Beachcombing on Langara Island

– by Jeannie Nielsen (daughter of Ed Hartt, Senior Keeper on Langara 1957 – 1963)

Glass ball on the beach

Glass ball on a beach

I lived on Langara between the ages of about 10 – 16. We had many adventures while we were there. My favorite thing to do was beachcombing. In those days you could find “dollar bottles”. Ocean Station Papa sent out these bottles with a message stating that if the paper inside was returned, you would receive a dollar. (They did it for the purpose of tracking ocean currents.) A dollar was a lot of money to a child in those days (late fifties, early sixties), so finding one was a source of great excitement.

Japanese glass fishing balls were another treasure, although in those days, they were pretty common. They ranged in size from Ping-Pong ball size, to sizes larger than a basketball. Their colours were mostly green, although we did find them in brown. Sometimes they still had remnants of their net on. I have since heard that any that are purple are highly coveted, as they belong to nets belonging to ancient royalty. We never found any.

Dead sea animals were always a source of great interest to our dogs and myself. They expressed their delight by rolling in the remains, no matter how long dead and stinky! One carcass I found was a mystery we never solved. It was a bedraggled bald eagle, missing its talons from the mid point of his legs down, and missing the one portion of it’s beak. We wondered if he had hooked onto a fish far too big for him to drag to shore. Often there were remnants of a boat or wharf, pieces of bamboo, and other mysterious planks. One could only wonder where they originated from, and how long they had drifted. My child’s mind imagined pirates and wild shipwrecks and lost souls . . .

– photo credit – Ray Morgan at BC Marina.com