Sunday, August 28, 2011

Wrightsville Beach after Hurricane Irene

I have been on WB 3 times since Irene has visited and left her mark.

The first time was with Nancy to help check on the nest.  We found lots of trash that had been churned up by Irene.  Since the trashcans had been removed in preparation for the storm, we pulled the trash past the high tide line and left it for public works---it really was the best we could do.  Among our trash, was a tire (there were several), a crab pot that was about to be washed back into the surf, a wool blanket, a pair of reading glasses, a pair of sunglasses, 2 pair of snorkeling goggles, and about 4 pair of swimming goggles, and endless amounts of fishing line and rope entangled in the sea grass.

However, we saw lots of beautiful treasures on the shore line which reminded me of how wonderful and diverse Mother Nature really is.

The other times I visited the beach, I was with John and our friend, Jason.  I collected trash and shells each time.

Today, I thanked the public works department for collecting all of the tires that were spit out by the Ocean (who can blame her---I would throw it up too!).  The back of the Public Works truck was full and overflowing with tires when I stopped to talk to them.  The two young men loading the tires expressed amazement at the amount of tires they had collected and stated they had only driven about half the beach so far.  I wish I had had my camera at the time, but I didn't.  You will just have to believe me when I say I don't know how they would have piled one more tire on the stack!  They were off to dump the load before returning to the beach.

Please enjoy some of our pics below.

Letter from Nancy Fahey post Irene

Greetings Turtlers,

I hope you all weathered the storm safely and without any significant damage to your homes or property.

As many of you may have heard, due to power outages, the TOWB extended the curfew today until 6:00 PM.  Thank goodness, though, they did allow Ginger and me onto the beach to check on our nest.  I do have wonderful news:  the eggs are safe and sound right where we left them.  All the wooden stakes, save one, had been washed away.  The rebar, however, was firmly rooted in place, and as a matter of fact, about 6" of extra sand had washed up on top of our nest.

Once we found the eggs, we scraped all the extra sand out of the area and erected a new sign and three new stakes to protect our precious clutch.  For now, that is the best we can do.  From this point on, the rest is up to Mother Nature.  Let's hope she tends our hatchlings with care, and their incubation process continues successfully!  A very short time from now, we will await the new arrivals.

The beach is now open to everyone, so monitoring will resume on a normal schedule tomorrow.  As a bonus, the beach is littered with the most unbelievable keepsakes: starfish, shells of all shapes and sizes, sea urchins, clams, was amazing!!  (Some of the starfish we found today were still alive, so of course, we returned those beautiful creatures to Mother Ocean.)  If you enjoy collecting treasures from the sea, be sure to take a pail or container along, and plan to spend some extra time on the beach tomorrow morning.   One word of caution, though, as you would imagine, the beach is also littered with lots and lots of trash that has washed in.  Ginger and I collected what we could, but it was rather overwhelming.  We just had to be satisfied to get what we could.

Only four more days remain before I take over on the four wheeler on 01 Sept.   Keep up the great work, WB Turtlers!!

See you on the beach,


Brent Stoney joins the KICers and is reporting on his collections in wilmington

I saw a clip of Brent Stoney on the News a few weeks ago and decided to contact him.  Brent is a local hero in my eyes.  He spends time on most of his Saturdays collecting trash from different areas in Wilmington.  I am going to be adding his numbers to the Wilmington tab on our blog.

If you or someone you know collects trash from some place other than the beach, you can report it here as well.

Below is Brent's email and a picture of his collection from Hewlett's Creek via Kayak.

I went out behind my house on Hewlett's creek, thats where my trashing days all started down here, i just felt so bad going by a piece of old trash knowing i was the last line between it, and time.  I also think its interesting to see what the trash is.. who made it and why.  Alcohol and Fast food are favorites, kinda irresponsible to eat and drive (surely to drink and drive) so no big surprise when their garbage is tossed on the roadway. . I just really hate finding the very old bottles , stuff that i can remember from when I was a kid,..still slopping around out there after all this time.. thats sad to me.. I  will start a journal of the stuff I find and Ill keep you posted! thanks again for writing!

week 16--Nancy Faye Craig in zone 4

Nancy reported that she only found 1/2 bag of trash in zone 4 and it included quite a few dryer sheets and 6 bottle caps.

