surprises from the
by Anna Tambour
fingernail-size frond of pink coralline algae in a tossed-up
tangle of kelp and other seaweeds, moved. A
crab. Even in the palm of my hand, this creature didn't look
convincing as an animal.
(and I'd never found one before, only pieces) whole
Port Jackson shark egg cases (otherwise known as a
mermaid's purse). The mother screws the case into rocks.
which is why finding them whole is such a special occasion.
Usually all that washes up is a thin curve of a piece, a
man's big toenail made of tortoiseshell. Half-buried in the
sand, they look frustratingly like fine guitar picks. 'The
cases are leatherlike,' it is often written, but I think are
more artichokelike, and they even dry with a similar curl.
The Port Jackson shark is beautiful and harmless unless you
are a sea urchin, mollusk, crustacean or a small fish.
The Mary Quant Jelly
Impossible sponges, still luridly coloured and some,
with the most 1960s textures
The most marvelous find of all, also influenced by the
60s (it must have been a nostalgic tide) ~
Actually, that's my common,
It is properly commonly called a
less commonly, but more properly called
and those orange and black
little colonies of individual animals.
Though they do 'discharge
their filtered water into
a common space,' none of them has
ever written a
thing, nor even, to my knowledge, inhaled,
haven't checked under the microscope yet.
That, by the way, is what I
could put under my scanner. A small bush of the thing with a
slightly different design is in a bucket beside me, and if I
had the right seawater setup, it might live to a ripe 7-year
age. Instead, the piece that's pictured is now drying into a