Saturday, November 27, 2010

Collection Report Nov 17, 2010

A chilly and rainy week. But the clouds finally broke briefly in the early afternoon of November 17, so off to the beach I went.
Surf's up
The ocean was still all worked up from the various storm systems that had passed through. There were even whitecaps out on Eagle Island, a little spur of rock and grass 1 1/4 miles offshore.
A rare sight
So it was with some surprise (relief?) that this particular outing brought in a fairly small haul. Though, as always, a couple eye-openers. For one thing, if there had been any doubt before about the source of all the shotgun shells and wadding I'd been finding, this dispelled it.
What -won't- a barnacle grow on?
For another, Mother Nature had managed to cart up a curious 3ft x 2ft chunk of fiberglass.
Bathtub surround?
On to the report. First, Zone N:
35 finds:
  • Building materials: 3
  • Foam/Styrofoam: 12 (mostly the backing from the bathtub surround)
  • Fishing misc.: 4 (2 bits of rope, 1 barnacle-encrusted shotgun shell, 1 buoy scrap)
  • Food-related plastics: 8 (inc. freshly dropped chocolate milk bottle)
  • Food-related metal/glass: 1 (beer bottle scrap)
  • Non-food/unknown plastics: 3 (grocery bag scrap, bit of pink ribbon, bandaid)
  • Cigarette filters/plastics: 3 (2 local + 1 bit of plastic wrapper)
  • Paper/wood: 0
  • Misc./unique: 1 (fiberglass panel with foam backing)
Except for the fiberglass panel, a dull day in Zone N. Which is fine by me. Next, Zone S:
15 finds:
  • Building materials: 3
  • Foam/Styrofoam: 2
  • Fishing misc.: 2 (buoy scrap and strand of rope/line)
  • Food-related plastics: 5
  • Food-related metal/glass: 0
  • Non-food/unknown plastics: 2
  • Cigarette filters/plastics: 1 (floater)
  • Paper/wood: 0
  • Misc./unique: 0
A grand total of 50 pieces of debris. First I thought, "Wow, that's great news." Then it struck me... A small stretch of 40-degree beach, almost deserted for a month, pelted & churned by rain, and I'm excited that only 50 pieces of trash were visible? How low have I set the bar?

Then again, it is nice to be able to spend a little time enjoying nature, rather than stooping down every few seconds. You see things you normally wouldn't. Like the way a tide line can smooth out the pockmarks of an autumn storm.
Look ma, no debris
Or the way a saturated shoreline creates its own network of rivulets that branch back toward the sea. Ever toward the sea.
A tree grows in Bay View
So. Is this what's in store for the many frosty weeks to come? Or was this clean beach an anomaly, a one-off? What will next week's collection report tell? Turn the page... But I will give you one hint. That bit of fiberglass? It wasn't from a bathtub surround.

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