Sunday, September 22, 2013

Curtis Cove Report - August 11, 2013

Sunday, August 11. 6:45 PM. Low tide still a couple hrs away, but wanted to get in for the last hour of sunlight after being away for two weeks again.
There had been some energy in the past two weeks. Along the back of the foreshore were groupings & clusters of large cobbles & pebbles. A few had even pushed up toward the berm.

There were also countless sandpiper tracks -- the migratory birds had begun their long treks toward winter grounds, still here in the height of summer.
Back down at the low foreshore, where the slope broke at the back of the live-algae line, that's where the debris collected again, as with July 27th's collection. Debris carried in by high-tide waves washes gently rolled down with outwash on each receding tide. Leaving a narrow ring/band of debris trapped where the slope quickly turns from steep to gentle.

On this day, the lobstering debris was exceptionally thick. It had even overspilled its narrow band, smearing far down into the cobbles and boulders in the low foreshore. Many could be found wherever there were nooks & hollows.
I tried, in the failing sun, to get every last bit that I could find. Probably a fool's errand. But it was why I was there after all.

Then the last of the sun's rays caught a lump of quartz, illuminating it from within.
It was just what I needed at the end of a rather depressing collection.

This was the haul:
18 pcs of rope, about 20 ft total
749 pcs of nonrope debris
767 finds:
  • Bldg material/furniture: 0
  • Foam/styrofoam: 0
  • Fishing rope/net: 18
  • Fishing misc.: 650 (602 lobster trap vinyl scraps, 43 claw bands, 3 trap parts, 2 trap bumpers)
  • Food-related plastics: 25 (23 cup scraps, bottlecap o-ring, straw)
  • Food-related glass/metal: 2 (can scraps)
  • Nonfood/unknown plastics: 14 (bag scrap, 4 glove scraps, glove, 3 plant stakes, 2 cable ties, eyeglass earpiece, 2 wall anchors)
  • Scrap plastics: 54 ( 21 > 1" , 33 < 1" )
  • Paper/wood: 0
  • Non-plastic misc./unique: 4 (fabric pieces)
Nonfood plastics:
 Food plastics:
 And, the piece de resistance, lobster trap vinyl scraps:
The new normal.

Running YTD counts:
  • Total pcs of litter -- 5997
  • Pcs fishing rope -- 1780
  • Vinyl lobster-trap scraps -- 2890

Curtis Cove Report - July 27, 2013

Saturday, July 27, 7:50AM. Gorgeous sunny morning, an hour before low tide. It had been two weeks since I was here last.
Everything was alive, in bloom, greening out. The backshore was ringed by beach roses; the low foreshore full of pebbles, cobbles, and even boulders. This day we were coming off one glorious week following a week of heat, heat, heat! But there had been no violent storms to speak of.

Still, there had been change over the two weeks. The pebbles at the back of the foreshore were scooped into clumps and clusters. Not particularly well-sorted -- largely jumbled, but changed
Calm weeks mean heavy, small bits of plastic here at Curtis Cove. And the motherlode was there on the mid-foreshore, near the beginning of the live algae. Where the steep slope on the back crunches into the flatter jumble of cobbles lower, the outwash slowed and the small heavy plastics fell out.
It was going to be a busy day.
11 pcs of rope, about 15 ft total
287 pcs of nonrope debris
298 finds:
  • Bldg material/furniture: 0
  • Foam/styrofoam: 1
  • Fishing rope/net: 11
  • Fishing misc.: 237 (18 claw bands, 2 fishing line, 212 vinyl scraps, 5 trap parts)
  • Food-related plastics: 13 (11 cup scraps, 2 bottlecap o-rings)
  • Food-related glass/metal: 0
  • Nonfood/unknown plastics: 13 (2 mylar balloon scraps, toy lid/top, 3 bandaids, hairband, 2 cable ties, clothes size tag, 3 cords)
  • Scrap plastics: 22 ( 6 > 1" , 16 < 1" )
  • Paper/wood: 0
  • Non-plastic misc./unique: 1 (seaglass)
The bites and pokes on the plastic bits were unsettling, as usual.
But the story of this day was the lobster trap vinyl.
It's going to be the story of many days, I'll bet.

