The Random Writings of Rachel: An Epic Sandcastle

An Epic Sandcastle

We used to live within very close walking distance of the beach. Our house was maybe 50-100 meters from the shore, although the trees and the fishermen's cabins lining the shore meant that we couldn't actually see the ocean from our house. One day, just a few months before I was headed off to college in the USA, I took some of my little sisters and their friends down to play at the beach--something that, surprisingly, we didn't do all that often. Our beach was a working beach, where many families lived, and many fishermen moored their boats during the daytime, so it wasn't what you might think of as a pristine tourist beach meant for lounging on. The dogs that wandered and the dead jellyfish that washed up on shore didn't make for an especially safe playground.

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.

14 comments:

  1. Horseshoe crabs still creep me out, but this is such a fun story. I love the sense of community.

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  2. What a great learning experience. Your own hands on touch zoo.

    bisous
    Suzanne

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  3. I've always loved starfish, I think they are so neat looking!!!

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  4. I love that they brought you some inhabitants for your castle!

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  5. Wow, I've never seen those type of crabs before! They are cool! Looks like you had a great day xx

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  6. Neat story. Sea creatures can be so fascinating, can't they?

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  7. It think that's so cool! You basically made your own tide pool!

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  8. That is awesome! And yay for busy fisherman who took time for little girls and their play! sometimes people are just really cool.

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  9. How cool! I grew up in the middle of corn fields, so this story is fascinating to me. :)

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  10. wow that is really the coolest sand castle ever! those horseshoe crabs are enormous! what a fun memory

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  11. What a fun day! Sand castles are so fun, but I've never collaborated with fishermen like that!

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  12. That is so cool! I would love to have an experience like this. I love animals, especially strange ones, and seeing them at the zoo just isn't the same.

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  13. I love that they couldn't resist taking part in your sandcastle fun!

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  14. You have some of the best memories! Everyone in Malaysia sounds so friendly.

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