Saturday, December 22, 2012

Curtis Cove Report - Dec 11, 2012

Tuesday, December 11. 1:35PM, half-hour before low-tide. Bright sun, mid-40s.
Actually a beautiful December day with a mild land breeze, and excellent lines of wrack banding. I also had some company this day - a lot of company:
With berries & worms in short supply, the birds were now flocking to the relative warmth of the coast. They rooted through the rotting wrack, feasting on the bugs among it. (And whatever else was in with it.)

Down lower on the foreshore, the fine, saturated sand was eroding in incredible works of art:
Ephemeral beauty, gone in hours
And by the water's edge, a Curtis Cove first:
First mostly dead, then fully dead
When I tapped at this red sculpin (sea raven), presuming it dead, it wriggled! It had been speared or clawed in the side and was in a bad way. I moved it back into the water in case it still had any fight in it. But it finished its life just a couple minutes later. When I left I saw the seagulls diving on it. Reminded me of words I'd learned some time back: "The sea isn't cruel, it just doesn't tolerate any mistakes."

Also down at the water's edge was another amazing sight:
High Occupancy Zone
Thousands of tubeworm "condos" poked up out of the sand. These sand tubes are cemented together by the burrowing worms that thrive in gentle muddy coves like Curtis Cove. All the fresh and decaying seaweed mixing with the tide waters is a smorgasborg.

You can look at a beach, see nothing moving, and think there's no life there. But you'd be wrong.

Surprisingly, in the end I found very little of this:
This knife at first looked like a new, local drop. But a closer look showed chipped teeth on the serrated edge and a frosted/etched look to the plastic. It's another wash-in from afar.

Given all the beautiful banding of gently-laid wrack I was sure this would be a heavy-plastic day. But in my zone, it wasn't. (The banding was its strongest just south of my zone, so maybe plastics etc. were pushed that way this week?)
62 pcs of rope, about 70 ft total
61 pcs of nonrope debris
123 finds:
  • Bldg material/furniture: 0
  • Foam/styrofoam: 0
  • Fishing rope/net: 62 
  • Fishing misc.: 17 (10 vinyl trap coating scraps, 2 trap parts, trap tag, metal ring part, bumper, 2 claw bands)
  • Food-related plastics: 12 (bottle - old w/ top cut off, 5 cup scraps, CapriSun, OLD ketchup pack, 2 wrapper scraps, frosted/old knife, straw)
  • Food-related glass/metal: 3 (fresh beer can, 2 old can bottoms)
  • Nonfood/unknown plastics: 12 (10 bag scraps, 2 mylar balloons - one very old)
  • Scrap plastics: 14 ( 9 > 1" , 5 < 1" )
  • Paper/wood: 0
  • Non-plastic misc./unique: 3 (2 fabric scraps, 1 worn/eaten fabric glove)
A curious day. The conditions seemed ripe for heavy debris. And much of what washed in was the old, degraded, broken bits of modern society that are all too common now in the Gulf of Maine. Yet by Curtis Cove standards there wasn't that much to find. At least on the surface. As so often, it's not always about what you see. It's about what lies beneath.
Not collected - how many more are there?
Running YTD counts:
  • Total pcs of litter -- 11360
  • Pcs fishing rope -- 2810
  • Vinyl lobster-trap scraps -- 4688

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