Running YTD counts:
  • Total pcs of litter -- 5232
  • Pcs fishing rope -- 1762
  • Vinyl lobster-trap scraps -- 2285

Friday, September 6, 2013

Curtis Cove Report - July 11, 2013

Thursday, July 11. 8:15AM. Lowtide, a weak one. Pea-soup fog. 70 degrees, very slight seabreeze.
Despite the gloomy day, a little color burst through.
It had been two weeks since my June 27 visit. Since then the beach had shown some movement of rocks, some energy. We were now a week past an outrageous heatwave, followed by a week of cool rain & drizzle. Nothing particularly stormy, though a few gusts. Yet there were lots of bigger cobbles -- even boulders -- down low that seemed to have been tossed around.

Better, there was now a great arrangment of pebbles & cusps at the back of the foreshore.
All arranged by nature's hand. Behind this "wall" lay a large amount of older wrack, periwinkle shells, and some of larger bits of debris.
The ocean had built a perfect breakwater/energy damper.

So, what did it deposit?
29 pcs of rope, about 40 ft total
294 pcs of nonrope debris
323 finds:
  • Bldg material/furniture: 0
  • Foam/styrofoam: 1
  • Fishing rope/net: 29 (40 ft)
  • Fishing misc.: 231 (193 lobster trap vinyl scraps, 22 trap pieces, 15 claw bands, ball of fishing line)
  • Food-related plastics: 23 (16 cup scraps, 2 bottlecap o-rings, 2 bread wrapper tags, saucepack, food wrapper, straw)
  • Food-related glass/metal: 0
  • Nonfood/unknown plastics: 12 (Clorox bottlecap, bandaid, hairband, cable tie, camera lens cap(?), chunk of plastic rod(?), 2 wall anchors, 2 cords, 2 plant stakes)
  • Scrap plastics: 24 ( 6 > 1" , 18 < 1" )
  • Paper/wood: 0
  • Non-plastic misc./unique: 3 (sea glass)
The lack of storms means a lack of rope. But the calmer seas means these can settle out:
I'm on pace this year to beat last year's 5245 scraps of dead lobster trap. Gentle summer waves bring them in and deposit them behind.

Rope, or vinyl? Take your pick.

They never, ever go away.

Running YTD counts:
  • Total pcs of litter -- 4934
  • Pcs fishing rope -- 1751
  • Vinyl lobster-trap scraps -- 2073

Curtis Cove Report - June 27, 2013

Thursday June 27, 9AM. Low-tide 2 weeks since last visit. Stormy day the day or two before. Overcast & wet skies.
Green algae healthy on the low foreshore shows that the recent storms didn't have a lot of ripping/tugging energy. Life quickly growing back into the pulverized backshore:
A day of contrasts. The tide pools high up, away from the rotting wrack, were crystal clear, beautiful, and full of life:
The tide pools caught in the line of runoff were miasmas, dead.
There's such a thing as too much nutrients -- too much of a good thing! As well as, of course, way too much of a bad thing:
The smear of tiny plastics spread throughout the fine pulverized wrack on the foreshore told me this would be a busy day. All told, here's what I collected:
67 pcs of rope, about 80 ft total
252 pcs of nonrope debris
300 finds:
  • Bldg material/furniture: 0
  • Foam/styrofoam: 1
  • Fishing rope/net: 67 (80 ft)
  • Fishing misc.: 158 (127 vinyl lobster trap coating scraps, 15 trap parts, 2 bumpers/cleats, 13 clawbands, buoy-stick scrap)
  • Food-related plastics: 21 (19 cup scraps, 2 food wrappers)
  • Food-related glass/metal: 3 (can scraps)
  • Nonfood/unknown plastics: 11 (3 straps, vinyl stitching, old flanged tube, cable tie, 5 cords)
  • Scrap plastics: 36 ( 20 >1" , 16 < 1" )
  • Paper/wood: 0
  • Non-plastic misc./unique: 3 (fabric scrap, 2 sea glass)
All of the above that I found is new -- it's not the remnants of winter storms filtering back into the sea. This is just new stuff that the sea is continually dumping on the shores of Curtis Cove. A couple of the more curious items:
-Ancient- plastic chair/table foot
Badly fish-eaten lobster claw bands
We keep giving it to the ocean. The ocean keeps giving it to us.

Running YTD counts:
  • Total pcs of litter -- 4611
  • Pcs fishing rope -- 1722
  • Vinyl lobster-trap scraps -- 1880