Friday, January 28, 2011

The Blues, Hulls Cove, January 1, 2011

On New Year's Day I climbed down the snow-covered rocks to spend a lovely half hour on the beach. The day was unusually warm, maybe in the high 40s and the sun even came out for a bit! I haven't been on a beach since Thanksgiving as I've had some health trouble. The first thing I noticed was blue mussels everywhere. As I wandered I slowly became aware of a soft steady 'thump...thump...thump.' My constant companions, the seagulls, were leisurely dropping mussels on to the rocks for their lunch. Ah.

I recently finished Curtis Ebbesmeyer's book, Flotsametrics, which I highly recommend and will probably mention more than once here. Essentially an autobiographical account of how the author helped map the greater currents that circle the oceans, driving trash to certain places and bewildering beachcombers. Entertaining, anecdotal, extremely informative, with impeccable science. Loved it! And he gets his secondary message across clearly. Plastic can be deadly to marine life, and it lasts for decades in the water. As a result, I looked harder for plastic bits than I usually do, just to get them off the beach. Turns out that it is better to send it to the landfill after all. Not ideal, mind you, just safer for wildlife.

And from an artistic point of view, I found several plastic bits that were downright lovely. That star, for one, and those gorgeous mysterious blue pieces. Also shown are a razor clam shell, a spruce cone, 2 blue mussel shells, a weathered bit of silver metal that feels like thick aluminum, the remains of a blue plastic toy propeller, half a weathered peach pit (I frequently find them on this beach), a seed pod I half-recognize, part of an acorn, and some driftwood.


  1. You would like the book "Moby-Duck,The True Story of 28,000 Bath Toys Lost at Sea and the Beachcombers, Oceanographers and Fools (Including the Author) who Went in Search of Them", by Donovan Hohn.
    He speaks about Curtis Ebbesmeyer, in fact they became friends after D. Hohn wrote this book.
    Bellwizard (from Flickr).


  3. Hi Anonymous,

    I checked it out and the book sounds very interesting. Possibly entertaining as well! Thanks for the tip!