SANDBRIDGE — Robert Rayson, a Chesapeake man who was a Navy cook and works in a shipyard, saw a commercial for a metal detector. It seemed like fun. So he bit.
Now he sometimes combs the beach at Sandbridge, as he did on Sunday, May 28. He walked a line near the edge of the waves’ arrivals, holding the detector in front of him and a metal scoop by his side.
“I mostly just come down here for the sunrise,” Rayson said. “I don’t usually find too much. Maybe a couple of quarters.”
He starts early, leaving home at 4:30 a.m.
“I like to beat the crowd,” he said.
Initially, he was mostly alone, but a few people joined him on the beach as the sunrise neared.
Laughing teenagers arrived in a car at the lot near Sandbridge Island Restaurant and Sandbridge Market, and they crossed Sandpiper Road to reach the sand.
A young man slept in the sand, clutching his cell phone, though his socks were about five feet away from the nearest foot.
And the carapace of a horseshoe crab, upside down like a broken bowl, was far enough from the water that it seemed something hungry might have carried it there in the night.
Rayson has been beachcombing a couple years, about every other weekend, usually early before the dawn comes.
Beachcombing can be exciting.
“If you find something.”
It’s also pretty relaxing.
“Just being here. Smelling the fresh air. Hearing the waves. The dolphins. I love the dolphins.”
He couldn’t recall finding anything strange in the sand, but once he found something atop the sand.
“I came out one Saturday, and there was a Buddhist statue.”
It was too big to take, perhaps two feet tall, and he didn’t mean to take it anyway. He just left it there on the beach, a likeness of Buddha facing the water.
“He was enjoying it.”
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