they find themselves out in the open, they flutter around looking for a soft spot to burrow down back into the safety of the sand. As they do this they leave small indentations in the sand. They usually do not travel in straight lines and the circuitous routes they take make for some very interesting tracks in the sand. When many of the snails are racing about at once their tracks overlap and create a confusing tapestry of lines and circles like this:
But when a snail is out on his or her own, they sometimes make some interesting designs. Mary first spotted this “picture” of a man carrying some balloons.
After that Mary and I spent a good half hour trying to find unique pictures in the sand.
Here are some of the pictures that Mary took.
See if you can figure out what the snails were drawing. Perhaps they were trying to communicate with us? Who knows?
I spend a lot of time outside looking up at the birds soaring on the updrafts with the beautiful clouds as backdrops, but today Mary and I enjoyed a few quiet moments looking down at the artwork left behind by common sea snails!
Retirement life is great in Ecuador!