We have several containers of shells, and rocks, and other treasures aboard. There are pieces of rough jade and fossils from BC, western nassas and purple olives from Oregon, dog mouths and spotted unicorns from California, and coweries, trivia’s and stingray barbs from Mexico. Our collection is lovely. And growing. And some of the best shelling opportunities are still to come.
We’ve tried to limit what comes aboard—suggesting Maia only choose the best sample of each shell, or that she can’t have it until she can identify it. I’ve tried to come up with art projects that include shells--preferably the kind that can be given as gifts… But no matter what limits we have in place, it’s hard to say no to an 8-year-old when her hands are filled with treasure and her face is lit up with joy.
Our cruiser’s guide said the beach at Punta Santa Domingo is a good shelling beach. And when Maia and I went for a walk on it yesterday her hands, pockets and the fold of her shirt were soon crammed with, “such beautiful and perfect shells!!” I thought we may finally sink the boat.
Then we found a large pink heart made of shells—public art on the beach. Someone else’s solution to the fact there are just too many shells to keep.
Within moments Maia’s perfect shells were part of the collaboration. For a half-hour she added to the design and planned future beach art exhibitions. Perhaps we could have an entire gallery of beach art, she suggested. Maybe her friends would help her create pictures.
Her shells stayed on the beach yesterday. And maybe tomorrow, or next week, someone else will walk down that quiet beach, see the art and find a place for their own handfuls of shells.