Thursday, September 2, 2010

Our Daily Ocean: Day 7

I really wanted to get out to the beach today... two reasons:  1.  We've been cooped up at home for 2 days because my son was sick (boo!) and 2.  Hurricane Earl.  The hurricane is just off our coast and we usually go looking for seashells and such... but I was really interested in what Earl was stirring up and what he would be unveiling at the beach.

SO... we made a (long) stop at the library then made our way to the beach access that we've been going to for the past 11 years:
I know, I know... I really haven't made much of an effort to go to the North end of Wrightsville Beach... but what can I say?  I'm a South end kind of girl ;)  Kidding... I really didn't feel like paying for parking today... so I parked at our friend's house :D

Usually, Access 39 isn't too bad... we tend to go there whenever we participate in organized beach clean-ups and can walk a good way without finding too much.  BUT... today... was different.  (As I knew it would be.)  Whether a hurricane comes ashore or not doesn't really change the fact that the ocean is churning... and it ALWAYS spits stuff out....

When I found this thick foam-like plastic I immediately thought of The Plastic Ocean.  There was life growing all over it.... makes me wonder how long it was in the ocean.   Oh yeah... the cigarette butts are there, too... with little bits of styrofoam scattered about.

Off-shore storms change the beach... digging and reshaping... and when they do.... so much is uncovered that has been buried under the sand..

The cigarette butts were everywhere.  Just moving all of the natural debris that was piled up and we easily found between 10-20 cigarette butts underneath it all (and that would just be one pile).  And to my (senses) surprise...the butts weren't old... as disgusting as it is... the majority still had their nasty smell.  

Another thing that we kept finding today was plastic bottle caps... have YOU made the switch to a reusable water bottle??  I've talked about my commitment hereherehere, and here.  (yes... there are more) And if you haven't watched "The Story of Bottled Water"... you can find it here.

Walking South from Access 39, we saw this....

When I saw the orange tape from a distance... I got super excited.  Sea Turtles!!!  YAY!!  I had been bummed awhile ago when I went to the Wrightsville Beach Sea Turtle Project's website and read that there were no sea turtle nests on WB for 2010... so you can imagine my excitement today when I saw this!!  AWESOME!

But then I looked and saw the tide line.... and thought about everything that we pick up off of the beach and the Sargasso Sea... and how a sea turtle's chance of surviving to adulthood is 1 in 10,000.  Then I thought about how sea turtles come back to the same beach they hatched on... and that there must not be many sea turtle nests because they're not making it to adulthood to come back (bummer).... and maybe... it has something to do with all of this:

Washed in with a wave... rubber sole.  We also found a pieces of shingles this way.

When flipped over... the inside was covered in barnacles.

Of course, I can't stop thinking about how the California bill (AB 1998) to ban plastic carry out bags got voted down in the California Senate... I had such high hopes for the ripple effect that bill could've created in our country. 

 Did you know that plastic bags look like one of a sea turtles favorite foods??... jellyfish.  

I'm disappointed for so many reasons....

On that note...this isn't trash (per say).... it's a rice cake.  Thing is, I went to pick it up because from a distance I thought that it was styrofoam.  
How does an animal figure out if it's food or plastic?  Oh yeah... they do a taste test.

20 minutes on September 2, 2010

Cigarette Butts: 427

Total amount of cigarette butts picked up off of Wrightsville Beach, NC in 7 days:


*I had to add this several times... because it's just too hard to believe... we pick them up and we count them... I have them in containers in my garage... and I still can't wrap my head around it I'm all teary eyed :(