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The Ocean and Its' Treasures

Here in Ecuador, by the ocean, there are tide pools that offer some unique finds. As avid rock and shell collectors, we jumped at the chance at discovering what treasures the ocean here holds. We have decided to stop by, twice a week during the lowest tides to see what new surprises have been changed around. You can learn a lot from sand samples that can tell of what they are comprised of and how they were blown or washed to your location. Many minerals hide amongst these particles which we really wish to analyze and see, except we do not have the set up for exploring that level of detail or depth at this time. So for this tidepool trip, we will focus on the size step-up: small shells and rocks (and possible sea glass).

Mother of Pearl is, of course, an eye-catcher. The beautiful sheen and colorful glimmer as the sun hits it just right. I have always wanted to complete some sort of art project using them, now I have a few pieces to try out. We thought we would make gifts for our family members at home or get them a small collection of beautiful shells and rocks that we find. If successful, I'd like to make a few for some locals that have made our stay enjoyable. Though feeling less and less capable with no tools necessary here, all of which are in storage at home in Colorado. I'm embarrassed to say but we tend to keep to ourselves quite a bit (social anxiety) and don't mean to be rude to people, but we just don't do well with conversations. It also doesn't help we don't really speak Spanish (though we are improving and testing ourselves daily with vocab, reading, and context comprehension!). So to show our appreciation in our own way, I hope to at least give a little something.

Sadly we also came to a realization that we would also have to spend money on tools (hot glue, string, wire, etc) that we have an abundance of at home. Too bad we didn't think to bring some of these with us. We are realizing that because we are staying at this location for at least a month, it would have been cheaper to pay for a check-in bag than to try and buy the items here. Some prices aren't cheaper in Ecuador just because it cost a lot in transporting since they don't manufacture them here either. We will write on this in a future post. But we will make do with what we have and try our best. This is where creative challenges come in! Look at these, such fascinating designs.

Now, these are various types of tiny shells. I have tried researching the exact shape to get their names and information about them but many are just so similar with just different names or a wide range with very similar if not the same name. The upper right specimen I am not sure if it is a shell looks more like a barnacle of some sort but the design was splendid and had to grab it for further pictures. A more in-depth post will be written after we get back to the United States and we have all our shells collected and laid out.

As you can see, there are so many various shapes with colors, patterns, shapes, and designs. Many, if not all, are most likely broken shells, rounded out by the water, rocks, and each other. A few of the pieces by the bottom look like they would come from Koi fish. It gives us various ideas of how we can make them into a gift for someone.

There are of course some small rocks and we think are spines from a sea urchin. Many unique pieces could form a spectacular mosaic piece. Such as below: barnacles, sea limpets, and keyhole limpets. Various colors, shapes, and designs made it difficult to even find a picture online that even looked like the ones I found! There are many out there and a possibility for someone to create a thorough listing of all these organisms.

There are a few at the bottom of this pic that looks like eyeholes from Rick and Morty, don't they? What else do they look like to you and how would you creatively use them?

These are either snail or hermit crab shells. The ones we were able to find all had a pretty similar design and patterning. If we find new designs or patterns we may add to this collection. This is only one stop to the tidepools however.

Last on this list of findings from the ocean are sea snail shells. These, despite their size in the video (below), are all quite small. None would be bigger than your thumb (unless you are under the age of 10). Though these guys are tiny they are extremely fast!

Apparently in Ecuador, we are seeing some amazing differences the beach holds just a few meters from each other. If you look closely at the sand the water passes over (typically low tide by the waves), you can see the patterns of the lighter and heavier sand separating caused when the water returns back to the ocean. This is my first time on a beach that had this odd patterning in the sand. Though I had grown up by the ocean and the family would vacation at many various beaches, either I overlooked it or it was the first time I've experienced it. A few sections had a wide range of these scribbles across the sand. Some leftover sand poop from a digging creature....we eventually found out what most likely made these:

Meet the energetic sand snail. We tried to get you an image of the underside of the snail, but it got away when we tried washing some of the sand off. Ah well! I'm sure you can find a great photo online if you really wanted to look for it.

As you can see just from this one post that there is so much to discover! What we have here is only from a few days of exploration. What do you think we will find next?

....just to find out there are so many species this may take awhile....

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