Hunting for Glass Orbs on Block Island

In 2018, he covered 22 miles in 48 hours, with no luck. In 2019, after another unsuccessful day left him physically and emotionally exhausted, his girlfriend, Lisa, suggested they head back via a stretch of sand near Payne’s Dock. There, Lisa casually found an orb hidden in an old tire.

“I now believe it’s more about karma than data,” said Mr. Holbrook, 52, a marketing director from South Weymouth, Mass. “Was this little stretch of sand on my heat map? No way. Was this little treasure meant to be found by Lisa? Absolutely.”

This is a common theme of orbivore stories: The floats appear when you least expect them to, or when you’ve lost your will, or when you need a little wink from the universe.

Last winter, Isaac Ariel, 67, a retired I.T. professional and Block Island resident, casually found a No. 61 float on the beach, two days before the 61st birthday of his orbivore wife, Susan.

“Finding a float is a bit like finding love,” said Ms. Holmes, a retired educator from Newburyport, Mass., who honeymooned on the island. “You have to be open to it and not try too hard, but then when the moment is right it finds you.”

Ms. Holmes, who is also a hider, found her first float unexpectedly after days of intensely scouring the trails. She spotted a snake in the grass one afternoon. After a brief moment of panic, she realized it was wrapped around a float, like it was some kind of glass apple in the Garden of Eden.

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