the sea horse


the little king was camping at picnic point with his baby sister and parents.

the day we joined them the southerly was coming in at full pelt and the surf way too big to enter.

lets walk the beach and look for treasures then .

best find gets a …

what ? what do we get? asks the seven year old.

well how about a gelati ?

but that’s not fair, everyone gets one of them, kingston replies.

granddad zooms in close holding a toadfish, all nasty grin and sharp spikes.

yipes and off he scampers.

the baby gets plonked in the sand the wind tugging at her bonnet, fat legs cycling and pushing, pudgy hands grabbing and shoveling whatever into her mouth.


we make up stories about the faded bottlecap, a left black thong, bits of plastic, smooth washed sticks and stones and then great drifts of weed- bronze green slippery and shiny, sludgey in places, cungi neptunes pearls straps and fine coral threads.

shells ; purple striped ,a spiral as tiny as bubs fingernail, trumpets and flutes, mother of pearl fragments.

soft washed and smoky glass

fishing lures sinkers bits of line.

all treasures depending on your eye.

and then we watch Kingston as he picks up a complete perfectly preserved sea horse.


you can say that again.


you win I say,

but grandma it isn’t over yet.

I know but what a gem.

muttonbirds lay scrunched up and forlorn brought down by storms starvation exhaustion after a journey of thousands of miles.

like us a couple of oyster catchers stalk the tide line while overhead a sea eagle measures our worth.


at the northern end of the beach we stop and shelter from the wind, it is warm and dreamy. granddad snoozes.

kingston and his dad throw sand at each other wrestling and laughing .

the baby climbs over her mum and me pulling herself to standing, wobbling about, feet bent in weird positions waving her arms chattering and chortling .

I pick her up to walk back, bending double into the strong wind .

your turn and I pass bub over to her dad.

your turn and he passes the sea horse to me.

one precious thing for another as he swings her into the air squealing and grabbing fistfuls of his hair.


over elevenses we pass the sea horse around reverently gently.

did you know that in evolutionary terms the sea horse has not changed at all.

and do you know that it ambles about in the ocean in a very leisurely manner making it one of the slowest fish we know.

and that the tail wraps itself around coral and seagrasses holds on tight and anchors itself against really strong currents.

and… they will hitch a ride on floating seaweed.

and you’ll like this one kingston- it is the male that gets pregnant and gives birth …. to a thousand or more at a time.

what an awesome creature eh?

mum can we go get a gelati now? says Kingston.


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