We set about making a sandcastle. It turned out that we'd arrived at the beach just at the time in the late morning when the fishermen were cleaning out their nets--emptying them of water creatures that had been swept up along with all the rest of the fish that were destined for market.
The fishermen took great interest in our little sandcastle project, and began to come over, one by one, bearing "gifts" of live sea creatures, and placing them in our sand castle as the inhabitants/fearsome guards.
Rebekah and I
See the 3 horseshoe crabs, plus another big crab in the moat?
The fishermen clearly enjoyed the excitement and squeals they got out of the kids as they brought over crabs and starfish and other critters to inhabit our sandcastle. I still clearly remember one of the men putting a huge mantis prawn down in the middle of our castle and warning the girls: "This one, better not touch. It can hurt."
They taught my sisters how to pick up a horseshoe crab, and showed off all manner of different, and to me, unidentifiable, bits of sea life that had been left behind in their buckets and nets. Most of the 'leftovers' from the morning's catch were dumped back into the ocean after show-and-tell, and the crabs that had dwelt in our castle for a short time scurried away. I guess they didn't find the castle as luxurious as we thought it was.
For me, it was a surreal experience, hanging out on the beach with a couple little girls and a bunch of fishermen who were having fun giving us a glimpse at creatures that seemed so strange to us--creatures that ought to be found in a science textbook or ocean documentary--but for them were just a part of the job.