Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Curtis Cove Report - June 13, 2013

Thursday, June 13. 9:30 AM. Mid-60s and on its way up. Light breeze, 1/2 hour before low tide, bright sun... Bring on summer!
And still all to myself
Long lines of clouds in the sky, reverberating energy up and down just like a plucked guitar string -- or a pebble thrown in the ocean.
"Gravity Waves"
It had been a mostly low-energy couple of weeks since my last visit, with a healed summer slope to the beach as a whole. The backshore, so ravaged in February, was back & in blossom.
The low foreshore, heavily saturated by a week of heavy & steady rains, swirled with standing pools and life.
Walking along the backshore, my feet sank into fresh sand that had been blown or washed on top of the last remnants of winter's wrack. Bits of rope stuck out of the mid-foreshore, signs that their overburden had been stripped off (and then tossed onto the backshore). What would that mean for any washed-in plastic? Well, you tell me.
184 pcs of rope, about 140 ft total
158 pcs of nonrope debris
342 finds:
  • Bldg material/furniture: 2 (fiberglass fragments)
  • Foam/styrofoam: 0
  • Fishing rope/net: 184
  • Fishing misc.: 81 (61 vinyl trap scraps, 8 bait bags/scraps, 2 bumpers, 2 trap parts, 3 balls of fishing line, 4 claw bands, trap tag)
  • Food-related plastics: 19 (bottlecap seal, bottle, 14 cup scraps, bread wrapper tag, tiny plate scrap, straw)
  • Food-related glass/metal: 3 (2 aluminum can scraps, seaglass)
  • Nonfood/unknown plastics: 29 (6 bag scraps, 3 mylar balloon scraps, Clorox bottlecap scrap, nonfood bottlecap, hair band, 2 very old/broken toy scraps, 7 cords, 2 rubber belts/straps, 2 woven straps, plant ID stake, 3 cable ties)
  • Scrap plastics: 18 ( 10 > 1" , 8 < 1" )
  • Paper/wood: 1 (paper backing/lining)
  • Non-plastic misc./unique: 5 (3 fabric scraps, 1"Lobster Cove" scrap, shoelace)
More of the usual. And maybe a little unusual:
The steel inside this large lobster trap scrap has all rusted away. All that's left is the permanent, nondegradable vinyl coating. How long would it take to do that, do you think?

And of course, more subtle evidence of commercial fishing's effects on the Gulf of Maine:
Bleach bottles and bleach bottlecaps are common finds. After sanitizing decks & work surfaces on a rocking boat, bleach bottles are often accidentally (or not accidentally) dumped overboard. They don't go away.

Neither do the plastic remnants of early mornings out to sea.
I have found dozens -- or hundreds -- of scraps of coffeecups and cup lids washed up on my one shore. (Many or most with sea-creature bite & poke marks on them.) More than could be accounted for by seaside strollers. Coffee is an excellent 5AM wake-up for a long day at sea. But pitching a coffee cup overboard when the coffee's gone is bad form.

Running YTD counts:
  • Total pcs of litter -- 4159
  • Pcs fishing rope -- 1627
  • Vinyl lobster-trap scraps -- 1701