Sunday, March 18, 2012

Collection Report Feb 29, 2012

Wednesday, February 29, 2012. 10:15 AM. Happy Leap Day! A gray, brisk morning, low tide, temps about 30 degrees F.
Look, a wrack line! A pathetic one, but more pronounced than most this winter. The latest high-tide was extremely weak though, barely pushing swash 1/3 of the way up the beach.

Still, the waves & winds managed to form a new range of cusps -- high grounds of sand with low troughs in-between, spaced evenly up and down the shoreline. And they dumped enough sand to bury some (much?) of what they brought in:
Well hello, little... scrap of bag?
Um, no, entire bag!
Just north of my zones, a washed-in lobster trap held half a dozen broken beer bottles from a recent party. More troubling is what happens to a trap as it slowly rots on the seafloor.
When the vinyl scrapes against the bottom enough to expose the steel, the steel rusts & bubbles out. Eventually it splits and bursts the vinyl coating into tiny scraps. Each rusting lobster trap can spew off 1,000 or more little pieces of vinyl that then bounce colorfully along the sea bottom and likely into the food web. There are likely half a million -- or more -- rotting lobster traps at the bottom of the Gulf of Maine.

At any rate, the week had some excitement, though not for volume of debris. Zone N:
19 finds:
  • Building materials: 1 (brick)
  • Foam/Styrofoam: 2
  • Fishing misc.: 2 (claw band, vinyl trap coating)
  • Food-related plastics: 0
  • Food-related glass/metal: 3 (1970s can scrap, 2 sea glass)
  • Nonfood/unknown plastics: 6 (bag, rubberband, plastic cord, 1 scrap >1", 2 scraps <1")
  • Cigarette filters/plastics: 3
  • Paper/wood: 1
  • Misc./unique: 1 (fabric scrap)
Number-wise, nothing worth noting. But this guy is worth noting:
This pull-tab era aluminum top to a steel can is 30+ years old. It's the second such ancient piece of aluminum to wash into Bay View within a few weeks. If an offshore sandbar is shifting, revealing ancient debris, maybe it's blocking the transport of new debris at the same time. The junk is still out there. Maybe this humble scrap is a big clue as to why it's currently bypassing Bay View.

Anyway, on to Zone S:
14 finds:
  • Building materials: 2 (brick)
  • Foam/Styrofoam: 1
  • Fishing misc.: 2 (claw band, monofilament line)
  • Food-related plastics: 2 (sauce pack lid, fork/spoon scrap)
  • Food-related glass/metal: 2 (bottlecap, sea glass)
  • Nonfood/unknown plastics: 4 (bag, old comb, 1 scrap >1", 1 scrap <1")
  • Cigarette filters/plastics: 1
  • Paper/wood: 0
  • Misc./unique: 0
This poor thing is probably glad finally to be at rest:
I wonder if it had been buried under a sandbar for 30 years too?

Another week down. The numbers are as unimpressive as they've been most of the winter. But sometimes it's not about how much you find; it's about how much you can find out.

No comments:

Post a Comment