Thursday, February 10, 2011

Collection Report Feb 5, 2011

Finally! After 2+ weeks of single-digit weather and multiple snowstorms, Saturday, Feb 5 gave a tiny window for beachcombing. In the morning the ground was frozen. At noon it was high-tide. But now, at 3:30PM, just before dusk, I had a chance.
The drifts by the dunes were easily 2 ft high
For the first time since Jan. 14 it (a) wasn't storming and (b) was above freezing! I opened a bag and started trolling. The conditions seemed right for finding more washed-up bits & bobs:
Where there's pulp, there's plastic
But just about then, Mother Nature turned mean. Again. We had been promised an "evening storm." (Which is one reason I wanted to get out and get this collection done while I could.) Well, the evening storm started at -- you guessed it -- 3:30PM.
The race was on. Every flake of snow was sticking, obscuring the view. I rushed through Zone N because I just couldn't abide another lost week. It wasn't thorough, but at least it was something. Sadly, by the time I got to Zone S, this was the view:
Foiled again. Admitting defeat, I went grumpily home.

Then I got good news. Things were looking up for the next day. It was supposed to be sunny and warmer. A clear sun might melt that snow, and I could pick up where I'd left off. So I came back on a bright, 36° F morning at 9:30, low tide. And the sun was already melting the snow. In fact, it was turning out to be the nicest day we'd had in weeks. A fact not lost on several other Mainers:
36 degrees?? Beach party!!!
I found a parking spot in the remarkably busy lot, and triumphantly reached the shore. And then I saw this:
Footprints in exchange for flotsam
Where did all those lines of debris go!? Out with the overnight tide. It had been what I've dubbed a "Scour Tide." Through the mystical mechanics of tide height, air temperature, wind, and wave energy, the ocean literally stripped back everything from the surface of the beach, like a natural Zamboni. Up and down the shore, all that remained was clean sand and footprints. Oh, and one piece of debris, far down at the water's edge:
A bone was thrown
It was a very short trip. There was, quite simply, almost nothing to see. I apologized to Mother Nature for believing I'd gotten the best of her. I know now: she always wins. Nonetheless, I had managed to collect a bit before the snows & scouring came. Here's Zone N:
71 finds:

  • Building materials: 2 (chunk of asphalt, grooved wooden limb/leg)
  • Foam/Styrofoam: 0
  • Fishing misc.: 37 (rope bit, 2 trap bumpers, 3 monofilaments, 3 "rope guts", scrap of net, trap vent with net attached, long trap frame base (not collected, photo taken), 9 claw bands, 16 bits of lobster trap vinyl coating)
  • Food-related plastics: 4 (2 cap seals, twist-tie, Bud Light label)
  • Food-related metal/glass: 7 (4 can scraps, bottlecap, 2 sea glass)
  • Non-food/unknown plastics: 19 (inc. bag, J-hook, Johnson & Johnson cap, rubber ball scrap, Xmas tree scrap, vinyl upholstery scrap, brush scrap, hinged/hooked clear plastic thing, umbrella base, bead (?), balloon)
  • Cigarette filters/plastics: 0
  • Paper/wood: 0
  • Misc./unique: 2 (cord, small stamped leather scrap)

It's not all that was there, I know. But it's all I could do. Still, it tossed out a few head-scratchers.
J-hook pipe hanger
Brutalized plastic (I think!) brush end
Odd trap/net arrangement
(For more finds pictures, check out the Flotsam Diaries Facebook page.)

Zone S was... well, interrupted:
11 finds:

  • Building materials: 0
  • Foam/Styrofoam: 0
  • Fishing misc.: 4 (1 monofilament with textile attached, 3 vinyl trap coatings)
  • Food-related plastics: 1 (Heineken label)
  • Food-related metal/glass: 2 (sharp bottle scraps)
  • Non-food/unknown plastics: 3 (rubber band, two tiny hard scraps)
  • Cigarette filters/plastics: 0
  • Paper/wood: 0
  • Misc./unique: 1 (scrap of leather)

Annoying. Still, from even this stunted "collection" there was one interesting item:
Monofilament fishing line w/
towel/shirt scrap attached?
And there we go. 82 finds from between Jan. 14 and Feb. 6. Sounds nice & low. Almost... "clean." But as the pictures show, it's all about the tides (and ice). What was there on Saturday was gone on Sunday. It may have been back Monday. I'll never know. What will be there when next I return? Nobody knows. All I know is, there will be something.

And probably, someone.
Like I've said, there is no off-season

No comments:

Post a Comment