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Mile 93 Report
June 7, 2012
Beach was pretty clean and narrow (due to high tide).
Beach was pretty clean and narrow (due to high tide). One dead sea bird of unknown species (no head or chest present - do have photo). No signs of snowy plover protection areas. Shells on the dry sand. Clear jellies on the wet sand. Some smaller Bull Kelp on the beach. One bottle from the Ukraine and another from the Far East.
Temperature: 60 F. Cloud Cover: Cloudy. Wind Velocity: Calm/Light. Tide Level: 7.1 feet.
Number of people: 2. Number of dogs: 1. Walking or running: 3. Photography: 1. Beach Walk Mile 93 Thursday, June 7th, 2012 3:00 PM to 5:00PMWe set out under overcast skies as the rain had stopped and walked to the northwest corner of our property and on to the BLM path leading to the east bank of the New River. The grass was still very wet. The wind was mild and of variable origin. We were walking down to see if the New River was still so silted-in that we could just walk across. A week or two ago, it was so filled with sand and silt washed down Lower Fourmile Creek that it looked like we could walk and wade across, and further downstream, between a quarter and a half mile away to the north, we had seen that there was a place were no water was flowing at all. I suspected there must be a breach further upstream. Sometimes the authorities do breach the dunes so that the New River doesn’t flood the farmers’ fields. But our neighbor, Merle, said that was not the case this time. He has lived here for years and is very educated and well-connected and probably correct. We have never seen the river so shallow as this Spring, and earlier, back in March and April, we have never seen the Lower Fourmile Creek so deep and fast. We even watched a full-sized tree with a diameter of two feet or more carried down the creek by a current faster than a man can run. That tree fetched up on the east shore of the river next to a much larger tree trunk which is at least six feet in diameter and has been there for many years. When we got to the end of the BLM path, we found the river was pretty wide and full. Blaine sent me out to attempt to ford the river, and I never had the water reach my crotch (I am short, now only about 5 foot 8 inches), but eventually, after watching me, she decided it would reach hers, and she called me back. Our courageous and oddly water-loving Bassett swam along beside me. The water was rather warm, I figure in the mid-sixties or perhaps even higher. So, we walked back to the Myrtle trees where we keep our dinghy. The bank was eroded, and part of it had fallen into the water. However, we were able to launch our little craft successfully, and the three of us, my wife, my mostly bassett dog and I headed down stream with me at the oars. All along the creek we found the banks of the creek eroded and tall. The usual small aquatic plants we used to admire were not in evidence. The two banks were covered with tall green reeds like giant blades of grass. I was disappointed to see five or more Gorse bushes on the south bank of the creek on land belonging the Bandon Biota. Until this Spring there had been no Gorse there. (I spend some time and money attempting to eradicate it on our land.) We ran aground on an underwater sandbar part way across the river, and I had to get out and pull our skiff across. We fetched up on the west bank where we found deer tracks in the mud. We had seen some on the east bank as well, but no signs of raccoon which was unusual. The distance from the west bank to the crest of the dunes seemed greater than in the past, and we both thought the dunes were taller than before.The waves were, at most, five feet from trough to crest. There was some spindrift, but we could make out Cape Blanco, twelve miles to the South, and the haystacks, which we think are in front of Bandon, to the North, easily. We found two large Gorse bushes, about six feet across, on the west bank and were not pleased to see them again. However, we also found what looked like Silvery Phacelia and another low plant with pink flowers. I photographed both in hopes of definitive identification from someone with expertise.Once we crossed the foredune, I was surprised how short the beach was, not more than fifty feet from the edge of the European Beachgrass to the surf, and the beach was rather steeply sloped, perhaps fifteen degrees or more. However, it was more like one hundred yards wide further South. The ocean water was not cold; I think in the fifties Fahrenheit. We headed south along what I think of as Mile 93. There was no sign of that large dead sea mammal we had found on April 4th, our previous visit. We have been working hard when it hasn’t been raining on building our wood shed, and haven’t been over to the beach since then. We found a dead bird lying on its back, its wings splayed out. Its head and the flesh on its chest were gone, exposing the