Magic Beach Project

Thursday, June 09, 2005

The hermit crab

Hello. Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Herman and I am a hermit crab.

I'm currently living in the shallow waters off Lipanoi beach on the island of Koh Samui in the Gulf of Siam (Thailand). The beach is about 3 miles long, a beautiful crescent shape with fine, pale yellow sand, fringed with palm trees. On this side of the island there are no rocks and no prevailing winds that cause ugly swathes of seaweed to be washed up on the beach in the storms. You couldn't ask for a more idyllic spot. At low tide the water is very shallow and the tall two-legged monsters they call humans have to wade out for hundreds of yards before the water even comes up to their waists. This means that at low tide my hunting grounds are vast - it's much easier for me to hunt in the shallow water. Close to the beach is a buddhist temple and a school and sounds of the temple drum and the children's laughter drift out across the water and filter down into my sub-aqueous existence.

Unfortunately the time has come for me to move again. My current accommodation - in a whelk - has really become much too cramped. I have been putting this off for a while - house-hunting is such a tiresome business. This morning I went down to the end of the beach where the fishermen's village is. I had thought this would be an ideal place to start my search as the currents sweep lots of shells into that part of the bay. However, you can imagine my horror at the pollution I found there. The fishermen are all very poor and live in plastic tents with wooden floors. They have hardly anything to their name except perhaps a colour TV, a mangy dog, a rooster and a couple of kids. Unfortunately they throw all their rubbish into the sea - bits of broken glass, fish-heads, plastic wrappers, etc. so that part of the beach is really not at all pleasant. As they say in the real estate business, it's a case of 'location, location, location' and I do not think that I want to be located just there.

On my way back I spied a murex that was available. The interior was the most beautiful rose pink. Now I'm not a snob, no, really I'm not, but the outside looked as if it had seen better days and there were encrustations and barnacles all over it. To make matters worse there was a big hole in the roof. Security being the buzz word today I couldn't possible take that home on as I would never sleep soundly at night.

What I would really like is one those fancy nautilus shells - you know the ones I mean - the ones with those beautiful cream and brown exteriors with lots of lovely chambers inside. You'd have plenty of room to move around in one of those. However, I don't think that nautilus shells come on the renting market very often so I'll probably have to set my sights a little lower.

One of my friends mentioned that they'd seen a rather nice trochus going begging so I think I'll pop along and have a quick look. If it's still available I could always move in now and look for something more permanent later. I've reached the age where I'm distinctly choosy about where I'll live and I certainly won't take up residence anywhere I feel is below my station in life. After all, we hunter-gatherers have a certain reputation to live up to.

I'll keep you posted on developments in my search for the ideal home.


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