Thursday, July 7, 2011

Shark Eggs

After high school, I lived and worked in Santa Barbara for about a year.  The beaches were perfect for long walks, with  tall cliffs on one side and the endless ocean horizon on the other.  As often as I could, I walked the coastline.  The waves would cover the beach and crash against the rocks  and cliffs at high tide, making it impossible to walk unless you ran between the scalloped curves of the cliffs as the waves receded.  Risky business. Getting caught by the waves meant a good thrashing and the chance of being pulled out.  The peaceful, beautiful ocean I loved to watch became a threat. Walks were planned around the tide schedule.

On one walk at low tide, washed up on the beach, I found a strange, seaweed-like package with what looked like a little fish moving around inside. Didn't know what it was.  A friend at the university who was taking an oceanography course took it to her professor. He said it was a shark egg case, that they were very unusual to find.

Fast forward thirty-five years to last weekend at the Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific, where they have a display of shark egg cases.  They carefully cut open the outer layer, replace it with a clear plastic window, label it with the due date and display it for viewing.

What I could see in the found egg case as I held it up to the light, can now be clearly seen in all the stages of development.

Here, the egg cases hang in a tank at the aquarium, a strange surreal scene while they develop and grow.

There are many different types of egg cases, with distinct shapes and markings, depending on the type of shark.  These are white spotted bamboo sharks and brown banded bamboo sharks that grow up to three feet long.

In the touch pools, with the bat rays and sting rays, these sharks seem happy to be touched and handled ("Two fingers only," the Aquarium staff repeatedly remind the young and old observers). The sharks feel rough if you run your (two) fingers against the scales, smooth if you touch it front to back; the rays feel soft and velvety.

The Lord's care for His creation is unique and specific to each creature's needs.
The Lord's care for us is unique and specific to our needs.
"...for your Father knows what you need, before you ask Him."
Matthew 6:8


  1. This is a fascinating post, Maureen! Remembering that scripture - forgetting the reference - "Those who go down to the sea in ships see the wonders of God in the deep" - and here you found a wonder washed up on shore! The Lord brings His wonders to our doorstep everyday, if we're willing to look for them. You have keen eyes, milady. Please visit my young birding friend and brilliant writer, David at I Wonder as I Wander - - I think you will really enjoy his posts - he's new to the blogworld this year, too and wants to build his readership of kindred spirits. His devotional writings about nature are amazing and informative. Right now he's doing a short story trilogy post inspired by a trip to Tombstone, Arizona. Making time later to peruse your short stories. I might think about extending my own site that way, too. Getting ducks in order, though, just now.
    Joy to you!

  2. This morning I read in Psalm 8, v.8-9, "...the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes through the paths of the seas. O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Thy name in all the earth!" I thought of these little egg cases, waiting somewhere in the depths. There is so much we aren't even aware of, all we take for granted, but the Lord knows - He is aware.
    I'll be checking out David's blog, thanks for the recommendation.
    When you get all your ducks in a row, let me know how. My flock looks more like an exploding firecracker than a nice little line...

  3. Maureen,
    Your photographs of the shark egg cases brings back memories of my youth. I would always find a black, empty egg case or two on the sandy beach in New Jersey where we spent a week each year "down-the-shore." I loved the ocean and still do. The waters off New Jersey are cleaner than they were in the 1970s. Hermit crabs can even be found now. A walk along the beach after supper when it is quiet is such an easy place to be to talk with my Heavenly Father.
    Karen A.

  4. Karen, Thank you for visiting this blog - I was on yours today, too. One of my projects for this week is to redefine and plan the focus for the next year of our schoolwork. The written in, dog-eared Charlotte Mason Companion is on the top of my book pile as I thumb through, re-read and look ahead to what the Lord has for us in the coming months. i appreciate you and your wise, well-thought words.