Friday, January 17, 2014

Flowers in the Sea

Seven mile beach is remarkably clean.  There's no litter and no hawkers.  At our end its just a bare naked beach with houses facing up against it, palms, sea-grape and some tall windswept barrier trees at public access to the shore, so we were confused when we kept finding fake flowers in the sea.

I mean, like finding them often.

It went like this.  You are swimming and suddenly you see something bright in the water by you.  You snag it from the waves and find its a plastic tiger lily or a blue petal or a pink begonia.  I started to make a collection.

Selfie with found flowers
My first theory was that they are falling off tourists' beach hats and sarongs but I never saw women festooned with fake flowers.  Not even one.  The second theory was that the locals had window boxes of fake flowers because the sea spray made it hard to grow real ones but I never spotted a window-box among the fronds of bouganvillea, red trumpets and orchids.

I wondered if it might be funerals.  Growing up in South Africa it was not uncommon to find marigolds or marigold garlands floating in the sea along the walking (not swimming) beaches.  We'd also find small red clay pots which we were told not to touch because they were from Hindu funerals.  It didn't seem likely that these were from Grand Cayman Hindus but it turns out I was getting close.  Here is the source of the flowers:

It seems that in the early days of Cayman settlement, people felt it was best to live inland.  They wanted the arable soil and to be safe from hurricanes and wild seas.  The beach was considered a risky place to live so all the island cemeteries were located on the shoreline, where they remain.  We are staying near Cemetery Beach CEMETERY and that is where the flowers originate.


tamusana said...

totally fascinating!!!! very cool detective work :-)

Shannon said...

Afterwards, it felt a bit obvious. Still, it can seem obvious that the world is flat when one is sitting on the beach.

Its clearing a bit after a tropical rainstorm. The sea is the clearest its been since we arrived although there is no sun!!!! SUN.. come back!!!