Blogger Claudia Frey's Moonlight adventure:
The full moon affects not only the tides, but the creatures living in the ocean as well. On new moon and full moon it’s possible to take part in a nightly beach walk in Sedgefield. A guide from Sedgefield offers her vast knowledge to the folk who join the walk and explains about the creatures that live in and near the water, answering all questions before they’re even asked.
I often found strange things from the sea on the beach and wondered what they were. During the introduction - before the walk starts - Judy Dixon, the guide, took out a vast range of shells, dry algae, shark eggs and other things that are found by the ocean, explaining what they were. Many things she said were quite surprising and I received so much new information, that halfway through I started regretting that I wasn’t taking notes.
Among oyster shells and other things that are commonly found on the beach, some very interesting objects were passed around: like the egg case of the paper nautilus, bits of coral, the eggs of all different kinds of sharks (yes, eggs! Sharks lay eggs. Like chicken. Maybe not exactly like chicken, but the thought is quite funny) or clam shells with strange perfectly round holes in them.
I have a lot of different shells with that perfect little hole in them back in Belgium and I used to wander along the beaches in Italy and collect them to make jewellery and crafts. I had never asked myself how those very convenient little holes came to be? I thought they were formed through slow abrasion on the ocean floor. The real story is far more interesting: molluscs and snails are capable of drilling holes into shells in order to be able to eat the animal that lives inside.
There is an interesting and surprising story like that behind many things and creatures found on the beach. At one point we stood for a good 45 minutes in front of a large rock, speaking about the little snails, the crabs and spiders that live on it, as well as the rock itself. How the little nooks were formed and how the tides affect the creatures that live on the rock. And it was truly interesting. Really.
It may not sound like that much of a plan: let’s stand there for almost an hour and speak about a rock?! But Judy really kept my attention focussed the whole time – and that says a lot.
And I don’t want to spoil the experience for those who do go and join the walk, but did you know that to avoid getting cooked by the heat, those little snails make threads, jump off the rock and then drag themselves back up by eating the thread? They go bungee-jumping, as Judy put it.
Apart from learning so many things, it was also just a very lovely nightly walk. Taking a long walk with a local person and have them explain expansively about everything around me is something that I wish to do in every place that I visit, but it is not very often that there is a wonderful occasion such as these nightly beach walks to do just that.
As darkness slowly fell over us people started switching on torches and lanterns, setting a wonderful dreamy mood. Because of the clouds covering the moon we walked in complete darkness for a while, which was quite wonderful – I got very distracted by all the good photo opportunities, so if you have a good camera make sure to bring it along.
Where the waves were breaking, a green glow spread in the foaming water. I stood there wide-eyed and with the most wonderful feeling spreading through me, for since I had first heard of bioluminescence and glowing water it seemed like something from an amazing dream to me. I had always wanted to see it, and there it was! Seeing the ocean glow at night is one of the most wonderful things I will never forget.
JOIN JUDY DIXON FOR THE NEXT MOONLIGHT MEANDER
Start time: 19h00
Duration: +-4 hours
Location: Swartvlei Beach, Sedgefield
When: Full moon nights
Bring: a torch, shoes that you don't mind getting wet
+27 (0)44 883 1015
or Sedgefield Information Office
+27 (0)44 343 2007