Saturday, August 30, 2014

Farewell, summer

Friday, August 15, zone 0

August 15 was a pinch-yourself-it's-so-beautiful kind of morning at Wrightsville Beach. The sunrise was absolutely gorgeous, and the seabirds were out fishing and enjoying the perfect weather and cool breeze.

My litter pickup for the day included:
-1 jump rope
-1 plastic bottle
-1 can
-1 granola bar wrapper
-1 cigarette butt
-4 ponytail holders
-1 straw
-1 pair of glasses
-1 pile of misc wipes and plastic debris
-1 hat
-2 plastic shovels

Friday, August 22, zone 0

I thought of the words "Red sky at morning, sailor's warning" on August 22. As I began to walk along the beach at the high tide line, I noticed dolphins swimming peacefully nearby. Paddleboarders paused to watch them glide past. They sure are hard to get a good photo of, but I always feel so lucky to see them. The morning was completely still, with no wind at all and very few waves, so the conditions were perfect to spot their fins and shimmering backs emerging from the water.

As I continued walking, a man with a camera set up on a tripod called out to me, "Excuse me, have you ever seen dolphins here before?"
"Yes," I answered. "Actually I saw some just a few minutes ago!"
The man exclaimed, "I saw them, too!" and I just smiled because I felt like I could read his mind. Every time I see wildlife at the beach, I feel like I want to share it with someone, but I am usually by myself. The man with the camera was alone, too, and I could tell he was just so excited to tell someone about those gorgeous dolphins.

I found slightly more trash in zone 0 than usual, although still not nearly as much as I collect in other areas of the beach, like around the piers. My litter pickup for the day included:
-1 plastic water bottle
-1 beer bottle
-1 plastic cup
-8 cigarette butts
-1 pair underwear
-1 rag
-1 plastic bubblegum container
-1 broken toy shovel
-1 straw
-2 plastic bottle caps
-2 candy wrappers
-1 ziplock bag
-1 piece metal
-1 pair sunglasses
-1 pile misc plastic scraps

It was also a good day for treasure hunting; the ocean offered up some  interesting shells and pieces of sea glass.

Friday, August 29, zone 0

I could not help but feel wistful on August 29, knowing that it was Labor Day weekend and the "unofficial" end of summer. Every year I console myself with the fact that there is another good month or so of warm ocean temperatures, and a lovely, mild autumn here on the coast. (And yet I am still sad to see summer go!)

My husband Jeff joined me for my last litter pickup of the summer season and was a willing pawn in my staging of silly photos.

Our litter total for the day included:
-3 plastic cups
-1 flip flop
-1 pen
-1 mesh toy bag
-1 ponytail holder
-2 paper towels
-1 chewing tobacco tin
-1 straw
-1 plastic knife
-1 plastic spoon
-1 cigarette butt
-1 metal bottle cap
-1 plastic bottle cap
-1 tag
-misc assorted plastic wrappers


Monday, August 18, 2014

"KIC" the disposable plastic habit!

August 18, 2014

Today I walked the beach by myself.  It was a very muggy and hazy morning with the noseeums in full force!  I saw Padrina, another volunteer, at the end of our walk, where zones 3 & 4 meet, and she said the same.  No matter---the sunrise is always beautiful.

The ocean was so calm that it looked like a lake.

It felt like there was a lot of trash today, but when I got home and sorted it, it was about the same amount as usual; thus, I concluded that it only felt like more because I cleaned the zone alone.  :-)  As I've quoted my friend Bonnie before,  "Many hands make light work".

Sometimes, late night visitors will make use of the Blockade Runner beach chairs.  Beside this chair I found a pair of lacy panties and tie up shoes along with a condom wrapper.  Hmmm…… the beach can be a very romantic spot.

I am just thankful that a sea turtle did not come up to nest as we are all too familiar with the photos of turtles getting trapped in beach furniture that is left on the beach.

Here are my totals for today:
7 cigarette butts
21 food wrappers
7 plastic bottle caps
5 various plastic lids
8 straws/stirrers
1 plastic spoon
1 cigarette lighter
3 pieces of construction material including painters tape, which I have found for the past few weeks.
6 foam pieces
12 various plastic pieces
5 plastic beverage bottles
3 aluminum cans
6 plastic bags (non-grocery)
1 paper bag
4 paper cups
3 plastic cups
1 foam cup
1 potentially deadly 6 pack holder

3 strapping bands (probably from broken beach chairs)
1 tobacco packaging
packaging from 3 condoms, but no condom
6 articles of clothing (panties, shirt, 4 socks)
7 shoes
1 plastic bag for a camping chair
2 chairs
2 ace bandage wraps
3 bandaids
1 pink ribbon
2 plastic zip ties
18 toys

1 baby head band
2 dryer sheets
3 baby wipes
1 dive/snorkel mask
1 plastic netting bag that holds beach toys
1 aluminum rod (from something that broke)
1 broken beach umbrella (b/c if it is broken, you may as well leave it on the beach as you don't want it anymore anyway, right? )

All total, I picked up at least 263 items today.
At the very very very minimal, 53 of those items could have been avoided all together by saying "no thank you" to single use disposable plastic (21 food wrappers, 7 plastic bottle caps, 5 plastic beverage bottles, 6 sandwich type bags, 3 plastic cups, 1 foam cup, 8 straws/stirrers, 1 plastic spoon, 1 six pack holder).

