As we often do, we went to the beach for Christmas Day. Since Christmas was on Sunday this year, we went to church in the morning, and then left soon after the meeting. We headed north along the coast from Greymouth towards Punakaiki, and stopped at the Strongman Mine Memorial to eat our picnic lunch. Of course, Elijah being Elijah, he had to climb the memorial while we were reading it.
After lunch, we drove on north. Because the sea was so calm, we decided not to bother stopping at Pancake Rocks, so we went to the Truman Track, just north of Punakaiki, instead. I took this video of the walk down to the sea, and the fun we had there.
I wanted a new family photo, so we stopped along the trail, before everyone got spread out, to take one. I got this picture while we were trying to figure out where the best lighting would be.
I took this one on the way down, too, since I wanted individual photos. This one didn’t make the cut; we ended up getting all the good ones with Esther’s camera.
It’s kind of a tradition to bury someone at the beach. James had great fun building a dike around himself, but was disgusted when the sea came around the ends!
After we played at the sea here for awhile, we got back into the vehicles and went farther north yet, to Charleston. There, the boys all went swimming and kayaking in Constant Bay, while the rest of us explored the sandy beach.
Use your imagination here! The beach was full of sparkles, as if someone had dumped glitter all over. I tried to get a picture of it, and almost succeeded. There is a drift of glitter through the center of this picture. The water was full of it, too. I think it’s mica.
This bluebottle jellyfish (actually, not a jellyfish but a siphonophore, but often called a jelly) washed up while we were there. The boys had seen it floating in the water just before we found it. We wanted to see the tentacles hanging down, and knew it would die anyway, so we brought it home in a container of seawater. That’s Esther’s hand for scale.
We stayed at that beach for an hour or more, and then went a little farther north, past the mouth of the Nile River, and explored a section of beach with lots of life in the cracks between rocks. There were a lot of these crabs, watching us and trying to get farther back in their safe hiding spots.
There were bluebottles everywhere. Most were washed up and drying out on the sand, but this one was still floating.
When we got home, we put the bluebottle in a preserving jar, and sure enough, the tentacles stretched out. It started feeding, moving its tentacles up and down–see the video at the bottom. It also turned its float up and down, and pulled itself into a horseshoe shape, and then stretched out again. Fascinating! By morning, the tentacles had died and by Monday evening they had completely disintegrated, turning the water blue.