Margate Beach 12 April, 2014

About a month ago we went to the beach with my buddy Roy and his family went to Margate Beach. It was a lot like beaches in Washington – it was chilly, the wind coming off the water was cold, the clouds were low and thick and the population on the beach was more diverse than the neighborhood around it.

Unlike beaches in Seattle, the water was not greenish-clear. It’s a milky, opaque color because of the chalk cliffs. This is actually the same slab of chalk deposited some millions of years ago that give the white cliffs of Dover their name, and apparently they erode to the tune of several centimeters a year. The rock is so soft you can easily scratch it with your fingernail. The seaweed was also unlike anything I’ve seen in Seattle, too. There weren’t any of the long strands of kelp but instead millions of little gaseous balls attached to tiny strands of plant matter. I’m no expert on molluscs, but the shells I saw seemed to be smaller and less colorful than in the PNW. I may have been looking in the wrong places, though.

We had a lot of fun. We had a nice picnic and walked around and watched the tide recede. The shelf is so flat that the water line decreases with each wave; in just a minute the waves are falling a meter short of where they were earlier. The tide line eventually goes out about fifty meters from what I understand, but we had to pack up and leave before we got the full low tide experience.

I used my Cokin neutral grad filters for the first time. I think it’s a good, not great, system, and I’m glad I’ve invested in it. The plus side is that it’s ridiculously easy to stack filters to get exactly the density and gradation that you need, and you can stack the density on top of a circular polarizer without any fear of the dreaded X. The drawback is that you really need a straight horizon to make them work right; any irregularities and you’ll get odd bright and dark spots that call attention to themselves.

As always, click to enlarge: