The man and the sea.
No – not the famous novel written by a far better writer than I’ll ever be. (Hemingway: The old man and the sea.)
This is about a strange man I saw a few months ago. What this man was doing has puzzled me for months, and I’m no closer to discovering what he was doing. My wife and I were at the beach having a late picnic lunch. Nothing unusual about that. Actually, we were not dressed for the beach and so we sat in the car to eat our lunch. It was wild and blustery, threatening to rain at any moment, not like the scene above. That photo was taken at an entirely different beach on a much better day. But I wander off topic.
We were parked in the car park a few metres from some wooden steps leading across the sand dunes and down to the beach. An old rusty station wagon pulled up alongside of our car and a rough looking unshaved man emerged from the driver’s seat. Next, a woman, presumably his wife, and another older woman, possibly his mother, also alighted from the vehicle. They were not well dressed; in fact, they certainly didn’t look attired for the beach at all. The wind whipped their bedraggled hair as they gathered about ten plastic water containers from the rear of the car. The kind that hold about twenty litres.
They carried these down to the water’s edge, depositing them just clear of the waves. The man had no shoes and we watched as he waded into the shallows and proceeded to fill each water container from the sea. As each was filled he placed it beyond the reach of the waves and filled the next one. When all ten were full of sea water, he started carrying them up to the car, struggling through the soft, squeeky sand and grunting with effort up the steps and to the car where he placed them in the back. Five times he made this trip, two containers at a time.
All three then drove off in the car carrying about two hundred litres of salty water in the back. How strange. Why would anyone want to collect sea water – and so much? I’m lost for an explanation of this strange behaviour.
Can any of my readers throw any light on possible reasons?
Of course I was so puzzled I didn’t think of the obvious course of action. I could have asked him! But I didn’t, so I’m left with this conundrum; why?