Dead Dolphin ashore May 2016

Dead Dolphin ashore May 2016

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Changing tides

It will only be a matter of weeks and it will be the start of autumn and the beachcombing season as I know it will begin. Summers generally are flat when in comparison to winter and even though we had some unsettled weather during the summer, finds along the coast were very much as predicted including the annual heaps of smelly seaweed on the North Thanet coast.

Late autumn, winter and early spring on the Thanet coast is always a completely different ball game compared to the summer and the sea has the capability of turning up the weird, wonderful and unique. Last season we had the mass death of Velvet swimmer crabs and the stranding of the Sperm Whale at Pegwell bay that attracted media attention to our part of the coast. As regular readers of my blog will know I managed to get some remains of the Sperm Whale which is now part of the Monkton Natural History collection.

Recently I donated most of my collection of natural history finds from the past three years to the Marine Studios Albert Terrace Margate for them to exhibit and utilise in an artistic way. So this season I am looking forward to building another collection concentrating on the unique rather than the norm and I am very confident there is going to be some good finds.

Every Autumn I always plan for a great storm on the scale of the storms of 1953 and 1978 ensuring I have all the right equipment to do the job and review my plan of the areas along the coast I need to target. With all the turmoil going on in the world at present and the effect it has on the price of gold and silver a great storm of a 1978 magnitude will be a nice little earner for the beachcombing fraternity along the Thanet coast. I suppose with the price of fuel as it is there will be more driftwood collectors and sea coal collectors than usual taking advantage of the lesser but tempestuous storms. While on the subject of gold, I cast my mind back to the aftermath of the 1978 storm and recall the amount of gold and silver that was found then by metal detector users. I can recall digging deep holes in one of the Cliftonville bays looking for gold which is hard graft in wet sand in sub zero temperatures in gale force winds and on one occasion I found a battered 22 carat Victorian ring weighing 14.2 grammes which at today’s prices would fetch £440.00 scrap.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Channel Four tonight 21:00 hrs

Just a reminder, "Inside natures giant special" on Channel 4 tonight at 21:00 hrs features the dissection of the Sperm Whale that died in Pegwell Bay in March this year.

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Legends, myths and superstitions

Like Thanetonline I have received the same press release regarding the cancellation of the Monster Bass festival at Ramsgate, which I have copied in its original format and reads as follows.

"Ramsgate Town Council has found it unable to come to an agreement with the organiser of the Monster Bass this year on financial and logistical grounds.

The decision to terminate the negotiations with the Monster Bass organiser came about because of pressing time constraints.

Fortunately another local organiser has stepped into the breach to organise an alternative event, planned for the middle of September.

Ramsgate Town Council very much regrets the need to end its support for the Monster Bass this year and has offered instead to consider a revamped Monster Bass event for next year, if the resources are available.

Ramsgate Town Council has put £30,000 into the Ramsgate Events budget this year and has just received £30,000 from Thanet District Council making a grand total of £60,000. Even with such a modest budget, several successful events have already taken place, with others due to be staged within the coming months. All are on target financially and logistically and it is therefore unfortunate that the Monster Bass failed to surmount its difficulties. "

So it appears that the annual usual format of entertainment at Ramsgate will be temporary on hold and perhaps will reappear under a different name. It is not that I am opposed to such events, I think they are great. However, I am rather intrigued as to what the Monster Bass festival is all about and what it represents and what it is all about. Taking away the drinking, music, open air stalls and fireworks what exactly is Monster Bass ?

To be honest I am not to sure and a brief look at the Monster Bass website does give the impression that it is a new age resurrection of myths and legends of the Goodwin Sands , throwing in the ancient land of Lomea with a bit of spin. Myths and legends are a strange thing as it does give a licence to make anything up and wrap it up in a neat little package and present it as a form of culture, especially the subject of the sea , the coast and the new age theories.

So how sound is all of this, this in my view was put to the test in March this year when the Sperm Whale came ashore in Pegwell Bay. Considering in all ancient cultures including ours, a Whale stranding was considered a gift from the gods this was something special. So I was rather intrigued at the reaction of those with the new age knowledge and how they would react to such an event, as predicted absolutely nothing . However, I am impressed that the stranding did appear in a mural of the great wall of Ramsgate. Anyway, the Pegwell Bay Sperm Whale is featured on a channel four documentary Inside Natures Giants at 21:00 hrs on Sunday 7 th August.

Finally, getting back to superstitions, a Finnish sailor was treated with respect of born fear, since all Finns were supposed to be descendants and past masters in everything relating to wizardry and magic. It was believed that a Finn had the ability to avenge himself for any slight or injury and could have mysterious power over the elements. Thankfully for the locals in ancient times there are no records of Finnish shipwrecks on the Goodwins.