Confessions of a Sea Glass Huntress

Since moving within 1/2 mile of the beach my new favorite past time is hunting for sea glass.  It started with accidental finds while walking the dog or admiring the waves, but now it is a single-minded obsession.  I've learned a thing or two in my year of active hunting, so allow me to pass along my wisdom so you too can be successful at spending large swaths of your life looking for what is essentially glorified rubbish.

1) Finding the right latitude is everything

...or longitude.  I guess it depends on the orientation of your beach.  But we're going to call it latitude for the sake of this description.  You will find as you walk parallel to the shore that you'll stumble upon a latitude at which most of the sea glass congregates.  I'd like to tell you there are obvious signs of this magic spot, such as an accumulation of similarly sized rocks or sea grass, water level marks, or a giant, blinking arrow saying "GLASS HERE" - wouldn't that be convenient?  Alas, I haven't found a pattern, so you just have to wander until you get a lead and then stick with that latitude for continued success.

2) Have a dedicated hunting partner

I'm lucky enough to have 2 superb hunting partners.  Sometimes it's my husband - and ever since he plucked that extremely rare red piece out of a rock pile like a sea glass savant there's just no living with him!  My other hunting partner is of the four-legged variety.  Capri doesn't really know what we're hunting, but she approves of the slow pace so she can thoroughly sniff around for some decaying sea creature to roll in.  Although it can be a peaceful and meditative experience alone, some company elevates the experience - and more eyes means more glass.

3) Accept that there is a fine line between sea glass and trash

Sometimes you will find a particularly glorious piece.  Usually cobalt blue.  You're elated.  You scamper with your four-legged hunting partner over to your two-legged one to show off your prize.  And then dreams are crushed when he declares "that's not sea glass, that's glass glass.  It's trash.  Throw it back."

You know intellectually he's right.  It's so sharp it nearly drew blood as you picked it up, and you can faintly smell Skky vodka on it.  But it's so BLUE.  Let this go.  If you start collecting all the glass glass on the beach you might as well start collecting broken lobster pots, styrofoam that has washed ashore, and old, discarded swim diapers.  

...actually that would kind of be a nice thing to do, like cleaning up litter.  But if you're looking for beauty and crafting supplies, let it go.

4) Sea glass neck is real.  And back.

Eventually you will spend your entire time at the beach staring down at the sand. You will also squat or bend about 100 times an hour to examine potential finds.  You will often forget to look up and actually admire the ocean.  You know, that big, watery, blue thing that was a large part of the reason you moved here.  As a physical therapist you know this is a terrible thing for your spine, but obsession, remember?   So just accept it and try to make time to stretch and work on your posture later.  Is there sea glass in Paris?  Because this could explain Quasimodo's affliction.

5) Beware the hazards of hunting

The beach is beautiful and peaceful, but it is not without its hazards, so sea glass hunters beware. 

In the warmer months you must remember sunscreen (especially on the back of your neck, Quasimodo) and in the cooler months gloves with good fingertip grip are essential. 

Sometimes in the fall you will randomly encounter an aggressive bee on the beach - this is totally unfair.  Bees suck and the beach is supposed to be a safe space away from their reign of terror, but once in a while a rogue one will torture you.  Just you.  Not your two or four-legged partners.  But you'll hit your cardio goals for the day sprinting erratically away from it!  Just don't drop your glass with all your flailing.

And sometimes your darling beagle Capri decides she was a flying squirrel in a past life and hurls herself over the rocky breakwaters like being shot out of a cannon.  She is not a creature known for grace or sound reasoning so you will drop your handful of glass as you clamp your hands over your eyes, all the better to delay seeing her battered remains on the rocks.  But there are angels on the beach - looking out for wayward beagles who just caught more air than 80s Michael Jordan.

6) Have a plan for all your treasures

Jars full of sea glass all over your house is certainly a look, and not one I would criticize.  Coastal chic is a thing!  But crafting with your treasures breathes new life into your glorified trash, and allows you to enjoy them for years to come in a new way.  Google images and Pinterest are your friends here, but as usual mentally prepare yourself for several Pinterest fails.  I can personally vouch for success with ornaments and framed artworks, and jewelry is on the horizon.  I can also personally vouch that super glue will indeed glue your fingers to your sea glass if you craft while distractedly binge-watching the second season of Stranger Things.  Some acetone or lemon essential oil will rescue you, because as cute as they are having a snowman stuck to your index finger would impede your ability to work.  And to pick up new sea glass.

Happy hunting my friends!  May the non-trash-glass odds be ever in your favor.  And may the beach bees f*ck off.