Thursday, August 25, 2011

Q & A on Seaglassing

Between work and my youngest son's extended baseball season (yes, he's now playing a summer/fall season for his 4th team of the year) it's been a long time between blog entries.

Over the last few months, we've been asked several questions about the "where, when, hows" of sea glass hunting. My hubby has mentioned that yesterday we had 3 different emails asking info about sea glass hunting when a hurricane is coming. So here are the many questions, and our answers.

Because of the impending storm, we'll go with these questions/answers first.

-Would I consider going out during the storm looking for sea glass? No absolutely not. Visibility will be poor, the winds will be unforgiving and you will be risking your life. Stay indoors until the brunt of the storm has passed.

-(with a hurricane in the forecast) When is the best time to look for sea glass?
I would go out prior to the storm's arrival and after the storm has clearly passed. Depending upon the strength of the tides, I would consider checking out the beach after the peak of high tide, and just before, during and after low tide. I would consider the same process AFTER the storm has passed, especially at low tide.

-Are there specific areas you will go to and will you be kind and share them? Yes, there will be and no, I don't tell anyone where our "special" spots are (they haven't been too special lately) Actually, anywhere that you have found nice pieces of sea glass in the past will probably be a good place to check after the storm has passed.

Final thoughts on this storm... If you do not have a profound respect for the ocean, then you really have no business being on the beach just prior, during or just after this storm. The sea reclaims what it has left behind, and has no problem grabbing you if you happen to be there. If you don't understand the tides, their habits and histories, please stay off the beach until it is safe.
We live on the coast, and we are concerned about the damage this storm may bring. As sea glassers, we are excited about the prospects that the ocean might stir up. The potential of finding sea glass that has been tumbling around the ocean floor for several decades is exciting... but the damage to the dunes and beach front homes can be devastating. If you are planning to go smart and be safe!

Other questions that we've received during the last couple of months...

-Where is the best location for sea glass? While we've never been there, word of mouth indicates the best sea glassing areas is "Glass Beach" in Fort Bragg, Ca. Glass Beach was at one time, a garbage dump. We've been told that the garbage was dumped on the beach, set on fire, and the tide took what was left. We have been shown several pictures of the surf, and the amount of glass (and the amazing colors) is breath-taking. (the top image is from Glass Beach and the photo is taken by Jef Poskanzer)
Puerto Rico has some great areas that often yield some incredible finds. Researching an area's history will often lead you to areas where you may have success. One such area exists in Puerto Rico, where a glass factory once existed. This companies specialty? They made beer beer bottles. Red sea glass is very rare, but in this area, it is found more frequently.
We've also never been to the beaches in northern UK, but the beautiful pieces that are found there are usually found in the areas where glass factories existed decades ago.
The Great Lakes have been a very "hot" sea glassing spot recently and the Chesapeake Bay and Delaware beaches have also been "hot spots" in recent years. History also shows that by the time word-of-mouth gets to you about a hot spot and the time it takes for you to get there, everyone else will be there too. The best hot spots are those that you find yourself (that's why we don't spill the beans on our little hot spots) The spot that my hubby calls "Cobalt Beach" is a small stretch that frequently turns up pretty pieces of cobalt sea glass. It took him about 6 months to bring me to the supposed little hot spot, but we did find 6 pieces of cobalt blue sea glass that day, along with more than 50 other pieces

To answer most of the usual questions... I like to go out shortly after high tide, while my hubby prefers low tide. Despite the competition, I like going out during the warmer summer months. Hubby prefers the late fall, winter and early spring. Because of the brutal winds and cold temps in the winter, the amount of time he can spend on the beach is limited and he hits specific locations that have been successful in the past. In the summer, I just go wherever and stroll the surf. When we go to the beach in the summer (to swim, sunbathe)usually produces common color sea glass, but my favorite piece in recent years, a very old piece of deep teal, was found in the surf... so you just never know when and where a beautiful gem is going to wash up.
The potential for great finds increases with the impending storm this weekend. Please be safe, be prepared, and go out to the beach with a partner after the storm has passed.

'til next time...

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