Susan Miller's Grand Finale

Well, my last day of monitoring for turtle tracks this summer was definitely a climactic one! The ocean was looking quite angry this morning. There were some visitors on the beach who seemed to be getting in their last dose of the Atlantic before hunkering down for the storm. I expected to see a lot of surfers, but as conditions are quite dangerous at this time, there were only a brave few.

Normally, on Fridays, I find a good deal of evidence from the week's beach goers in the sand. Today that was not really the case. There were some scattered beer cans here and there, and only 2 sand toys. However, because Irene is churning and the tide is coming in very high, there was already a great deal of litter along the tide line. In fact, I would say the amount of litter that has already washed in from the sea is quite shocking.

 I stuck solely to picking items up from the tide line, and completely filled my reusable bag. Towards the end, I was kind of smooshing everything down to try to make more room. I'd say this was probably equivalent to about 4 and 1/2 grocery bags.

Since the litter had already been tossed around in the sea then washed up, a lot of it was indistinguishable. There was so much plastic-- really just plastic, plastic everywhere. I also found balloons in several different colors. The biggest surprise for the day was a single Haviana flip flop that I found. Here's the crazy thing... I picked up its mate last Friday! I know that sounds nuts, but it's true. I found the right flip flop today, and it had obviously been out at sea for a while because it was wet and had pieces of sea grass on it. If you look at this photo that I have cropped from last week, you can see the left flip flop on my patio.

As I was walking today, one thing that I found really overwhelming was the number of cigarette butts. There were so many that I couldn't even focus on picking them up-- I didn't know where to start. It got me thinking about how Mother Teresa once said, "If I look at all this mass, I will never act."

 Dr. Melanie Joy, the author of "Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs and Wear Cows" theorizes that this idea is why the meat industry continues to operate in such an inhumane manner in the United States; because in a system where 10 billion land animals are killed each year, where does one even begin in stopping it? How can we even begin to comprehend the slaughter of 10 billion living things each year? Anyway... the connection I am trying to make is that if we see one cigarette butt on an otherwise pristine beach, it is easy to pick it up, throw it away, blame the sole smoker for being careless, and move on. But when we walk down the beach and see 1,000 cigarette butts, which ones do we pick up? Where do we start? And whom do we blame? I think this is why so many people walk past the cigarette butts and don't stop to pick them up. The enormity of the problem is so great. It takes people like us to say, "hey, you can start by just picking up one." We are the Mother Teresas of the beach. ;)

Okay, now for the grand finale today... are you ready? Between Johnnie Mercer's Pier and beach access #32 today the number of plastic bottle caps I picked up was... 122! Yep, 122 plastic bottle caps were scattered along the tide line. Wow.

Peace to everyone. Stay safe this weekend!


Susan Z. Miller
Freelance Writer and Editor

week 17--Ginger in zone 4

I walked sans John this morning, but unlike him,  I did not find tracks when I walked alone!!!!

I did collect the equivalent of 6 bags of garbage and I got to say hello to our "Kali Wali" friends.

1 cigar + tip
1 plastic bag
3 ziplock bags
8 toys
3 shoes
20 straws
18 bottle caps
4 aluminum cans
9 plastic bottles
5 plastic cup lids
1 boogie board
1 chair
1 glass bottle
1 plastic spoon
3 plastic knives
1 real (stainless steel) fork

A Poem From Jenny--"The Peace of Wild Things"

Jenny Johnson is one of my favorites (I have many favorites and she is definitely one).

Here is an email with a poem that she sent to me a couple of weeks ago.  I have read this poem many times and it has brought peace to my mind when I have needed it.  Hope it does the same for you.

