Sunday, June 30, 2013

Another Pictorial From Monica in Zone 5

Please Keep our Beach Clean and "Safe" for Nesting Sea Turtles!

WBSTP volunteers have found two more sea turtle nests on WB, bringing our total to 4 so far this year!  We are so excited about this!!!!

Below are pics of the joy that takes place on the mornings of these wonderful and exciting discoveries.

Clem, Dave, and Nancy at Nest #3

John and Terri Littlejohn and Ferris at Nest #4

We did pick up trash at nest site #3.  We found a round cardboard disc, a piece of plastic, and a cigarette butt in the sand as we were digging for the eggs.  As I was walking just feet from the nesting site, I found two condom wrappers.  While I'm glad the humans were being "safe" by using the condoms, I do wish they would keep the beach "safe" for other "wild life" by removing their debris!  :-)

No, none of this belonged to me!  I just removed it from the nesting area!

What can I say?  "Happy and Safe Nesting to Turtles and Humans???"  :-)


A Rain Cloud A Day Keeps the Trash Away!

John and I found very little trash on Monday morning, June 24th.  In fact, we only found 1/2 reusable bag of trash between the two of us.  I surmise it may be in part to all of this rain we are having at WB this year.  What is going on with this rainy, windy summer????    Hail the Sunshine!!!!!

Rain on the horizon during our walk

We are still finding trash in the construction zone at Oceanic.  Even though the litter is inside the orange tarp, so it is not as likely to get blown around, it is still being covered up by sand and leaving litter on the beach.  I hope the construction workers will be diligent in keeping this area clean.  Here are some photos of what we found this week.  We did tighten the caution tape so that it would no longer be dragging on the ground creating an entanglement hazard for any potentially nesting turtles or sea birds.

Our items this week include:
50 cigarette butts (likely more, I just stopped counting---there were so many this week  :-(
12 food wrappers
16 plastic bottle caps
2 metal bottle caps
5 plastic lids
13 straws/stirrers

all the straws we have collected so far this year

2 plastic spoons
4 pieces of fishing gear
3 balloons
1 cigar tip
1 cigarette lighter
2 fireworks
4 foam pieces
11 plastic pieces
1 aluminum can
1 ziploc bag
2 plastic cups (one wrapped in plastic from a hotel)
1 foam cup
2 plastic dental flossers
1 bathing suit strap
1 towel
9 toys
1 next morning Super Moon!


Friday, June 21, 2013

Toppled trash cans in zone 0

 Friday, June 14, zone 0

The first thing I saw upon walking onto the beach on Friday, June 14 was this amazing pre-dawn sky. Wow! Quite remarkable, isn't it?

The second thing I noticed, however, was that several trash cans had blown over in front of Shell Island Resort during the storm the night before. Someone also placed an entire mangled tent frame next to a trash can, which some nearby stand up paddleboarders commented was probably that person's version of "putting it in the trash."

I decided to save the blown-over trashcans for the end of my walk, knowing that it would take a while to pick them all up. However, by the time I completed my walk and returned to Shell Island Resort, the town's maintenance crew had picked up the trash cans along with most of the trash that had spilled out of them. They had even removed the tent frame. I placed the remaining items I found back into the cans. (I did not count these in my litter tally, because I though that people had tried to do the right thing by placing them in the trash cans, without realizing that they would blow out.)

My litter count for the day included:
- 1 pair of glasses
- 1 length of plastic ribbon
- 1 styrofoam take out container
- 2 coffee cups with plastic lids
- 1 plastic cup
- 2 plastic straws
- 1 men's flip flop
- 1 plastic bags
- 1 lighter
- 1 Frito's bag
- 1 drink packet
- 2 Bud Light cans
- 3 plastic water bottles

Overall, it was yet another exceptionally lovely morning at WB!


Hello, Andrea!

Friday, June 7, Zone 0

This morning I was very curious to see what the beach would be like with Tropical Storm Andrea churning out over the water. Turns out I couldn't see much of anything because the wind was blowing so hard! Luckily, though, that was about the worst of it. I managed to complete my walk without getting rained on all that much, and it was actually quite interesting to see the dark clouds rapidly changing shape in the sky.

