Sunday, July 28, 2013

Slip and Slide on the Dune

On the big beach holiday weekends, John and I have noticed that someone sets up a huge slip and slide on the dune of one of the "dredge islands".   I have to admit that it looks like a lot of fun!  People get on floats of all sorts and slide down the huge piece of plastic sheeting right into the water!  This island is located between the ICW and Banks Channel (if I have my bodies of water correct).

As usual, someone has to work really hard so that others can enjoy themselves.  This project seems to consist of a huge pump that pumps the water from the waterway into some pipes up the dune hill and then down the plastic sheeting.  There is what appears to be a very thin piece of clear plastic sheeting topped by a heavier yellow piece of plastic sheeting.  The sheeting is very large and very long.  This is held down by burlap sand bags.

Again, all of this looks like a lot of fun (except for those who go down without a float as I think that looks rough on the butt cheeks!)

We saw this on July 4th.  The next weekend, we saw that the clear sheeting was still on the dune and was dangling in the water.  We were not able to stop and collect the plastic ourselves because we were towing some unfortunate boaters who had run out of gas.  I made some phone calls to try to have this removed as all I could think of was the plastic breaking off and becoming part of the ocean environment.

On July 21st, we boated by the "dredge island" and noticed that the burlap sand bags and parts of the heavier yellow plastic were still there.  This time, we stopped.  The plastic was buried deeply in the wet sand.  Not to worry, I have sand diggers that I have collected from my beach walks; and so John and I went to work.  After breaking one sand digger and bending the other, we were finally able to get the plastic.  It was huge.  I wish I had taken more pics, but we were more concerned with getting back on the boat safely.

We were not able to remove all of the sand bags...yet....

Please clean up after yourself so that you do not ruin the fun for everyone!  More importantly, clean up after yourself so that you don't endanger the marine environment and animals.

Have no idea what this piping could have been used for, but it is no longer on the island.

What a view! I love this place!

July 22, 2013

On this morning, John and I drove separately and parked at each end of our access; thus meeting in the middle.  Why did we do this?  Because we were in a hurry.  I have accepted a contract position for 68 days at Camp LeJeune and I have to be done quickly in order to make it to the base on time.  Getting to the beach so early meant that it was still quite dark and we were not able to see as much trash.  Plus, we were more focused on being able to locate tracks.  Once the sun rays lit the sky, we did not have as much time to collect the trash.  However, we still filled 3/4 of a reusable bag.

Due to my rush, I did not stop to take pics on the beach.  However, I did take a picture of the view from Airlie Road on my way home.  Sure wish I had time to SUP on that slick water!  Aren't we so lucky to live in this beautiful place?  Let's protect it all we can!

Our trash included:

46 butts
23 food wrappers (9 of these were sippy straw sleeves)  :(
33 plastic bottle caps
1 metal bottle cap
9 plastic lids
16 straws/stirrers
1 plastic fork
1 balloon piece
2 fireworks remnants
12 foam pieces
17 plastic pieces
2 plastic bottles
2 plastic cups
2 socks
7 toys or pieces of toys including one kite with a big ball of twine in which birds could easily become entangled
1 shoe
1 pair of swimming goggles and a nose clip
1 plastic dental flosser (why?  it is such a waste of disposable plastic)
1 snorkel flipper (I left this to collect on my way back, but new volunteer, Michelle beat me to it!  :-)  It was fun to see her checking on our nest.


Sand Tunnel in Zone 1

     Terri and I thought we'd share a picture of one of those excavations we talk about from time to time which are subject to cave-ins and a threat to young and old alike.  We came upon a tunnel on Friday morning opposite the parking garage of the Shell Island Resort.  Presumably it's been destroyed by now but it's interesting to see what folks will build without thinking of the threat involved.

John Littlejohn

KIC has reported about the dangers of digging holes in the sand in the past.  According to engineers, sand is a very unstable medium and it can collapse without warning, killing those who are trapped.  When someone digs a hole near the tideline, the water can come up quickly and turn the sand into an instant trap, much like quicksand.  Each year, individuals become victims of collapsing sand and have to be rescued.  The weight of the sand pressing against someone can damage their internal organs.  Please be careful on the beach and do not dig deep holes.  They can be very dangerous.