Hi Ginger,  This came today from my Interfaith Rev. friend.  I thought of the Turtles and how we worry and despair for them and other wonderful creatures!  Then I thought of you!!  Hope all is well.  XOXO Jenny

"When despair for the world grows in me ...
  I come into the peace of wild things
  who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief.
  I come into the presence of still water.
  And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light.
  For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free."

                         -- Wendell Berry
                              from his poem "The Peace of Wild Things"

week 17--Kym finds a cell phone in zone 5

Sunday, Zone 5 report: 1bag trash, one snorkeling mask & one cell phone.


week 16--a nice note to all from the dedicated Kathleen Holly

All the volunteers have done an awesome job. I've seen visitors picking up;  they deserve a star, as they, too, contributed to the BIG BLUE BINS... my BBB.  It is heartening, and I think you share this when others recognize the importance of keeping our beaches clean.  Roscoe has been the ambassador of why this is important..  

Lots of dog tracks the last few days.  Wish there were more money in budgets for better surveillance .. tickets are the only deterrent to ending dog poop on the beaches.  I think I found people poo on the trail near the inlet side a week ago (I sure hope not; picked it up).  Quite a few times I've seen campers in tents above the high tide line on the beach (7am and tents are zipped closed; bottles around tents).  Serious yuck.  I called the WPD; they came; I saw them talking to campers.  Campers stayed.. 

Got soaked in the rain yesterday doing the turtle walk.. picked up tee shirt, man's drawers, 4 bottles, fish hook with line, cover for umbrella, candy wrappers and baggies and a girl's flip, no flop.  3/4 gal bag.


week 17--Terri & John find 8 towels in zone 1

Tuesday Trash Report  Zone 1
Windy morning on the  beach. 

The wind and water seemed to have cleansed the beach and we picked up very little trash--1 grocery bag.  The most trash was on the beach in front of Shell Island, including 8 hotel beach towels and 1 sheet!  I called the front desk to notify them.  Other items included 1 man's belt, small plastic toys and a plastic strap, a bit of blue string in 2 different locations, beer bottle, soda cans, baggies, 2 pantiliners, and a shard of brown glass.  A surprising number of single bird feathers and lots of sea foam rolling across the sand. 


week 17--Butler & Doss in zone 0

We found only 1 cup. 1 water bottle, 1 child's bucket, 1 pair of flip flops and 2 scraps of paper. (1/2 bag)

I, Doss, plan to attend the Pizza Party. (can't wait to see you, Doss)


Jill finds a new past time in zone 0!

Hi Ginger,

Seems I forgot to do this Friday : (

Here's a quick update:

Tues 8/16 Zone 4: 3/4 grocery bag
Fri 8/19 Zone 0 - 1/4 grocery bag -- only thing of interest was nail clippers...I hadn't thought of doing that while on the beach, but I suppose it's as good of a time as any.

Have a great week!


week 16--Dewi and Martha find 5 holes while subbing in zone 2

we collected 1 1/2 plastic bags of the usual trash. There were a number of holes in the sand and a massive hole come sand model of a ship; in fact 5 holes plus the ship!
Best Regards
Dewi and Martha

week 16--Early Morning Beauty for Terri


On Tuesday, John and I collected 1.5 grocery bags.  "Biggest" items were one pair men's swim trunks and one ladies' top--found very far apart from each other.  Other items were the usual. 

I am not an early riser except on Tuesdays but something made me go to the beach on Thursday morning, the day of the reported local water spouts/possible tornado.  Glad I was able to take these photos and not the type that appeared on the front page of today's paper!  I loved seeing the rainbow.


Susan Meets Kali Wali!! Week 16

What a morning at WB! I know, I know... I say that every morning there is picturesque ( and every one is). But the storm yesterday blew in a cool breeze and a blue sky, so the weather this morning was just ideal.

