Ahhh, there’s just something about a salty air adventure. Maybe it is the feel of your hair in the ocean wind, or perhaps the sun-kissed tan on your skin (after using sunblock of course). One thing is certain, it is the OBX feeling – that nothing-to-do, lay-in-the-sand, try-something-new – type of feeling. Speaking of trying something new, ever walked the beach after a recent storm has blown through and the skies are still cloudy? Regardless if it is overcast or sunny, it may be the perfect day to try your hand at something new like a beachcombing adventure.
Let’s talk about beachcombing. Some folks also like to call it shelling. Tomato or tomatoe, beachcombing is where you “comb” the beach walking and sifting through the sand to find hidden treasures such as sea glass, shells, petrified lightning, driftwood, jars, sea fossils, coins and maybe that ultimate, long-desired find of a “message in a bottle” …one can hope.
Before you head out on your first adventure, here are 5 tips to keep in mind:
Timing is everything.
Sometimes, the best trinkets and shiny gadgets turn up after the wind and rain blow through, so consider going beachcombing after a storm. You never know what may have been hiding under a rock or along the shore that blew up onto the beach. Another important rule is the more sand = the better. During low tide, or ideally 2 hours prior and/or an hour afterward, the ocean may reveal some of the treasures it’s been hiding. You’ll have company, mostly in the form of intertidal creatures that call home to the sand under the water during high tides. Low tide just so happens to be their happy hour to come out and explore for food. If you head out during this window of time, you might just discover something you have never seen before.
Pack like a pro, a beachcombing pro that is.
You may be tempted to wander out and just peruse the sands, however, what if you find something? Apart from the obvious items i.e. hat, sunblock, water and a trusty snack, it’s always good to have something to keep your goodies in. Whether you bring a sand bucket or a tote bag, if you want to gain professional beachcomber status, a backpack is the best item for keeping your hands free and eyes on the sand prize. A sand sifter is always a good addition and may uncover something you’d miss otherwise. Also, shoes are important. While we all love the feeling of the warm sanding in-between your toes, you may find some sharp items hiding along your route. No one wants to cut a beachcombing exploration short due to stepping on something either awesome or pointy. Lastly, if you have one, a metal detector is always a plus to help you locate those items still in hiding.
Be careful and be nature-friendly.
You will most likely encounter some type of beach creature along the way, even if it’s just a crab or fish. Remember, even the littlest stick pile could be a home for some small sea critter. It’s important to keep their home sweet home in the condition you found them in, making sure not to damage any small habitats along the way. Be aware of sea trash, broken glass or fish hooks that can present potential dangers along the shoreline sometimes disguising itself in a pile of debris or seaweed. Also, all those that wander… can sometimes get lost. No bread crumb trail needed, just make sure you remember where you started your adventure because after a while, all the houses can blend together and you definitely don’t want to be stuck after dark in an unknown area.
Make it an experience.
Make a day of it! Bring your camera and/or phone so you can have pictures to document your trip. Even if you might not be able to take them all home with you can still capture those nature moments forever. This includes endangered species, nest or other creation you encounter since you’ll have to leave those things behind. Beachcombing isn’t just about the end result, it’s also about exploring, daydreaming, imagining the journey the item took to get to you and having fun along the way. If you don’t find the diamond in the rough, there’s always next time. Don’t be too discouraged, you never know what may turn up after the next storm blows through.
Channel your inner DIY.
Take those photos, mementos, and other goodies from your adventure and create something you’ll always remember. If you are crafty, channel your inner DIY with the photos you took and include in a journal or scrapbook. You can even purchase shadow boxes or frames to display the items you do take home with you! Who doesn’t love nautical décor? Just make sure what you do collect doesn’t have current live sea residents.
Many of Sasser Vacation Rentals are right along these prime beachcombing spots as well, so you’re already one step into the game – finding the perfect location! If you’ve never tried beachcombing, grab a few friends or family members during your vacation in the OBX and experience a new adventure – you’ll be glad you did!