Monica's pictorial continues in zone 5

Week 12:

Week 13:

John and Terri Littlejohn make their own blog about zone 1! Picnic anyone?

Our most interesting morning on the beach.!

Beautiful sunrise.

TURTLE!  But only made of sand. 

Surveryors for beach nourishment.  

Say "cheese" !

Get 'em up!

Salad for breakfast?   Yes . . . eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes.

"Stake" and vegetables and more.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A surprising find on the north end

Friday, July 19

This morning my husband joined me at the beach, which was very exciting because I usually venture out there by myself. We walked along admiring the sunrise, searching the sand for turtle tracks, and pondering whether we could perhaps find a whole sand dollar during the low tide. (A jogger recently informed me that's the best time to look, but I have yet to find one at Wrightsville Beach.)

As we neared the inlet on the north end, I noticed something laying in the high tide line. It appeared to be rather large, as the water was not moving it. I asked Jeff, "What is that down there?" His guess was that it was a large bird. I thought that it must be a part of a boat, or perhaps a large piece of construction debris that washed up. Whatever it was, I assumed that it was trash that needed to be cleaned up, and I was glad Jeff was there to help me because it looked big. As we walked closer and the sun began to rise higher in the sky I realized... it was a shark!

Now, I have found little one-foot sharks on the beach before, but never one like this! It was a good four and a half or five feet long. Jeff lifted it and said it was quite heavy; he thought it must have weighed about 60 pounds.

It was really quite incredible to see such a beautiful and mysterious creature so close up. When I got home I researched online and learned that this is a black tip shark, which is extremely common in the waters around Florida, and is not at all aggressive.

Very sadly, it seemed that the shark had probably died not long before we found it, because it was in perfect condition. It appeared that it may have gotten stranded on the inlet when the tide went out. It made us both sad that it was deceased when we found it and that we could not help it back out into the ocean.

So the shark, well, that wasn't litter, so we left it where it was! Our trash haul for the day included:
- 2 plastic water bottles
- 1 plastic lid with a straw
- various paper towels
- 1 child's swim mask
- 1 plastic Redix bag
- various styrofoam chunks
- 1 Snicker's wrapper
- 1 hair band
- 1 drink packet
- 1 applesauce packet
- 1 juice box
- 1 straw
- 1 plastic bottle cap


Rain, rain, go away! (No really, go away.)

Friday, July 12


This morning it poured at the beach, and I mean, it really poured! It stopped raining for about 10 minutes-- just long enough for me to take a couple pictures of the stormy sky and some nearby black skimmers. And then it resumed pouring once more! I actually kind of wish that I had managed to take a photo of myself when I arrived home, because I was so drenched that I looked pretty funny.

On account of the weather, my litter haul for the day was small. I collected:

-1 plastic bucket
-1 bean bag toy
-1 juice packet
-1 plastic cup
-2 plastic bottle caps
-2 cigarette butts
-1 plastic straw wrapper
-1 plastic straw
-1 string cheese wrapper
-1 piece of rope
-1 piece of cardboard
-1 Snickers wrapper


Friday, July 19, 2013

Thank you and you are welcome!

July 15, 2013

Although we pick up a lot of trash from our beautiful beach, we realize that we have much to be thankful for.

We are thankful for a man that we see every week with his own bag collecting trash.  We talk to him every time we see him, though we still don't know his name.

We are thankful for the sun or the moon or the clouds or the rain, whichever greets us when we arrive on the beach.

We are thankful for all the birds and other beautiful sites that we encounter when doing our morning walks.

It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes:

“Even after all this time
The sun never says to the earth,
"you owe me."
Look what happens with a love like that. It lights the whole sky.”

― Hafiz of Shiraz

 That kind of love also had me thinking this week as I went to the beach to just enjoy a couple of hours and witnessed people who did not seem to get the connection between the tides and how items (such as plastic bottles and plastic toys) could easily be swallowed by the ocean.  I was at first discouraged as I was the one who got up and rescued these items which left me thinking that I am so tired of picking up trash.  Then I thought, we who pick up trash love the ocean like no other.  We don't just accept gifts from the ocean, but we truly protect her, defend her, and love her.

