One resident, who admitted that she herself has taken pieces of glass from the beach, told the Gazette reporter, “Today I was sitting on a bench outside and was horrified to see two cruise ship passengers walking along with enormous plastic bags filled up to the brim with sea glass.” She added, “I was told of two tourists who went to the beach with five-gallon buckets and filled them up and took them back to the ship. I am so angry I could spit. I am appalled. You are not allowed to take sand, shells, coral or sea fans out of Bermuda. Why allow sea glass? Once the sea glass has all gone, that’s it. It’s too terrible.”
You might wonder what so-called sea glass is and why it might have any value. Quite simply, it's formed from glass objects that have been tossed in the sea (think beer bottles). After it's been broken up and weathered smooth by the action of salt water and sand, it's often washed ashore. Sea glass is found not only on beaches throughout Bermuda, such as Bottle Beach, it's also common in the Caribbean. The necklace pictured here featuring a sea glass pendant is one I purchased from a local jewelry crafter in Grand Turk. With a few beads, a leather thong, and some silver wire to surround the sea glass, the creative jewelry maker sold it to me for about $25.
My container of pink sand was purchased in a gift shop at King's Wharf nearly twenty years ago on my first trip to Bermuda. It was bottled by The Pink Sand Project of the Mental Health Services at St. Brendan's Hospital. The project, which offered me a way to take a bit of Bermuda home, also provided a meaningful activity for those suffering from mental illnesses. I'm not sure if anything similar is still available, but there certainly was a "legal" way to bring home sand from Bermuda beaches that benefited the community. If you're leery about openly collecting sand at the beach, you could always wait until you are back on the ship and pour the sand that's collected in your shoes into a bag.
Photos © Linda Coffman, CruiseDiva.com