Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Collection Report Feb 21, 2012

Monday, February 20th, 2PM. Hour before low-tide. Bright sun, 40 degrees. A rare brisk Winter '12 seabreeze.
February 20
But on the sands? Nothing. No wrack, rock, shell, paper, metal, or plastic. A void. So, a return Tuesday, February 21st. 1:15PM, a couple hours before high-tide. A repeat of the day before, weatherwise.
February 21, cusps, rocks, and...
And mostly a repeat of conditions on the ground. At least the regular, beautiful cusps are back. Behind, the sand slopes sharply up to the dunes; in front, the sand drops off sharply again to the low-tide terrace. But on either side? Still nothing. Zone N:
16 finds:
  • Building materials: 1 (asphalt)
  • Foam/Styrofoam: 0
  • Fishing misc.: 1
  • Food-related plastics: 1 (straw wrapper)
  • Food-related metal/glass: 3 (sea glass)
  • Nonfood/unknown plastics: 6 (survey flag/marker, tieback, 1 scrap >1", 3 scraps <1")
  • Cigarette filters/plastics: 4 (3 filters, 1 filter tip)
  • Paper/wood: 0
  • Misc./unique: 0

How dull? That dull. Oh, and Zone S? Zip. Not one bit of manmade debris washed in.

Thus ends one of the briefest collection reports I've ever done! I'd love for this to be great news... But at the beginning of the year, I got approval from National Fish & Wildlife Service to work on a second beach about 5 miles south, an untouristed little nook called Curtis Cove.
Yay, I'm official!
After removing, so far, 1000+ feet of fishing rope from the Cove -- plus hundreds of scraps of new washed-in plastic every week -- I know that the Gulf of Maine hasn't miraculously cleaned itself.*
One recent week's haul at Curtis Cove
The junk's just bypassing Bayview's shores. But in a way, this is exciting to me. The debris is out there, yet Bayview this year is monumentally different from last. The question is, why?

I'm working two hypotheses:

(1) A little-known phenomenon called "internal waves," which propagate through the water instead of on the surface. If those waves are missing or weak, seafloor debris may not get churned up enough to move onto land.

(2) Sandbars. If a series of sandbars has moved into the Bay just offshore, it might be blocking debris as well as dampening the energy of the incoming waves. The high-tide swash marks this winter have been pathetic compared to last year. Several yards further down the slope than last year's average. For whatever reason, the energy just isn't there at Bay View this year.

* I'm keeping track of my Curtis Cove finds too. Soon I'll devote a blog page describing what I'm doing there and will post its collection reports as well. Being a site that gets no tourists, practically everything I find has been washed in. And I'm learning that much of it has really fascinating stories to tell.

1 comment:

  1. The stories litter tells are one of the compelling if not addictive aspects of litter-picking. From uncashed paychecks to pink bras, to keys, coins, brand new mircophone, the urban finds are as surprising as the those the ocean dispenses upon the shores.
    Litter picking - modern day treasure hunting.