April 29, 2016. I am on Long Island, headed for a beach with my oldest friend, who is now a distinguished college librarian and author of library-related books. His name is Terry Lee Ballard, and he’s the man who first got me into fandom and introduced me to Robert E. Howard and Conan the Barbarian long long ago, in a previous century when i was young. I am taking a week and staying with him in his comfy home in Merrick, New York. Terry was named after the title character in the old Milton Caniff newspaper comic strip, TERRY AND THE PIRATES.
As my native guide Terry took me to places I would never find on my own. Today he took me and my son James to Freeport to walk a nautical mile–it seemed shorter than a land mile. Before that we went to a beach. It was cold and a brisk breeze made things worse, but Atroll loves to explore beaches and so we went. The pictures that follow show my beachcombing adventure.
Strange mushrooms apparently grow on eastern Atlantic beaches. I did not see anythPing like them on the west coach last year. People go inside to have beach parties during inclement beach weather–that may just mean too much sun for eastern trolls in the summer, or it could be rain or high winds.
James and Terry posed at the first beach we visited. It was just an inlet, not real ocean. James is wearing Terry’s World Series Mets jacket.
James and I are here at the same place. I am balancing on a flat rock that wobbled underfoot, and using James to be sure I don’t fall. He is on solid ground. We left this rocky shore and went to a better place.
Selfy with me and Terry on the Mushroom beach.
Atlantic Ocean beach, tide receding–this is a rare sight for a troll from Arizona.
After admiring sky and water for a few minutes, picking up and discarding clam shells–I kept 2 of the best for my return to the desert–I decided to go exploring along the water line.
After going about 20 feet I encountered this strange creature well above the water line. I thought at first it was a sea turtle because all I saw was shell, but Terry told me it was a horseshoe crab. We thought it might be dead, but when I nudged it with my foot, the tail moved. THE THING WAS ALIVE. Terry told me I had to pick it up and put it back in the ocean. No way! Crabs have claws, and I was not about to put my fingers in danger. Instead, Terry and I moved it with our feet back down into the waves.
After it reached the water it became livelier, and soon scuttled and swam away. I felt good. A life had been saved. Terry told me that in years of walking on New York beaches he had never seen a live horseshoe crab before. Dead ones, yes.Alive no.
After that I continued along the beach toward some wading birds. I wanted to see how close I could get to them.
As I moved closer, they moved away. Just as I got close enough for a good picture, these 4 took off and flew away from me.
I tried to get a selfy of me with birds behind me, but as you see the light washed out everything behind me.
I never did get a good close picture of the gulls.
As I walked I searched for shells. This was the best I found. Both halves were still attached to each other by ligament, but there was no clam inside. I think the gulls ate it a little earlier. The shell was too large to carry off, being a good 9 inches in length, so I left it on the beach.
After the shell I headed back to the car and left the beach behind. It was time to walk a nautical mile and have lunch, but that adventure will have to wait for the next blog.
If you have ever found anything weird, prehistoric, or interesting on a beach, why not leave a comment?