Life can be as fragile as glass

Sometimes you just need to do something mindless.  My girlfriend, Coco, suggested, well, actually coerced me into going to look for beach-worn fragments of glass.  She said, “it would be bloggable.”  I told her that was hitting below the belt!

This whole thing started when she posted a note on Facebook that said,

“Good and bad news: There has been a major decrease in littering off the shores of Hawaii. No more glass being thrown off shore or from boats. As a result, no matter how hard you look, there’s no more sea glass.” 

What is WRONG with her?!?

Coco was on the hunt for sea glass and another friend of hers told her about Sand Island. Sand Island?  Where the auto junkyards are?  No, where the ships have gone by and dropped their garbage and glass along with it.  Huh?  You can imagine where my mind went.  Ick!

Not too long after we spoke of broken glass and this blog-worthy adventure, when reality got a little bit too hard for me to handle, it was time to search for the simplicity of a unique and relatively-mindless distraction.  Few things provide that kind of distraction as well as the shores of O’ahu.

People enjoying the shore.

Of course the “icky” idea of things being discarded made me wonder if I needed to wear rubber boots but, on the contrary, the water was beautiful and very clean.  So don’t worry, no rubber boots required.

As we drove around trying to find this mystical repository of glittering sea glass, we stumbled on to this interesting looking place.

La Mariana sign.

I am sure I will investigate that one a bit more and talk about it later.  My blogger friend, Karen, has already discovered La Mariana and she has already shared it with her blog readers!

We were looking for glass.  We found the shore and we found some boats but we were still not quite where we needed to be.

US Coastguard ship.

I had to get a photo of this U.S. Coast Guard ship for a variety of reasons, not the least of which was my past inability to get a decent photo of these ships from Aloha Tower.

Still searching for this glass, we asked some people if they knew the spot we were looking for to see if they could help us with our search.  We did get one rather strange reply.  One gentleman said something like, “You mean where the haoles go looking for glass?”

Uh, excuse you?!?  This guy looked more like a tourist than anything else!  Coco and I must have both been wondering, “what the heck?”  At least he pointed us in the general direction.

Glass bottle on the grass.

Were we getting warmer?  This is not exactly the kind of glass we had in mind.  It just happened to be the first glass we found.

Coco searching for sea-worn glass.

We found it!  Our devoted search for pieces of sea glass is finally able to begin!  Now we will see what we can find along this interesting stretch of rocky beach.

What we actually found was even more interesting, even a bit freaky.

Concrete block molded into the rock.

Items were molded into the rock.  Stuck!  Somehow these things had become part of the shoreline.  I guess this peculiar process of fusing things together resembles the man-made reef idea, except it was not man-made.  We provided the materials and it seems that nature did the rest.

Broken glass molded into the rocks.

Some pieces of glass we attempted to collect were not to be removed. It looks like you can pick them up but they have become part of the rocks — you might be able to get a piece of them if you took a hammer and chisel to them but that would just not be right.  Besides, the edges would just be sharp again rather than worn by the sand and surf.

More glass joined with the rocks.

Hmmm, remember that quote posted above about the lack of glass being tossed into the ocean?  Apparently I failed to notice this additional comment from Coco’s friend, Lisa, who said, Oh yes! And due to the heat of decomposition, the glass is sometimes melted together! Have fun!

Man!  It seems that the “heat of decomposition” along with the heat of the sun have done a stellar job of melting everything together!

It is really amazing to see how the whole area has adapted to all of this and actually absorbed these things right into its little ecosystem.  In a fascinating way, this little area has taken in a strange culture of chemicals and embraced it as part of its own.  Sound familiar?  Are the islands not famous for doing the same thing with the cultures of people?  We absorb them and make them fit!  I could go “out there” with this idea!  I’m just saying.

There was more to discover here besides these pieces of glass, and other things we could not pick up.

Shore fishing on Sand Island.

So many people were enjoying this quiet little area.  There was even some fishing going on.  I would never have expected there to be people fishing here.  Well, why not?  Where there’s water, there’s fish!

Storm drain cover in an odd place.

I liked the look of this quiet little corner, except for the storm drain and that great big pipe.  These were certainly another unexpected curiosity.

Giant pipeline.

I will not wager any guesses or make any assumptions about why this is here or what it is for.  There is still no need for rubber boots so we can relax!

Another bottle left behind.

Oh no, not more of this kind of glass!  This bottle will probably get broken and become sea glass someday, but not anytime soon.  For now it is, shall we say, less than collectible, even without being stuck to the rocks!

Below is our collection!  There were a couple of shells that were interesting but the bulk of the collection was pieces of worn glass, no longer sharp and dangerous to touch. Some of these are, of course, molded together.

Collection of beach glass.

The pieces that could be removed from the rocks and/or sand were interesting, although not as colorful as I kept hoping for — I wanted more blue.  But, we did help to de-litter the beach just a bit!

My supposition is that the glass aficionados who use these interesting pieces of ocean art to create little table tops, etc., have already discovered this place so the pickings were slim for us.  Then again, there will be even less for them the next time they go!  It was a nice way to spend an afternoon.

View of Honolulu from Sand Island.

It was a beautiful day and I could not help but snap more shots.  I never get quite this vantage point from other venues.

Viewing Downtown Honolulu from Sand Island.

I did manage to get some otherwise impossible photos!  I do love my island.  Can you tell?  The island and its variety of ecosystems can often be as fragile as glass, but it can also be as tough as nails when it needs to be.

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3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Karen of Honolulu // Oct 4, 2011 at 8:23 am

    What a wonderful post. I love finding new areas to blog about. My grandson rides BMX in this area and I was there on a Saturday afternoon and took photos as the sun set. The colors were unbelievable, Now I will have to go to that beach one of these evenings and get photos too.

  • 2 Marjorie // Oct 6, 2011 at 11:44 am

    I have to agree with Karen, the story and photos are priceless.
    Thanks for sharing such fantastic pics.

  • 3 Evelyn // Oct 12, 2011 at 9:21 pm

    Sunset pictures sound wonderful, Karen! It was an interesting outing, Marjorie, and I’m glad you both enjoyed the little story. 🙂

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