Wadd’s Up At The Wadden Sea!

So, I spent six months in a country that borders the carribean sea, and not once did I go swimming in it. Now I‘m back in Switzerland, and you can say whatever you want about it, but we have mountains not beaches! And yes, the mountains are just as beautiful and stunning, but have I mentioned that it‘s also raining? We‘re not even getting warm weather!

The Wadden Sea at low tide
The Wadden Sea at low tide

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It‘s a good thing, I suppose, that I spent the first week of August at the Wadden Sea in St. Peter-Ording in Germany. Now, that‘s something to look at. Miles and miles of sandy ground, the beach seems to go on for ages. Swimming is only fun when the tide is high, but low tide brings its own pleasures. Crabs, alive and dead, cockles, worms… the mud is very much alive. I realize of course that you wouldn‘t necessarily call a cockle a vivid and exciting creature – but if you put it in the sand somewhere in a sunny spot it starts to spin around and bury itself in the ground where it is safe from birds and other predators.
And then there was the most beautiful thing when we went for a walk late one night and the floor around our feet began to glow. Wikipedia calls this phenomenon the „Milky seas effect“, and it‘s basically just alga that, well, glows in the dark.

Lighthouse of Westerhever and salt meadow
Lighthouse of Westerhever and salt meadow

But ever so often, beautiful things are threatened – and so is the Wadden Sea. Its main enemy, climate change, is making the sea level rise drastically, giving the Wadden Sea‘s inhabitants not much of a chance to adapt. If the beaches are constantly flooded, where will all the cockle eating birds get their food? If the seals can‘t use the sandbanks for reprodction where they are safe from natural predators – how are we going to get more seal babies?

Seal-Safari
Seal-Safari
Walrus baby with moustache! (source: www.mittelbayrische.de)
Walrus baby with moustache! (source: www.mittelbayrische.de)

Oh, talking of babies (no, I‘m not getting one!), one of the things we regretted not being able to do was visiting the zoo in Hamburg. Their current highlight is the recently born walrus baby. It has a moustache – we all had to agree that this is one of the coolest things!
We had a pretty cool time, though. I got a tan (at last), we found kangaroos and when we went for a biking trip, only six of the twenty-five hired bikes broke. Holidays are fun!

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