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Stuff I Found on the Beach

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Vol. III, No. 4

Hurricane Sandy brought this boat to shore. Now the ruins remain on the coast along with an exceptionally large amount of other trash. Photos by John Kantor.

Hurricane Sandy brought this boat to shore. Now the ruins remain on the coast along with an exceptionally large amount of other trash. Photos by John Kantor.

It is a WaterViews tradition on Earth Day to investigate a particular quarter mile stretch of beach surrounding Hendricks’s Point in Westport. The mission? To see how much flotsam and jetsam has washed up on the shore.

This year is extraordinary. Hurricane Sandy in October of 2012 brought some of the highest floodwaters we have seen in a very long time. Big coastal flooding dislodges unusual amounts of unusual debris and often transports it far from its point of origin. Because it washes up well above the normal high water mark, it doesn’t just float back out with the next high tide. Most of it is still there. The peak winds during the worst of Sandy were from the southeast. As you might suspect, the windward side of the point, facing the southeast, was densely filled with debris.  The leeward side, where the wind blew away from the shore, was swept clean. The most obvious litter item this year was an entire boat. It washed ashore and broke up on the rocks during the hurricane. The remains remain.

Debris along the shoreline in Westport.

Debris along the shoreline in Westport.

Here is this year’s list:

Innumerable fragments of Styrofoam of every color and description.

A variety of shoes.

A plastic trash barrel. The lid was nearby.

Many golf balls. Most in perfect condition.

A Macy’s credit card owned by a woman from Darien.

A variety of planters and flower pots.

All manner of lumber and dock parts.

A green tarpaulin.

A file storage box dated 2005.

Every imaginable type and size of beverage container.

A ice bucket.

Countless plastic bags and plastic sheeting.

Dinghy rack with compartments marked 25A through 30A.

An entire finger pier.

An entire piling.

An assortment of balls (tennis, handballs, etc.)

A surprising number of window curtains.

A cluster of spent shot gun shells marked “Steel – waterfowl load.”

Evidence of trash deposited over the years.

Evidence of trash deposited over the years.

Socks and hosiery.

A bar towel.

A knit sweater.

A wooden hand-painted directional sign reading “Kates Ave.”

A wooden finial.

A blue holiday light bulb.

Myriad scraps and pieces of unidentified plastic.

-JK

Categories: WaterViews

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One Response

  1. Family Y says:

    JK,

    Fascinating! And good timing for you to detail the detritus, as this Sunday is Greenday in Westport, which will include a “Hurricane Sandy Beach Clean-up at Longshore” from 8-10 am. It’s sponsored by Builders Beyond Borders and looks like it will be both worthwhile and interesting “beachcombing.” Here’s the link to the day’s scheduled events:
    http://www.westportgreenday.com/greenday-schedule.html
    Regards,
    Scott Smith
    Family Y