Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Collection Report Feb 12, 2011

Bay View, Feb. 12. Even after a mini-thaw, this was a beach still held by winter's clutches.
1:15PM, 33 degrees, ~1 1/2 hrs past low tide
Surprisingly, this winter, for all its snowstorms, has brought little energy to the beach so far. We've had some extremely windy weather & even thundersnow. But ever since the Christmas storm, winds seem to have blown hard offshore as the tides approach. Waves have been low (the tide lines are several feet -- even yards -- below the level of last year's spring tides), and very little is either being tossed in or scoured back out.
December's flotsam: freed now, but undisturbed
No fresh lines of kelp, no other heavy detritus. Just old, dried, withered remnants of December -- and before. So, in a time of low ocean energy, what would a trip to the beach bring? First, Zone N:
64 finds:
  • Building materials: 6 (4 chunks of asphalt, brick, part of asphalt roof shingle)
  • Foam/Styrofoam: 0
  • Fishing misc.: 36 (5 claw bands/scraps, 2 rope scraps, 29 trap coating scraps)
  • Food-related plastics: 1 (gum)
  • Food-related metal/glass: 0
  • Non-food/unknown plastics: 16 (inc. tire-tread scrap, 2 bottle caps, umbrella base, caulk, hairband, tieback, 2 o-rings, bandaid)
  • Cigarette filters/plastics: 3
  • Paper/wood: 2 (wooden handle, fence slat)
  • Misc./unique: 0
Pretty much the normal spread. Dominated as usual by fishing debris, mostly scraps of the vinyl coating of lobster traps, ripped apart as the metal underneath rusts. (See "Ex Uno, Plures.") The piece of tread seemed odd. My hunch is that it's from an old waste tire used as a boat bumper, but that's just a guess.

Oh, and why list chewing gum as a food plastic? Because that's what chewing gum is. It's plastic: polyvinyl acetate and/or polyethylene, to name just a couple potential ingredients. All part of our plastic world.

On to Zone S:
47 finds:
  • Building materials: 10 (asphalt chunks)
  • Foam/Styrofoam: 0
  • Fishing misc.: 22 (3 rope scraps, 2 claw bands, 17 trap coatings)
  • Food-related plastics: 1 (fork tine)
  • Food-related metal/glass: 0
  • Non-food/unknown plastics: 13 (inc. bottle cap, duct tape, silly band, tiedown, o-ring)
  • Cigarette filters/plastics: 0
  • Paper/wood: 1 (fence slat)
  • Misc./unique: 0
More of the usual. Except for a bunch of small asphalt chunks this time. Maybe freeze/thaw shattered one big one? Don't know. As with Zone N, nothing really worthy of a close-up.

So that's about it for this week. This report sheds little light by itself. But it builds on what's come before. And it's a reminder that even a sleeping shoreline is still invaded every week by things that don't belong.
The ocean doesn't forget

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