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


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