Information & Guidance for Coastal Living At It's Finest

Manta Beach Walks

Beach Walking in Manta

Being in Manta when the weather is perfect (nearly all the time?) means one MUST walk the beach. If you head southwest, when the tide is down, you may encounter some surprises. One day we found three large bulldozers playing near the old shipwreck. We didn’t figure out what they were up to, but they sure had lots of cable. People were out collecting oysters, and kids fished or played in the surf around the ruin.  
The temptation to look down at the sand while walking yields surprises, too. Did you know you can spot sand dollar trails by the four dots shaped like a butterfly? Watch out; don’t let anyone see you collecting them – they say they’ll die, but I think God can spare one or two for us to learn about him from his creation.  Tiny snails in perfectly spiraled cone or dinner bun-shaped shells leave trails looking like tangled fishing line, or Pollock’s work; piles of sand like a gourmet cook’s spaghetti serving have to be from the clams or sea worms, I think. I’ve never been fast enough to catch one. See the tiny, greenish threads? Actually they’re worms. They stretch out like a line, then turn into a squiggle. A smooth cone with a hole in the middle is a crab house. They run across the beach sideways, with their claws up in the air, like a flamenco dancer (or are the dancers copying the crabs?) and pop into their holes too fast for our senses to comprehend. I think some early stories about things disappearing in thin air must come from people watching them.

Diving pelicans and terns provide more entertainment. Vultures, scissor birds, and frigates soar overhead.

One time a small heron surprised us - reminding us of beach walking at home in Washington State. Egrets in several sizes with yellow-green feet and two tone stockings fish at the water’s edge.
Walking on the rocks further down the beach, around several points, you can find fossils, sea urchins, anemone, and small fish. Men catch those and octopi using a tool made of a stick with a metal point or hook.

Beach walking icing is the sunsets – colorful, constantly changing, captivating.
Don’t neglect beach time while in Manta.

The Beach in Manta

Walking the Beach is Manta’s health program. I love watching the people. Couples from young to old walk hand in hand, pregnant women walk to prepare their bodies for childbirth, always with their spouse or a sister along, and most dogs walk obediently behind their owners, unleashed. It begins well before first light. My favorite is one couple I see every day: she is obviously recovering from health problems, maybe bad knees or a stroke- he shepherds her gently, but firmly, and waits patiently when she needs to rest; they smile lovingly at each other. She always wears nice earrings and makeup, her hair carefully styled.
On Saturdays, the pick-up soccer teams run to warm up for their games on the sand. Made up of teens or older men or macho groups of mixed ages, their games are great entertainment, for them and me. The military and police even pick the beach for their workouts.
Often personal trainers have their victims working out on the sand, poor things: One more, and a little farther….
I’m out there with the walkers every weekday. If I get out there at my usual 6:00 a.m. the people I see are much the same group every day. I meet a whole new group if I’m late. You can easily recognize the gringos so it’s a great way to meet the new ones in town.  I don’t know if it’s the clothes or the way they walk; somehow you can tell.
We rarely miss a chance to use the beach to get to town. On weekends or holidays it’s crowded with families. They come with just the clothes on their backs, stay all day, and everyone’s happy. The kids roll around in sea water caught in their excavations, squeal at the waves, run and chase each other, then sleep like the dead. Vendors come around with shaved/flavored ice, ice cream bars, coconuts, fruit, and other treats.

Don’t let a day go by without beach time during your stay in Manta.

By Sharon Statema, 11/2012
Pelicans Again

Watching pelicans’ feeding and flying habits is great entertainment. From my 6th floor balcony, I’ve observed them for many happy hours. Following a lovely soaring swoop with an unprincipled belly flop, they come up with breakfast with a cringing shake of their heads, then a good shake of the tail (not sure how that aids ingestion but they always do it), and a proud strut. When they miss, they get this little ‘you didn’t see that’ look. Did you know they fly in big vees like Canadian geese? Every so often one will soar near my balcony, turn their head (voyeurs, all) then continue on their way. They are really big up close.
While my granddaughter was visiting here in Manta, I began to tease her about the ‘penguins’, producing the much anticipated ‘GRANDma!’ At Christmas, she presented me with a handmade penguin, a two-by-four scrap painted black with white front, orange triangle beak, and glued on blue button eyes. Now I have to think twice before I ever refer to either bird to make sure I use the right name: penquin? pelican? Come to find out, there ARE penquins in the Galapagos. Who knew?

By Sharon Statema 11/2012
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