Thursday, November 18, 2010

Collection Report Nov 4-11, 2010

So early November was a tricky one for a Flotsam Diarist. Fun fact: Novembers in Maine are kind of cold, windy, dreary, and rainy! I tried to hit the beach on Nov 4, but the wind and rain chased me off after only a few minutes. All I accomplished was a quick scan of the high-tide line for the obvious bits.

I managed to get out for a few more minutes on Nov 7. As you can see, nature had been busy scouring the sands.
The cleanest of slates
My daughter came along too, carrying her own special bit of flotsam - her new favorite yellow shovel, rescued from the beach in August.
Flotsam Diarist 2.0 beta
As the attire shows, November 7 also wasn't an ideal collection day. Plus, a 3-year-old doesn't really have that kind of patience. So on to November 8. Which started interestingly enough:
Ooh, little bit of rope
Or not so little
You just never know
And after this moment, what would happen? Yes. More rain.

But finally, November 10 was... well, it was cloudy, 41 degrees, and insanely windy. But for an hour, it actually wasn't raining. So I finally got in the full walk.
The proof is in the footprints; all mine (OK, except the dog's)
So this is a slightly unorthodox collection report, from a slightly unorthodox two weeks. Here's Zone N.
67 finds:

  • Building materials: 8 (7 slats, one post end)
  • Foam/Styrofoam: 12
  • Fishing misc.: 10 (2 buoy bits, 1 lobster trap entry net, 4 rope scraps, 2 long bits of twine, 1 shotgun shell wadding)
  • Food-related plastics: 8 (inc. banged-up coffee lid scrap and very eroded plastic/foil scrap)
  • Food-related metal/glass: 5 (1 can, 1 can scrap, 3 bits of sea glass)
  • Non-food/unknown plastics: 15 (inc. shovel, hard solid plastic rod/fitting, balloon scrap, 5 bits of plastic bags, central webbing from bandaid
  • Cigarette filters/plastics: 4 (3 locals + 1 floater)
  • Paper/wood: 3 (1 swiffer cloth, 1 dryer sheet, 1 Dubble Bubble wrapper)
  • Misc./unique: 2 (Buzz Lightyear balloon, golf tee)

Some usual suspects. And one not so usual.
To Infinity and...
This collection's biggest haul by mass was fishing gear.
Wish I had the whole buoy #
Here's a closeup of that contraption (part of a lobster trap, it turns out) that was mostly buried in the sand:
Not part of a Lady Gaga costume
And my current nemesis, styrofoam:
Same colors show up week after week 
Unlike last week, Zone S didn't produce much of note, except an abraded lobster trap tag from 1999.
25 finds:
  • Building materials: 5 (asphalt chunk, 4 fence slats)
  • Foam/Styrofoam: 5
  • Fishing misc.: 4 (3 bits of rope, 1 trap tag)
  • Food-related plastics: 0
  • Food-related metal/glass: 2
  • Non-food/unknown plastics: 7
  • Cigarette filters/plastics: 2 (1 local, 1 floater)
  • Paper/wood: 0
  • Misc./unique: 0

All in all, the finds are still across the spectrum, and are still coming from local drops, blow-ins, and wash-ins. (The latter two more than the former now, which makes sense.) And the cigarette count remains utterly collapsed -- a welcome sign, but one that's making me rethink some of my assumptions.

This was a period of biting wind, drizzling -- sometimes pouring -- rain, and shifting sand. The slope of the beach is changing, but in ways I wasn't quite expecting. Close to the water, it's eroding fast. But close to the dunes, new sand has been dumped. The beach is becoming steeper, and every week the contours change. As shown by the lobster trap/rope, the surprises are there. Just biding their time. What will the next report bring?


  1. Which assumptions are you rethinking?? Just curious... as I've made so many assumptions about cigarette butts in the past few months :)

  2. Well, a few actually. The biggie is the idea that lots of butts were floating in with the tide. Even if beachgoers are gone, the #s should still be high from tide-borne debris. But I'm down at like 7-8 per collection, from 100+. So maybe there's just not that many in the bay?? (Which means maybe I misread all the abraded ones -- maybe they got rubbed raw on the beach itself?) Then again, all the wind and rain maybe buried or camouflaged them. If they're buried by fresh sand, then that makes me rethink how the sands erode after summertime. If they were blown somewhere else, why didn't the styrofoam blow away too? Lotta questions.

    What I really want is a tracking device. Just dump something that floats like a cigarette into the river and actually get a readout on where it goes and what it does!