Thursday, March 1, 2012

Collection Report Feb 6-7, 2012

Monday, Feb. 6, 3:30PM. Low-tide. Brilliant late sun with its long shadows:
A whole lot of bright blue sky, and a whole lot of nothing else. The only thing to see was a dry "wrack" line of landborne reeds. The final gasp of the large sand-dump from two weeks before lay as a very faint sandbar just seaward from the foreshore. Otherwise, the beach was back to normal. No rocky strewn-field, no starfish, no tube-worm casings by the thousands. Just soft sand spread along from dune to terrace.

A lovely day for a walk, but dismal for collecting flotsam.

On a hunch, I stopped by again Tuesday. The difference a day makes. Noon, an hour past high-tide. Mostly cloudy, 40s again, slight onshore breeze, and another weak, low high-tide line. But... fresh seaborne wrack!
Overnight the Bay dumped a batch of fresh, seafloor "sea colander."
See? It sinks
All winter long there has been nothing floating into Bay View. Everything that gets kicked up is from different parts of the seafloor. In that regard, this week was the same as the past two months. But at least this week some combination of magic churned up the seabed and dragged in a few things of interest from the watery grave. First, Zone N:
78 finds:
  • Building materials: 9 (7 brick, 2 asphalt)
  • Foam/Styrofoam: 25
  • Fishing misc.: 9 (5 rope scraps, 2 clawbands, lure bag scrap, shotgun shell wadding)
  • Food-related plastics: 6 (2 bottlecap o-rings, 2 Solo cup scraps, food wrapper, fork)
  • Food-related metal/glass: 1 (can scrap)
  • Nonfood/unknown plastics: 17 (plastic glove, swiffer scrap, 2 toy scraps, battery/cartridge cover, silk flower, toggle weight ?, 5 scraps >1", 5 scraps <1")
  • Cigarette filters/plastics: 10 (9 cigarettes, 1 packaging)
  • Paper/wood: 0
  • Misc./unique: 1 (fabric swatch)
A lot of foam, but none of it showed signs of sea voyage. Probably bits and pieces blown in from up and down the shore, out of garbage cans or freed from dunes. The other, non-foam plastics showed signs of being ocean-borne. And like I said, they were all dense, sunken plastics tossed up from the seabottom.

Zone S:
30 finds:
  • Building materials: 9 (6 asphalt, wood offcut, tile, concrete)
  • Foam/Styrofoam: 6
  • Fishing misc.: 2 (rope scrap, bait bag)
  • Food-related plastics: 4 (bottlecap o-ring, 3 food wrapper scraps)
  • Food-related metal/glass: 1 (can)
  • Nonfood/unknown plastics: 5 (balloon w/ string, 2 large vinyl upholstery scraps, 2 scraps >1")
  • Cigarette filters/plastics: 0
  • Paper/wood: 1
  • Misc./unique: 2 (cloth strip, leather offcut)
Those upholstery scraps were some of the most brutalized, tortured pieces of vinyl I've ever seen. Whatever their story, I'm sure it's a doozy.

Still, flotsam-wise there really is no comparison between Winter '11 and Winter '12. The same can be said weather-wise. Are the two related? Does warmer air shut down the systems that normally drag thousands of bits of plastic into the bay? Does less snow/rain = less river runoff = changed circulation patterns? I don't know. But it's worth looking into.

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