090115NHN_N10

NHN0901

10 | TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, 2015 Dr. Deacon Ritterbush, more commonly known as Dr. Beachcomb, nds an hour or two of beachcombing therapeutic. “It isn’t just relaxing, it is healing too,” she says. Bequeathed her nickname in the summer of 2006 by a student while on a beach expedition, it is a moniker that she lives by. In fact, she credits beachcombing as one of the most important things in her toolkit for health. “Beachcombing is when you wander along a shoreline, looking for treasures,” she says. A cultural anthropologist, eco-educator, award-winning author and consummate beachcomber, Dr. Beachcomb has given lectures in North Hawaii, Hilo and North America on sea glass, genres, the archaeology of beachcombing, the stories beaches have to tell and beach pottery. Her book, “A Beachcombers’ Odyssey: Treasures from a Collected Past,” (Ritz Dotter Publishers, 2008) focuses on treasures discovered at beaches in Hawaii and around the world. A lifelong devotee of beachcombing, her mother and grandmother were her mentors. “It was different when I was little,” she says, “collecting pretty things, listening to the ocean and nding whelk shells on the Jersey Shore. As I got older, I liked quartz. It’s very soothing. I learned later that it grinds down slowly and becomes sand and when heated becomes sea glass.” Now a resident of Waimea, over the past 40 years she has lived in Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, Oahu, the East Coast on the mainland and Scotland. Married to an archaeologist from the Kingdom of Tonga, Dr. Beachcomb received her Ph.D. from the University of Hawaii and has worked or consulted for E Ola Nau, Okeanos Foundation for the Sea, Cover Story and the East-West Center, among others. Currently, she is the Big Island program coordinator for the Paci c Gateway Center on Oahu that helps immigrants, refugees and low-income residents of Hawaii become self-su – cient. In 2009, she founded the International Beachcombing Conference, where coastal authors, artists, historians, geologists and anthropologists share their knowledge with beachcombers. is year it’s being held on the West Coast for the rst time, on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington, Oct. 7 through 11. Dr. Beachcomb says the beaches there are like a treasure chest, lled with petri ed wood; stones such as agates, jasper and carnelian; fossilized shells; glass shing oats; beeswax balls; pumice; shipwreck artifacts; stone orbs and the occasional shard of sea glass or pottery. “I wanted to create a venue that could bring people together who are both experienced and novice beachcombers to really learn more about the history of the science behind it, not just the collecting – sharing knowledge, treasures and the beach,” she says. Back in North Hawaii, some of Dr. Beachcomb’s favorite beaches include those o the beaten path in places such as Kapaau, Puako and Kawaihae Harbor. “I nd the most shells a er high winds and waves,” she says. “It’s pure joy and fun, and you’re exploring, having adventures. ” Dr. Beachcomb likes to delve deeper into the history, science and spirituality of beachcombing, as well as coastal and marine conservation issues. “I draw on my research skills and anthropology background to learn more about the artifacts I nd,” she says. “ is leads me to more ‘combing expeditions’ for facts on the evolution of our planet.” So where did the pastime begin? “ ey were originally called wreckers in England,” Dr. Beachcomb explains. “When vessels and merchant ships wrecked, those who lived nearby suddenly got clothing, booze and many other things the waves brought in.” She continues, “In America in the 1700s and 1800s they were called scavengers or moon-cursers. ey would go and watch for the wrecking boats up and down the East Coast, and at times they would sometimes purposely cause boats to capsize by confusing the captains, making them land on the shoals and wreck.” Once a hobby, beachcombing took on a new role in her life in 2006. “While in Maryland writing a book, I would take long walks down the beach, contemplating the plot,” she says. “I began questioning why I was nding certain things there, like French pottery shards or clay pipe stems Coming out of her shell LANDRY FULLER North Hawaii News Coral is found commonly on Hawaii Island beaches. (PHOTO BY LANDRY FULLER) Dr. Beachcomb believes combing the shores isn’t just relaxing, it can be healing too. (PHOTO BY GEORGE FULLER |SPECIAL TO NORTH HAWAII NEWS)


NHN0901
To see the actual publication please follow the link above



Warning: Invalid argument supplied for foreach() in /home/customer/www/northhawaiinews.com/public_html/wp-includes/script-loader.php on line 2678