So, on our walk, I am thankful for the ability to defend the ocean by picking up 2 reusable bags of trash with my husband.  Some of what we collected included the following:

22 butts
22 food wrappers
11 plastic bottle caps and 2 plastic rings
5 plastic lids
1 five gallon plastic bucket
1 towel

 18 straws/stirrers
5 pieces of plastic cutlery
3 fireworks remnants
17 foam pieces (lots of foam on the beach today)
3 plastic pieces
4 plastic bottles
1 aluminum can
5 plastic bags filled with sand used to weigh down a tent or something (COME ON!!!)

 3 other types of plastic bags
2 plastic cups
1 plastic plate
3 glass tumblers (we kept these)

1 condom wrapper
2 pantie liners (oh joy)
4 socks
1 shoe that had obviously been in the ocean for a while because it had living organisms on it

10 toy or toy pieces
1 toy netting
2 pairs of sunglasses
2 tubes of chap stick
1 canvas chair cover
1 outdoor pillow (I have been watching this pillow for a couple of weeks thinking someone would get it b/c of its location.  No one did, so on this third week,  I removed it)
Kind of looks like a sea turtle in the sand sculpture beside it, doesn't it?  I did not notice that when I took the photo.

On our walk back, John picked up a piece of trash to the loud noise of a very verbal seagull.  To this outburst, John responded, "You are welcome".  I love the way he perceived the seagull as saying, "Thank you."

And as always we are thankful for our animals that have all been rescued.  Here is Sasha trying to help me document the data from the KIC volunteers onto my Ocean Conservancy forms.  You can not even imagine how helpful she is!!!! (just a little sarcastic)


Monica's pictorial journey in zone 5

When I view these pictures from Monica in zone 5, I have lots of thoughts, but one is:

"A Kellogg Company Investor Kit?????"

Wonder if the kit is as disposable as much of the Kellogg plastic packaging is?  Wonder if they would consider investing more in the environment and reducing some of the one time use disposable plastic packaging that also ends up as litter in the environment?  Just saying......


Thursday, July 11, 2013

Sun, People, Trash and Turtles

Monday, July 8, 2013

Well, we finally have some sun, but with the sun came all the people, who left a lot of trash.   Just look at this photo of Masonboro Island on July 4th.  Actually, it looks relatively quiet compared to past Independence Day holidays.

We did not know what to expect this morning since we were coming off of the long July 4th weekend. We had been on the beach the night of the 4th and saw all the fireworks that were going off.

I don't like to be a "kill joy" or "buzz kill" or whatever one likes to call it.  I get it!.  I like fireworks too!  I do!!!!  But, I don't like when people do not clean up behind their fireworks as it leaves a lot of litter.  Also, the explosives in fireworks contain plastic (per some research I did a few years ago on fireworks).  By now, we all know that plastic is not good for our environment, especially in the form of litter.

John and I picked up 31 pieces of fireworks in our zone on July 8th.  We could have gotten more, but there just was not enough time.

We did enjoy the morning sky and sunrise (the sun was welcomed after all the rain we have been having).  Although I have to admit the pinks and blues reminded me of Miami Vice!  :-)  Yes, I am old enough to remember that show and I loved it.  I even wore a "Miami Vice" button when I was in the 7th grade.  No, it wasn't cool, but I thought it was!

The sky, on the other hand, was awesome!

We collected 1.5 reusable bags of trash which equals about 6 plastic grocery store bags of trash.  In addition to the 31 fireworks pieces, we collected the following:

30 butts
20 food wrappers
9 plastic bottle caps
2 metal caps
6 plastic lids
18 straws/stirrers
6 pieces of plastic cutlery
1 balloon ribbon minus the balloon
1 cigar tip
4 cigarette lighters (probably used to light all those fireworks)

5 plastic bottles
1 glass bottle
1 can
2 plastic grocery bags
5 other plastic bags
2 plastic cups
2 broken boogie boards
4 flip flops (1 matching pair)
12 toys
1 pump?

1 pair of sunglasses
1 "yellow dog" hat
1 teeny weeny little baby bikini top
1 tent and lots of chairs that seemed to have been left overnight (also not a good idea, especially since the turtles are digging WB this year and they could become entangled in this type of beach furniture)

Yes, we have 6 nests!!!!!!!!  How very exciting!!!!!!!!!!!