Friday, July 06, 2007

Strathmere Sandcastle

This fantastic and huge sandcastle was built on the beach at Winthrop - click images for larger views


Anonymous said...

What a great sandcastle!

It must have taken hours to complete.

Ellen said...

We're glad you like our Sandcastle!
And yes, it took hours and lots of people to complete. The sand at Strathmere is perfect for large sandcastles we are told and you can see in these wonderful photos that is true!

Thanks to world championship sandcastle artist John Gowdy, who hails from Atlantic City (a retired firefighter) and travels the world to sandcastle competition everywhere. He is relocating to Italy with his wonderful new family and will pursue a longtime dream to further his love of marble sculpture but will be here in NJ as well many other places. John's links: and email:

This was an event for our large family. The Olivers, Bob, Ellen & Liam live on Winthrop in Strathmere whenever they can and in Lansdowne, near Leesburg, VA when they cannot. The McBreens: Martie & Tommy live in Sea Isle and Their grandkids: Victoria & Denis helped. The Dugdells from Ashburn, VA (grew up in Delaware County PA) Rich & Chris with their kids: Kenny, Rachel and Brendan and Judy & Hans Schichl from Purcellville, VA with Eion and Meaghan.

We began about 9:30am with the older kids Liam (17) and Kenny (12) doing the heavy shoveling for the base and tamping it down. This is serious business because a sandcastle approaching eleven feet tall must be properly constructed to avoid injury to people and sandcastle. The sand must be packed rock hard by adding lots of water and pounding - they used their feet while a mold formed the base, progressively adding layers and pounding more... the higher one goes the less room to pound but it must be done perfectly or your castle will collapse.

A very big and tall sandcastle is not an amateur undertaking but do not let that stop you from making lots of Large ones - because it is just fabulous to do and you need very few tools.

After several layer-cake like progressively smaller layers of sand had been constructed, the top layer is let free and molds made from PVC pipe pieces in various widths and height are used to add turrets. These are topped by sand in kitchen equipment such as funnels and other readily available things with fun shapes. The detail carving can be done with popsicle sticks for little ones and sculpture tools available at craft supply shops and/or mortar trowel.

It is really not difficult and it is amazing the detail that can be sculpted from properly prepared sand!

The castle was preserved with a mixture of Elmers glue and non-salt water sprayed on in a mix of 9 parts water 1 part glue mixed to the consistency of skim milk and sprayed on with a deck sprayer. It would have lasted indefinitely with that fixative.

We finished for the day at about 4:30pm, hanging around and admiring it for much longer, continuing to add little details. It lasted several days and the tide went completely around it without affecting it - it looked great with the water around the base!

We had the most wonderful party ever and in our family that is something! Everyone will have this memory and that is the best of all. Plus, now we are Sandcastle Specialists and considering entering the annual Sea Isle competition in the family grouping!

Thanks for posting these wonderful photos of the OliverMcBreenDugdellSchichlCollier family Sandcastle.