Admittedly, because of the stormy conditions, I was not quite as diligent as I normally would be about finding trash and picking it up, because I walked pretty much as fast as I could in all that blowing sand. But I did still find a few items. These included: 

- 1 motor oil bottle
- 2 balloons
- 1 sand toy
- 1 lighter
- 1 Gatorade bottle
- 3 plastic straws
- 1 plastic sunblock lid

I also came across some very large cannonball jellyfish. (My foot's in there for perspective.)



Thursday, June 13, 2013

Caution on the Beach

I always enjoy the beautiful sunrise that awaits me when I reach WB for my Monday morning "turtle walk".  It really is a nice way to start the week.

I was really hoping to find tracks since it has been two weeks since "the mothers" have visited our beach; but that was not the case this morning.

I also did not find a lot of trash, which was refreshing until I reached Oceanic Pier.  The work site there continues to be a concern for me.  Let me give credit where credit is due....they have put up a solid orange tarp around the machinery and construction materials.  This is very helpful as it will keep turtles from crawling into that space and getting disoriented or entangled in any of the construction materials.  It will also help reduce any loose construction packaging from blowing out of the area and creating marine debris.  I am very thankful for this effort as I know it is a difficult situation to contain and I am sure all concerned will be happy when the project is complete.

However, there continues to be lots of receipts, straw paper, sugar packets, cracker wrappers, mint wrappers, etc. that is littering that area.  The screen on Oceanic Pier is reducing some of this litter, but not all.  The paper will disintegrate quickly and is not as much of a concern as the plastic, except for it is unsightly on our beautiful beach.

But, the larger concern is the loose and dangling caution tape.  I realize we need to keep people out of the construction zone, but when that zone is on the beach, we need to make sure the plastic tape is secure.  I also know that this could have happened over night and the construction workers maybe did not have time to check on it yet.  However, when we are using plastic on the beach or in a coastal environment, we need to take extra "caution" as winds can carry debris quickly into the ocean.  Also, we have lots of wildlife interaction on the beach and dangling caution tape can cause entanglement issues.  All in all, I removed about 105 feet of dangling tape!  Be assured,  I would have never touched this tape had it been secured.  (The battery on my camera had died, so unfortunately I was unable to take a picture of the tape on the beach).

All in all, I collected 1 reusable bag of trash which included the following items:

12 cigarette butts
3 food wrappers
9 bottle caps (one looked like it had been in the ocean for some time and had bite marks on it)  :-(
3 plastic lids
12 straws/stirrers
4 plastic cutlery
3 cigarette lighters
6 pieces of construction material
2 foam pieces
6 plastic bottles
1 aluminum can
3 cups (1 paper, 1 plastic, 1 foam)
32 plastic packaging materials (from food, toys, etc)
1 strapping band
4 baby wipes
1 dryer sheet
1 flip flop
4 toys (including a football)
1 pair of sunglasses
1 plastic shot gun shell
1 ball of surf wax

At home, I found 1 Gigi with a plastic cone head!  I don't think she likes the plastic either!


Monday, June 3, 2013

The conditions on Masonboro Island

On Saturday, John and I went to Masonboro for a little fun.

What we experienced was not ALL fun.  First of all, our dog pooped on the beach and we forgot to bring something to get it up.  Fortunately, our friends and fellow KIC volunteers, Kim Shovlin and her son Patrick, were also at the beach celebrating a 50th birthday party.  I went to borrow a container (won't mention what)  ;-) from Kim while John combed the beach for something with which to pick up the poop.  It did not take him long to find a toy shovel that had been left behind.

Besides attending to a pooping dog, we also noticed a crowd gathered on the beach attending to an injured surfer.  As it turns out, the surfer needed to be transported by helicopter off the island to the emergency room.  We were all very concerned for the surfer and our thoughts and prayers are with him.  The news as he was being airlifted was hopeful.

Also disturbing was the amount of marine debris that has washed up on Masonboro.  Much of it had been in the ocean for sometime as it had barnacles and sea life attached.  We picked up what we could and made a plan to come back the next day with our reusable trash bags to remove more.

When we returned on Sunday, we covered about 1/2 mile of beach (give or take) and removed wads and wads of fishing line that were entangled in the wrack material along with entangled fabric and many entangled plastic bags!  We also collected 10 pairs of goggles and sunglasses in addition to several pair that we had thrown away the day before.  There were lots of aluminum can pieces that had been in the ocean since who knows when!