Let's "KIC" the disposable plastic habit!

Peace & Clean Oceans,

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Super Moon, Plastic Bottles, & Fireworks!

August 11, 2014

Since it had rained much of the weekend, we thought there would not be much trash.  Man, were we wrong!

We were lucky enough to have another Super Moon and the high tide line had almost reached the dunes on part of the walk.  Sadly, I plucked much of the trash right out of the surf.

There was quite a bit of sargassum that had washed in on the beach and it seemed to have brought plastic bottles with it!  Some of the bottles had barnacles on them, so I knew they had been at sea for a little while.   This concerned me because sargassum is exactly where loggerhead hatchlings hang out; and if plastic is in the sargassum, that means the hatchlings and the plastic are hanging out together---not a good combination.

Today we collected 21 plastic bottles!  Please remember that we are monitoring less than one mile of beach and we collected 21 plastic bottles!

Remember, everything flows down stream towards the ocean.  When items enter the storm drains, they will likely end up in the ocean.
Storm Drain on Pavilion Drive (near Sweet and Savory and Fibbers)

No matter where you live, reducing your disposable plastic consumption will really help the seas.

Our planet is beautiful!  Please Keep It Clean!

Trash we collected today included:
14 cigarette butts
29 food wrappers
16 plastic bottle caps
1 metal bottle cap
8 plastic lids
25 straws/stirrers
2 plastic cutlery
21 plastic bottles including 1 laundry detergent bottle
1 glass bottle
2 aluminum cans

1 plastic grocery bag
4 other plastic bags
2 plastic cups
1 foam plate
4 balloons (2 mylar and 2 latex)
1 butane lighter
3 pieces of construction material
73 fireworks!

1 plastic fishing lure piece
26 plastic/foam packaging pieces
2 strapping bands
1 chewing tobacco can
1 ink pen
1 shirt
1 kids underwear
4 toys
2 bandaids
3 hair ties
2 plastic tent stakes
3 zip ties
2 chap sticks
1 baby wipe
13 plastic pieces
8 foam pieces (2 were very large with barnacles and long sea moss attached)

We did see a beach bunny.  The last time we saw a beach bunny, it also happened to be during the Super Moon!

Monday, August 11, 2014

In summer, the song sings itself. ~William Carlos Williams

Friday, July 25

Ginger recently wrote that when she is by the sea, she wishes time would slow down. I read this and thought, yes, that is exactly how I feel! Walking on the beach during sunrise on Friday mornings is one of the best moments of my week. I always wish that time would move just a little bit slower so that I could savor those moments.

The morning of Friday, July 25 was one of those amazing, rapidly changing mornings of weather. I arrived at the beach to this beautiful sunrise, but as mere minutes passed, thick fog (picured here in the distance behind the oystercatchers) rolled in over the beach. By the time I left, about one hour later, the sky was completely gray and the beach was blanketed in clouds and fog.

Most of the litter I picked up was right at the tide line. Some of it, like this broken boogie board, had obviously already spent some time out at sea.

My litter total for the day included:
- 1 styrofoam takeout container (found in two halves in two different places on the beach)
- 1 plastic bait container with lid
- 1 plastic water bottle
- 1 shoe (that my dog was interested in; you can see his nose in the upper left corner)
- 1 chunk of polystyrene
- 1 Capri Sun pouch
- 2 plastic shovels
- 1 can
- 3 straws
- 1 plastic bucket
- 7 cigarette butts
- 1 pair of underwear
- 1 boogie board
- an assortment of small paper and plastic scraps at the bottom of my bag

Friday, August 1

This photo is the only evidence I have of my time at the beach on Friday, August 1. The fiercely blowing wind and rain forced me to walk quickly through my zone, mostly keeping my head down. I did pick up trash that was in my path-- but no litter count today!

Friday, August 8

Fortunately, the following week brought improved conditions. (Although it sure has been awfully rainy lately, hasn't it? I might grow gills.) The sky was mostly covered in clouds, but the sun peeked through at about 7 a.m. 

It was cool enough that I wore a sweatshirt (in August??) as I watched these black skimmers take a little morning dip in the inlet.

My litter total for the day included:
-3 plastic water bottles
- 2 plastic cups
- 3 empty cans
- 1 full beer can
- 1 cookie box
- 1 cigarette box
- 4 cigarette butts
- 1 plastic bag
- 1 cigar package
- 1 underwear waistband (?)
- an assortment of small plastic and paper scraps in the bottom of my bag