On the way, we rub our eyes, sip carafes of warm coffee, and share anecdotes while bouncing along the back roads of rural
The day was hot, she was sweaty, and so she finally decided “When in
The naked man did not leave (I’m no authority, but perhaps perpetually nude people are more patient than the rest of us). Finally, now completely chilled, the young lady decided to exit the water and pick up her clothes (first exchanging greetings with the man as is only proper when two naked strangers meet each other for the first time on a
Upon our arrival at Reed’s Beach we discover an incalculable army of seagulls overhead - squawking like crazy. The gulls, like us, are awaiting the arrival of the horseshoe crabs and all their eggs. Although it’s mid-May the beach is a cold and windy expanse of sand filled with black and white bodies bobbing and weaving along the shoreline. Gulls are dancing along the edge of the waves fighting for territory or guarding the precious tiny plots they have secured in anticipation of arriving crabs. Birds are also bobbing just beyond the wave line as long strands of seaweed ebb and flow across the surface. To the dismay of the birds, and the small group of crab-ologists watching this morning, there is not a single horseshoe crab in sight on this vast and lonely beach.
Part of the beach is cordoned off with long lines of yellow rope. Behind this artificial and presumably temporary barrier is a most prominent sign:
Please stop here. Please view shorebirds from the designated viewing area. This is an important shorebird feeding and resting area during May and June. Shorebirds stop in Delaware Bay to regain weight before continuing their migration north to
Along with all the legal dictates there are illustrations of four shorebirds including the Red Knot, Ruddy Turnstone, Sanderling, and Semi-palmated Sandpiper.
We wait…patiently…for the crabs to surface. But this is not to be their day. The surf is rough, the morning is rougher, and the conditions are less than ideal for crabs to spawn. Consequently, they remained in the protective waters of
We return to our cabins, grab our gear, and head back to The Wetlands Institute. After breakfast we are guided through a rapid series of workshops on horseshoe crab management, environmental concerns, and shoreline configurations in
« Since New Jersey is one of the most over-regulated states in the country, I strongly suspect that there must be some sort of law, rule, regulation, or statute somewhere in the state’s legal system which emphatically stipulates that “…when two naked people shall encounter one another on a beach within the confines of the state, said naked people shall greet each other in an appropriate manner using either their hands (e.g. handshake, “fisting”) or appropriate verbal exchange (“My, that’s a nice tan you have,” or “Hi, I don’t think I’ve seen you before!”). Said naked people shall not greet each other with language or body parts not previously approved by the New Jersey Department of Beach Decorum…yadda, yadda, yadda.”