All together, we removed 31 lbs of trash!!!  A sad day for Masonboro.  The island has never looked so bad.  There is much more to do to keep our preserved island beautiful and our oceans healthy.

A cloudy Monday morning in June

What do you do at the beach on a Monday morning in June if it is cloudy and rainy?  Well, if you are sea turtle volunteers, you walk the beach and look for turtle tracks!

Although, we did not find tracks, we were able to pick up quite a bit of trash before we left the beach; but not before it rained on us!!!  :-)

Listed here is what we found with a photo to boot!

32 cigarette butts (there were visibly more butts today)
30 plastic food wrappers
4 bottle caps
1 plastic lid
13 straws/stirrers
5 pieces of rope
1 balloon
1 cigarette lighter
1 firework cap
5 pieces of foam
2 plastic bottles
3 plastic grocery bags
1 zip lock bag
1 plastic cup

2 styrofoam cups (one which was lined in "normal" plastic!--this has to be one of the worse plastic offenses as far as cups go--as though never-biodegrading styrofoam wasn't enough--it is lined in plastic!)

1 6-pack holder (I cut it up before disposing)
6 strapping bands
1 tampon--yuck yuck yuck
4 articles of clothing
2 towels
13 toys or toy pieces
3 chapsticks
a pair of rainbow flip flops (2), but not in good enough condition for me to wear  :-(

Gigi wondering why anyone would leave so much trash on the beach.

Sun and Moon by Jenny Johnston

In addition to sending in her Ocean Conservancy forms, Jenny has been sharing her sunrise and moon pics that she takes while she and Steve monitor zone 5.  How lucky are we to be able to witness these celestial events while protecting over the seas and the sea turtles?

Of course, I can't figure out how to rotate the pics!  Ha!  I can rotate some pics, but these I can't.  So, you will have to turn your computer, tablet, or head sideways to get the correct angle.  Or, if you are like me, and a little sideways already, you can view it just perfectly like it is!

John and Terri Littlejohn and waterlogged sign

In addition to other trash that the Littlejohns reported on their Ocean Conservancy form, they also found this huge sign.  Below are the emails from the Littlejohns along with a photo of the sign.

John will be sending you a photo of the big, heavy sign (mentioned below) from his iPhone.  A paddle boarder was pulling this sign out of the water as we approached.  He mentioned he had seen a large turtle in the shallow water in the same spot Thursday morning (Thursday).  Could have been Turtle Mom #2 since we were in that vicinity. 

     Following is the promised photo Terri mentioned in her recent Email.  The sign was thoroughly water logged and very heavy.  Until we find something bigger, it is our entry in the macro trash category.
                          John Littlejohn

I sure hope the turtle the paddle boarder saw could not read the sign as our beach is always open to nesting turtles!!!!  :-)

Trash in the Turtle Zone!

On the morning that John and I found the first sea turtle tracks on WB for the season, we also found trash.  Or, I should say that John found trash as I stayed with the nest until all the friends arrived!

Sadly, as Nancy and I were digging for the signs of turtle eggs, we also dug up several cigarette butts, a bottle cap, a disposable plastic dental flosser, a fireworks cap, and a couple of other random plastic pieces.  All of this right in the disturbed sand of the nest.  In Nancy's words, "It's a shame the turtle had to nest in trash."

Here is the rest of what John picked up on his walk:

83 cigarette butts (60 of these were found in a small hole at the base of the access sign for #32.  It appeared as though someone purposefully dug a hole and dumped butts in it.  Along with those butts were broken bottle pieces and a plastic fork)

16 food wrappers
1 plastic take out container
1 foam take out container
6 bottle caps
2 metal caps
2 plastic lids
17 straws
1 wad of fishing line
1 cigar tip
5 fireworks (3 large boxes---see pics)
4 foam pieces
7 plastic pieces
6 plastic bottles
1 can
2 plastic cups
1 opened and empty condom wrapper
4 articles of clothing
13 toys or broken toy pieces
1 flip flop
3 baby wipes

and Nest #1!!!!!

Monica's pictorial of zone 1 on May 24th.

These images speak for themselves as to the types of litter/debris we find on the beach.  Thank you Monica for keeping your zone clean.