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Searching For Sea Glass on Kwajalein

Who doesn't love a little treasure hunting every now and again? On Kwajalein, sea glass hunting provides the best kind of treasures that you can actually keep once you leave island. Decades of broken glass have been shaped and rounded by the ocean and end up on a variety of beaches. There are various colors of glass, some easier to find than others. The rarity of colors roughly goes as follows. White, green, and brown glass are the most common. Shades of blue are less easy to find, but especially pretty when discovered. Also in this category would be light yellow and auburn colors. The most rare and sought after colors are bright yellow, purple, orange and red. Typically, the biggest piece that you could expect to find of these colors would be the size of a pea.

While sea glass can appear on most any of Kwajalein's beaches, the primary places to find glass are on the southern part of the island. This is where much of the base's junk has been dumped for decades, thus providing an array of unique treasures along the shore. First and foremost is 'glass beach' on the west end of the runway. In my experience, this is the most reliable source of sea glass - especially when tides are less extreme. Additional search areas continue on the other side of telemetry hill at the surf area as well as at the moving beach on the very tip of the island. 

So how do you find the most rare colors of sea glass? Like I explained in our finding manta rays blog, the first step is simply going more often. Give yourself the opportunity to actually find the things you are looking for. Aside from this, my main advice is to go with the specific goal of only collecting these rare colors. It's easy to get distracted by the more plentiful colors when you first arrive at the beach. In fact, there are enough of whites, browns, and greens to keep you happy for an hour or more. The problem is that you're getting lost in the forest when you're looking for a tree. Understand that you might only find one or two rare colored pieces during your whole time at the beach, even if this is all you are looking for. And this is the best way to find these rare gems - exclusively looking for the bright colors. By focusing on the small, bright pieces and not getting distracted by the other colors, you give yourself the best chance of identifying these small glass pieces. 

The final trick that I incorporated into my sea glass hunting expeditions involves using nature's help. If you think about it, the layer of sand that you are looking at on the surface is just one of many lying underneath. If you go beach combing during mid tide, the waves can help to sort through the layers for you. I wear sandals and stand in the shallow waves, looking for a glimmer to appear along the surface. From that point, you must quickly grab the glass before it washes away or gets buried again. It's not easy to find these refined beauties, but if you go about it the right way, you can create a wonderful collection.


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