Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Curtis Cove Report - May 28, 2013

Tuesday May 28, 2013. 8:15AM. Bright sun, a few clouds off coast. Upper 50s. Incredibly low low tide. Water receded out in places 50+ feet further out than I'd ever seen.
Standing on the northern side of the cove I could almost hop across to the south!
Even with all this exposed, I at first was a bit disappointed by what seemed like not a lot of life. But as always, the key is to look closer. Here is a sandworm wriggling back into the mud, while the sand-cast of another lies like spaghetti next to it.
And a lovely surprise -- a "bushy-backed nudibranch"! A kind of shell-less snail that you can find in intertidal areas if you're lucky
And then, the reason I started visiting beaches in earnest 3+ years ago. Plastic. These are the ubiquitous bits of vinyl from rotted lobster traps that I find every week in the tide pools.
 Higher up on the beach, what have we here? The string to a balloon?
Nope. The entire balloon, mylar.
Another week, another remnant of someone's celebration washing up.

On to the finds...

(Same tech disaster that killed my May 15 rope photo killed May 28.)
68 pcs of fishing rope, about 80 ft overall
69 pcs of nonrope debris
137 finds:
  • Bldg material/furniture: 0
  • Foam/styrofoam: 0
  • Fishing rope/net: 68
  • Fishing misc.: 39 (5 bumpers, 19 vinyl trap coatings, 3 bait bag scraps, 8 trap parts, vent, fishing line, claw band, rope connector rod)
  • Food-related plastics: 12 (2 bottle caps, 2 bottles, 7 cup scraps, triangle-cut sandwich container)
  • Food-related glass/metal: 3 (can scrap, 2 sea glass)
  • Nonfood/unknown plastics: 10 (mylar balloon, large rug offcut, 2 flowers, fabric scrap, 5 cable ties)
  • Scrap plastics: 4 ( all > 1" )
  • Paper/wood: 0
  • Non-plastic misc./unique: 1 (shoe string)
blah blah
Fake flowers never die.
Drink bottles have a rough life on the seabed. But it's even rougher for the sea creatures that eat chunks of sharp rigid plastic.
When even multi-pour salt shakers are made of plastic, they leave a plastic legacy in the ocean.

Running YTD counts:
  • Total pcs of litter -- 3817
  • Pcs fishing rope -- 1443
  • Vinyl lobster-trap scraps -- 1640

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Curtis Cove Report - May 15, 2013

After more than two weeks away from the beach due to commitments & bad weather, by May 15 I was jones'ing to get back.

So, what did it look like? Let's see

Wednesday, May 15, 2013. 830AM. No clouds. Bright blue, temps in the 50s and warming quickly. No breeze. Still morning, a few shorebirds chirping in the distance.
The Rachel Carson Natl Wildlife Refuge had also prepared for the impending summer season with a great new plaque at the head of the trail.
Down on the beach, the cove was healing itself nicely from winter. The beach profile was returning to its gentle, steady slope -- high and proud on the backshore down evenly to the low foreshore. The foreshore cobbles & pebbles were all on display again. Winter's storms, which had dumped and dragged mud & sand on top, were now really a memory.

Lined along the backshore were the last remains of winter's rotted & dried-out wrack, some buried by recently blown-in or washed-in sand. As it dried, its plastic load peeked through.
It was going to be a busy day. Here's what I found:
(Tech mini-disaster means no rope photo - sorry!)
320 pcs of fishing rope, about 180 ft

96 pcs of nonrope debris
416 finds:
  • Bldg material/furniture: 0
  • Foam/styrofoam: 0
  • Fishing rope/net: 320
  • Fishing misc.: 35 (6 claw bands, 2 fishing lines, hard buoy top, 5 bait bags, 9 trap parts, 5 bumpers, tag scrap, 6 vinyl trap coating bits)
  • Food-related plastics: 11 (2 bottles - 1 very eaten/damaged, 5 cup scraps, water flavorer wrapper, sauce pack, microwave meal box scrap, cutlery scrap)
  • Food-related glass/metal: 1 (aluminum can scrap)
  • Nonfood/unknown plastics: 29 (bag, Clorox bottlecap, broken comb, bandaid, 4 packaging scraps, crate chunk, clothespin, 4 upholstery scraps, 11 cable ties!, cord, crate seal, chopstick scrap, drawer organizer scrap)
  • Scrap plastics: 13 ( 6 > 1" , 7 < 1" )
  • Paper/wood: 0
  • Non-plastic misc./unique: 7 (fabric scraps)
This badly-abused & fish-bitten bottle could tell quite a story.
A plastic chopstick scrap??

A mangled comb -- its lost teeth likely still fouling the ocean, somewhere.
A very abraded Clorox bottle scrap.

Clorox is used heavily on fishing boats for sanitation. Sadly, too many times the empty bottles are then just pitched overboard.


Running YTD counts:
  • Total pcs of litter -- 3680
  • Pcs fishing rope -- 1375
  • Vinyl lobster-trap scraps -- 1621