rib cage and wishbone. I took a couple of photos. It was one of the only times I have found a dead bird. As the head was missing I could not figure out what kind of bird it had been. The beach was pretty clean of man-made debris, we saw only three pieces of Styrofoam, but there were quite a few plastic bottles. We retrieved and brought back one glass bottle that said, in English, “Product of Ukraine” but the rest of the writing appeared to be Cyrillic. We think it was a vodka bottle. Blaine found a plastic bottle with LemonDrop written in English but almost all the rest of the print appeared Oriental, whether Korean, or Japanese, or Chinese or Vietnamese or something else we could not say. We brought that bottle back, too. There were occasional pieces of driftwood on and in the dry sand. There seemed to be a bit more than usual. We never did see any signs of Snowy Plover protection, no signs or fences or cages. We did come upon some human foot prints a bit north of the BLM post, and they (it appeared to be two sets) walked over to the post. We also found some vehicle tracks which looked like they were made by an ATV. There were signs one of the walkers had been dragging something across the sand. We wondered if it was predator control or perhaps federal biologists or other scientists. There were two white signs posted near the BLM post, and Blaine walked over to read them while Lucie and I remained down on the wet sand. One warned of poisoned bait and something about protecting livestock. The other was in Spanish, and she could not make it out, but I suspect it said the same. We continued on a bit and perhaps didn’t quite go a full mile from our starting point as we had only walked about twenty minutes,but the sand was soft so the walking was exercising. The sand itself was mostly fine, although there were a few stretches where it was course for a few yards. There were stones here and there, none reaching the size of a baseball. Also, there was one section with pebbles from the size of peas to a bit larger than lima beans. I did see clear jellies, up to the size of a silver dollar, on the wet sand below the drift line. We saw only one piece of crab, usually there are many. It appeared to be a complete carapace. We saw part of one large (perhaps five inches across) clam shell and numerous mussel shells up on the dry sand above the driftline. There were short, twelve to eighteen inch long, pieces of bull kelp which made me wonder if that kelp is seasonal and grows each season? These pieces appeared complete from root with barnacles to end with those air bladders. Normally the clumps of bull kelp are large, and the individual pieces are many feet long. In any event, there were little insects, I call them sand fleas, jumping about the seaweed. There was at least one other type of seaweed, leafy and green, like some sort of salad lettuce but not a lot of either. We had seen three ducks over at the New River but no birds whatsoever on the beach although we did find fresh bird tracks in the dry sand. As we made our way back north, it appeared that the base of the foredunes were eroded by what must have been high water from the ocean. I don’t recall seeing that very often in the past.On our way back over the dunes, we found a five gallon bucket with a top which bore language we took to be Japanese kanji. It had a split in one side and was full of water. Otherwise, we would have taken it with us. Naturally we wondered if it was from the tsunami.We rowed back across the river, once again hanging up on a sandbar under the surface.
None except sand fleas and perhaps some of the jellies were alive.
Total dead birds: 1. No leg band.
Dead Fish or Invertebrates
one crab carapace, one partial large clam shell, partial sand dollars, mussel shells and parts, clear jellies up to size of silver dollar
Seaweeds and seagrass, Shells, Small rocks, Styrofoam.
Erosion of vegetated foredune, Evidence of wave overtopping.
Actions & Comments
We removed two bottles, one plastic and one glass, the former from an Oriental country and the latter from the Ukraine. Took photos of the dead bird and two new (to us) plants).
All Mile 93 Reports
We set out at eleven in the morning with me rowing the Second Sea Sprite, our eight-foot Walker Bay dinghy, down the Lower Fourmile Creek and across the New River to its West Bank.
Japanese tsunami debris baseline report: Two Japanese bottles, otherwise the beach is quite clean.
Japanese tsunami debris baseline report: SOLV bag still against the boat dock.
Japanese tsunami debris baseline report: Placed against the washed -up boat dock a large yellow SOLV bag filled with plastic material and several large Styrofoam pieces; altogether too much debris to carry away.
Japanese tsunami debris baseline report:North end of mile 92/south end mile 93 - on a length of about 1/5 to 1/10 of a mile, approximately 10 plastic bottles, half of which have clearly identifiable Japanese lettering.