There really wasn't that much litter today, I am assuming this is also due to the storm yesterday. Normally, I collect litter in a plastic grocery bag and throw it away as I walk along the beach. I put reusables and recyclables in a large reusable bag. But this morning, I discovered that we didn't have any plastic grocery bags in my house. I thought I might find one at the beach to use-- but then I didn't. Hooray! So I just used my reusable bag to collect both trash and recyclables today. I walked my entire zone and only filled the bag halfway (equal to 2 grocery bags) so it was a good day. There were several holes that were large but not terribly deep. There was also an impressive sand alligator.

Items I collected included:

6 beer cans
only 1 plastic soda bottle (YAY)

1 cigarette box
2 lighters
1 empty chewing tobacco container
1 beaded bracelet
1 tube of chapstick
1 pencil
3 band aids
2 balloons

2 plastic shovels
1 toy car
1 toy Flounder (got me singing-- I love The Little Mermaid)
9 straws
8 stray socks (what's with all the socks??)
1 tee shirt
1 small plastic garbage can lid
numerous cigarette butts

1 red plastic Solo cup
2 Capri Sun pouches
13 bottle caps

1 pair of girl's flip flops
1 stray women's flip flop
1 small pile of assorted wipes, straw wrappers, bits of plastic, fish hooks, etc.

So when I left Wrightsville Beach today, I stopped by Great Harvest Bread Company on my way home. I often stop there, as they are one of my favorite local stores, and how can you possibly resist fresh bread, muffins and scones in the morning? Plus, all of the guys who work there are always so nice and helpful. After I made my selection and paid at the register, the man who had assisted me looked at my WBSTP tee shirt and asked, "So are you part of the sea turtle project?" I replied, "Yes I am." Then he asked, "Do you know Ginger?" I responded, "I most certainly do!" It turns out that the gentlemen who had assisted me were Sonny and John, both of whom I have read about on this very blog! They seemed to think it was funny when I gushed about KaliWali, and how I think it is great that they are down there on the beach every Monday morning. They suggested that I come out some time, and said that they both really enjoy talking to John and Ginger, whom they think are very nice people. (But we already knew that, of course!!)

Susan Z. Miller
Freelance Writer and Editor

week 16--christie sees a shark and holes in zone 0

I saw a dead 3 1/2 ft. shark in the surf yesterday morning. I collected 3/4 spackle bucket (1.5 bags) of garbage. There was a man digging a giant hole for his kids to play in & I let him know about the turtles and asked if he would fill it back in before they left.  He didn't know about the turtles and it looked like they were staying at Duneridge.  I am not sure if some of the postcards about the turtles are in there clubhouse, but I think it would be a good idea to put them there.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

week 16--Gina and Cindy find quite a few clothes in zone 3

Hi Ginger,


We collected 2 Trash Bags (Grocery Size)

The following items were collected:

plastic bottles, plastic caps, Styrofoam cups, 2 tee shirts, 1 pair of flip flops, 1 pair of sneakers, pair of boxers, 1 sock, plastic beach toys, cans. 

Gina DeVaughn
Cindy Wilson

week 16--Julie meets UNCW researcher in zone 5

Thank you Julie for picking up by the pier.  Your day was also the day John and I walk and we did not have time to pick up there that morning.  Shew!!!!  I feel so much better :-)

Forgot to send in my report for Monday Aug. 15.  I subbed in Zone 5.
Beautiful morning for a walk.  You could see the sun rising and the full moon was still up high in the sky.  Tide was low so there was plenty of room to walk on the hard sand (unlike Saturday night with the tide so high  you had to walk in the soft sand to get to the nest for excavation). 
Met UNCW researchers who had 3 nets near the inlet and told us what they were doing; catch, identify, measure and release.  They do this about 3 times a week.  I’m surprised this is the first time I’ve seen them.
Lots of early morning birds in the nesting area.
And the best part – very little trash.  I walked around under the pier to pick up enough to count as ¼ of a bag.
No tracks … the closest I found was the attached picture.