Mermaid’s fishing line – forty years ago in my nature notebooks

I always thought that it was odd that so much seaweed washes up on beaches. If seaweed has evolved over millions of years to hang on for grim death than why does so much of it end up being washed onto beaches? Forty years ago I was noting in my nature notebooks how common Bootlace Seaweed was. I prefer to call it Mermaid’s Fishing Line now although I’d rather be specific and call it Chorda filum.

Bootlace Seaweed - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) 2016 David Bailey (not the)

Walking Westray’s beaches I see lots of it washed up. Forty years later I finally understand why so much of it gets washed up; it’s because it’s an annual and dies during the winter.

Mermaid's Fishing Line - photograph (c) 2016 David Bailey (not the) - The Hall of Einar

Why did it take me so long to realise?

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