SHIPWRECKS AND NAKED HERMITS....On January 30, 1895, this schooner, the F F Willard, washed ashore on Seawall Beach. It was a vessel owned by a Portland fishing concern. A winter storm caused the boat to shipwreck on the beach we often hike to in Small Point. The remains are there, with ribs and part of the bow exposed after over a hundred years. Each year, we hike the beach and remember the shipwreck whose hull bears witness to the fury of the sea. Barnacles are growing on the stem, and shell remnants catch in the ribs. When the tide comes in, all will be covered, perhaps changing the height of the sand and what is exposed. If you ride a wave near the wreck, you may get caught in a rib!
This week, the surf was high with a strong wind to build the waves. Not many of us ventured in to ride these waves. The wind blew the sand and covered most of the beach debris, but we were able to find a few Sand Dollars and clam shells drilled by Moon Snails. Just feeling the wrath of the wind, helped us understand how a schooner could come ashore a victim of the waves. Though it was hazy, no boats were visible on the ocean.
This is the beach, shown on the home page. That picture showed the beach at high tide when the shipwreck would be submerged. It was also a beautiful clear day, but that is Seawall Beach and its dynamics. This is the treat that awaits you upon climbing Morse Mountain. It is well worth the effort.
This week we also made another sea life outing that had an unusual twist. Hermit Crabs were numerous and collections were made in small buckets of water. Unfortunately, it was a very hot day, and the water in those buckets heated to the point that the crabs walked out of their shell houses! I nearly panicked, but the empty snail shells were quickly found and we watched as the crabs re-inserted their vulnerable rear ends. Otherwise, as shell-less creatures, they would have had their abdomens pinched or devoured by hungry crabs. Luckily, all the Hermit Crabs were able to find a shell to fit, and walked back to sea well housed. I breathed a sigh of relief as we learned a lesson in survival and how NOT to treat these precious creatures. 8/20/06 Beached Ronnie