Even though I grew up on the Puget Sound in Washington State, I never knew these beaches were covered with semi-precious stones until a couple of years ago when this secret was shared by some friends.
Agates can be found lots of places, but they are scattered all over Puget Sound beaches, where they live in the beachy substrate and are turned over by wind, waves, tides and current… and are constantly replenished by eroding cliffsides falling into the waters of the sound.
Agate hunting is a perfect “downtime” activity when injured… with my arm in a sling, I can still walk a beach.
Even though I have lots of hobbies, many of them are dependant on the conditions or weather. Agate hunting not only gives you something to do on the beach but is also perfect for when snow is low in the mountains or the skate park is not dry enough to skate for example. For agate hunting, a lower tide, and a little sun helps, but you can almost always go agate hunting.
Sometimes, you find nothing, sometimes, you find just one agate and that’s enough. And sometimes you clean up and find lots of agates!
The biggest agate I’ve found is about the size of kiwi fruit, but they get much much larger than that. I’ve fallen into a trap of looking for smaller agates, and my friends tell me I need to open up my eyes to the possibility of bigger agates in order to find them. But it’s not all about size, rather clarity or striations. And one of the coolest agates I’ve seen, not mine, was a “black agate” which looked like a black rock, but when held up to the sun it is translucent!
Eco-warrior Raleigh had hesitations about taking these stones off the beach, but the way I see it, these stones found me, I didn’t find them, which makes it all, ok.