Large root wad on a sandy beach, with it's reflection in wet sand

Root Wad Reflection

Stranded in the swash, this formidable root wad left its reflection in a fleeting mirror, the shiny surface between surf and dry sand.


Judging by the lack of encrusting pelagic goose barnacles, Lepas anatifera, it hadn’t been adrift long when it washed ashore. It lacked pelagic hitchhikers, but it had them; terrestrial hitchhikers from forested slopes. In the the image above you can make out a cryptic boulder tight in the midst of the wad. Other good sized rocks came along for the ride too.


A closer look shows that hitchhikers is an unfit metaphor. Prisoners is better. But it won’t be long ’til surf and sand erode the wad’s confining grip. One by one, release is a certainty.

For a similar story about bull kelp transporting rocks ashore from the subtidal, see Bull Kelp Drift: A Subtidal-to-Surf Zone Connection.



  1. Love your hitchhikers. It reminds me a bit of when trees fall (we live on a wooded hillside) and I’m always intrigued by what is brought up from below and held in the exposed roots. And the roots themselves have the most wonderful configurations.

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