Day 53. Playing the numbers

In October 2012 on October 4, 2012 at 11:05 am

You’ve probably worked out I’m a little obsessed with beach-combing.

Standing on an empty beach, I feel a flutter of excitement at the thought of what I might find. I wander down to the wave line, bend slightly forward and start the back and forth weaving my family is only too familiar with. I’m methodical and careful, picking up interesting pieces and discarding items that are damaged or common. Favourites are placed in my bucket or upturned hat. Most of the time I don’t actually keep the contents of the recepticle, but instead at the end of the day I have a look over them all – forming a mental summary of my finds – and place them back on the beach.

There are some exceptions. I keep conch shells, hammer oyster shells, undamaged shark egg cases and perfect sea urchin skeletons. The pride and joy of the household is this Nodose Paper Nautilus shown in the photo.  The nautilus is a shell-like structure constructed by a female argonaut octopus. Initially thought to be to a case for egg protection, thanks to research in Melbourne Victoria it’s now believed to be used by females as a ballast tank, allowing them to trap air from the surface and then dive to bob effortlessly through the ocean without rising or sinking.

The paper nautilus case was found by my brother in law, the sole example of its kind we’ve found as a family in over 10 years of strolling along the same beach at Marion Bay.

It’s this sort of rare finding that keeps me coming back weekend after weekend, year after year. Wandering the sands, searching for that once-in-a-decade treasure. Playing the numbers.

  1. […] excited to present a guest post written by Hannah for Science for Life.365 Recognise this?  It’s Sarah’s Paper Nautilus, or the Fibonacci Spiral, derived from the length of the radius increasing by the Fibonacci […]

  2. […] bits and pieces I’ve found washed up on my favourite beach over the past year (see Day 50, Day 53, Day 143, Day 148, Day 209, Day 300, Day […]

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