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| TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, 2015 11 that dated back to the late 1700s. I also wondered, ‘Why does one beach have oyster shells on it, but the two beaches down have no oyster shells but lots of iron ore?’ l began to take a whole new look at beachcombing.” Some of her favorite nds are pottery shards. “ ey tell stories – how old something can be, where it came from, if it’s American, English, Japanese or who designed it,” she says. “A lot of the pottery shards here on Hawaii Island come from the old plantation communities.” She says there are different ways to beachcomb. “Lots of times it’s luck. Other times you have a vision of something you want and it turns up at your foot. It’s a little serendipitous. A lot of it is becoming familiar with a beach and nding things that don’t t in with the natural pattern there. For instance, looking for something a di erent color, or shaped di erently. At certain beaches you comb over the top part of the sand and others you look under rocks. You can nd some of the best shells standing right where the waves break, but you have to be very quick.” She advises, “Go to beaches where other people don’t go. When you have a series of rough waves and weather, take an early morning hike and you will nd something. Try to go two hours before or a er low tide.” It’s not just learning how to look, it’s learning what to look for. “Here in North Hawaii you can nd shells, coral, pottery shards, sea glass, marbles, shing oats and sea beans,” she says. “One of the rarest things here is a type of sea glass that resembles stone called slag glass, found on the Hamakua side of the island. It comes from trash burned in plantation furnaces that was thrown over the river. ey look like turquoise and jade and are exquisite, with colors ranging from pale cream to black, but mostly dark blues and greens.” Dr. Beachcomb has treasures to show for her experience, but she doesn’t hoard them. “I like sharing. I re ne my collection, pick out the ones I don’t have many of or if it’s a bigger size, and the rest I usually put in bags and give away,” she says. “Sometimes I make beach pupu trays decorated with shells that are sold at e Gallery of Great ings in Waimea.” Beachcombing can become an obsession. “Some people can be covetous, not sharing shells or beaches with others,” she says. “Sel shness and hoarding are unhealthy. True beachcombers re ne their combing and learn to just keep the best of the best.” From an environmental standpoint she feels beachcombers need to be responsible. “Shells should be ethically harvested,” she says. “Beachcombers are conservationists. Right now, because of the acidi cation in our oceans, shells are getting weaker and more fragile.” As for sea life, she says, “No one should be harvesting shells with mollusks living in them because they are so endangered. at’s not beachcombing, that’s trophy hunting. Ethical harvesting is only of shells that are empty.” Dr. Beachcomb also nds spiritual and health bene ts along the shoreline and encourages people to get outside in nature and play regularly. “People have always loved to be on the beach,” she says. “It gives us comfort and calms us down. It’s a stress releaser with concentrated attention on the now, so it’s really an act of meditation. It’s very Zen-like. At the beach you’re not worried about what happened yesterday or a meeting with your boss tomorrow. It gives your brain time to rest.” Last year, Dr. Beachcomb took her own advice to heart a er being diagnosed with cancer. “I learned that my body is just a shell,” she says. “On some beaches there’s such a silence it feels very godly, an energy I felt really helped me with cancer. Because I couldn’t be out in the sun during that time, I visualized myself beachcombing in my belly – removing ‘plaque,’ collecting black pieces of plastic that were embedded through the sea anemones inside of me to get out the cancer. I believe that beachcombing is a panacea for everything.” Cancer-free and healthy now, Dr. Beachcomb has bright ideas for the future. “Beachcombing is an antidote for marriage, retirees, and people dealing with stress from their jobs,” she says. “Just to get out there for two hours beats booze. I think beachcombing might be helpful for people with PTSD.” She is also nishing her second book on beachcombing scheduled to come out in early 2016, and a TV series on where to nd the most fascinating treasures. “Beachcombing has been a saving grace over and over in my life,” she concludes, “and nowadays I turn to it frequently not only for treasure hunting but also for solace, joy, peace and clarity.” For more information on the upcoming International Beachcombing Conference, go to http://www. thebeachcombingconference. com/index.html. Or learn more about her book, “A Beachcombers Odyssey” on Amazon.com. Cover Story LEFT TO RIGHT: Glass shing oats are green and blue and can be fun decorations. (PHOTO BY GEORGE FULLER |SPECIAL TO NORTH HAWAII NEWS); Dr. Beachcomb says shells can be found on the top part of the sand, under rocks or where the waves break; Lazy Susan trays are an easy container for keeping sea shells and glass. (PHOTOS BY LANDRY FULLER)


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