Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Our Daily Ocean: Day 23

We hit the beach today after we had lunch at Flaming Amy's ... and went to Tidal Creek and Great Harvest Bread to get some last minute things for Thanksgiving!!  It was another gorgeous day today....

Yup... those are pelicans... I LOVE pelicans.... there's something so prehistoric yet graceful about them that leaves me in complete awe.

The last time we were at Access 39 was back in September when Hurricane Earl was just offshore.  I've been meaning to get back there, but always end up choosing a different access instead.  BUT... today I was so clear about where I wanted to go that I didn't ask for anyone else's input.'s a good thing that I decided to go there today!!  As I was leaning over to pick up cigarette butts under the bench....

I noticed a bit of black plastic sticking out from the sand.  (Prepare for feel good moment ;) )  I reached into the sand and pulled out a cell phone!!  It was still on and had several missed calls... SO... I hit a button and called "Mom"... who ended up being sister and said that her brother was on his way home to Durham for Thanksgiving!!  This lost phone....  It's not lost anymore!!! :D (I'm hanging on to his phone until he gets back into town on Sunday!!)  YAY!!  It feels good to finally pick up something that isn't trash...

Unfortunately not everything left on the beach is wanted.... but today I thought about how great it would be if I could call up the people that left their butts on the beach... OR the companies who've branded their names.....

"Hi... Philip Morris... one of your Marlboros is on Wrightsville Beach, NC.  Would you like to meet me to pick it up??"  Hmmm... a girl can day dream... right?? ;)

 It's been awhile since we've played "Find That Butt"... can YOU find the butt in this picture??

I liken this picture to something that my friend Bonnie (The Plastic Ocean) said,

"...the problem with plastics in our marine environment goes unnoticed because most of it is underwater or broken down into small bits floating on the surface.  Not that it takes a trained eye to see it; you just have to recognize  that it's there.  Once you do, it likens to the 'Magic Eyes' from the 90's.  Remember staring at a random series of blotches until an image imbedded in the blotches could be recognized?  Once your eyes discovered it, you could always see it.  And you wondered why you hadn't noticed at first glance."

And that's the way it is with cigarette butts.  Once you start looking for them.. once you recognize that they're there... in piles... strewn across the sands....under shells....suddenly they're everywhere...

My friend Bonnie is currently sailing across the South Atlantic Ocean with 5 Gyres and Pangaea Explorations sampling plastics in the ocean.  While she's out in the middle of the ocean, I'm updating The Plastic Ocean Project blog with posts that she sends me.... please take the time to read about what life is like sailing through the South Atlantic and to learn about what they are finding.
 The Plastic Ocean Project and 5 Gyres Blog

From land to sea... we're all connected... 
There's a straw in this photo.

20 minutes on November 24, 2010

Litter by weight: 6 oz
166 cigarette butts

Total amount of cigarette butts picked up off of Wrightsville Beach, NC in 23 days: