Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Collection Report Dec 19, 2011

Monday, December 19. 1PM, an hour after high-tide. Sun & thin clouds, a chilly day with a dusting of morning frost at the wrack line.
Well, what passed for a wrack line. Seems like yet another week with no energy bringing anything in from the ocean. (Organic or otherwise.) And the evidence showed more offshore winds -- all the old twigs & leaves high up against the dunes had been blown down to the tide line. Presumably much of whatever washed in was blown & pushed back out too.

So a quick day at the beach. Leaving me to marvel at icy ghosts:
A message from the dawn, blown who-knows-where by the time I arrived.

On to the (very brief) specifics. Zone N:

30 finds:
  • Building materials: 4 (3 asphalt, 1 tile)
  • Foam/Styrofoam: 6
  • Fishing misc.: 1 (tiny rope scrap)
  • Food-related plastics: 1 (Pringles can seal)
  • Food-related metal/glass: 2 (sea glass)
  • Nonfood/unknown plastics: 3 (tampon, bandaid, scrap <1")
  • Cigarette filters/plastics: 13
  • Paper/wood: 0
  • Misc./unique: 0
Again, so few things. Why did one have to be so gross? As for the cigarettes, as before they were mostly clustered up near the access point by the drift-log that seems to collect & shelter them. A few fresh, most older.

A quick hit over to Zone S, which was equally thrilling:
17 finds:
  • Building materials: 5 (asphalt chunks)
  • Foam/Styrofoam: 2
  • Fishing misc.: 3 (rope, 2 claw bands)
  • Food-related plastics: 2 (fork scrap, straw wrapper)
  • Food-related metal/glass: 0
  • Nonfood/unknown plastics: 3 (black tape, tennis ball, 1 scrap <1")
  • Cigarette filters/plastics: 0
  • Paper/wood: 0
  • Misc./unique: 1 (yarn)
December's pattern is nice. If deceiving. But what does it mean? Did this part of the Gulf of Maine divest itself heavily back in November? Are December's currents pulling material offshore? Is the offshore wind as big a factor as it seems? I wish I knew.

In the meantime, big news for TFD. Curtis Cove in Biddeford, an untouristed end-of-the-road spot and major collection point for seaborne garbage, is now under the protection of the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge. I met with them in November, and they've given me a year's access to the Cove to explore & collect washed-in debris there. Much work, that. But probably some great insights into the true nature & extent of what's out there fouling the Gulf of Maine. Look forward to some new collection reports in the new year!


  1. Harry, Good luck with your Curtis Cove project. It will be interesting to see your data.

  2. Thank you Al! I've pulled 80 lbs. of rope and other debris off it so far. Trying to get down to some kind of "baseline" so I can see what's coming in each week. Of course, it looks like winter is finally arriving tomorrow, so my plans may be scuppered for a while.