Monday, July 25, 2011

What the tide washed in

The tide comes in slower in White Rock than in Boundary Bay; without the need to run almost a mile straight inland, I can wade along the edge to see what's floating in the waves.

There are always piles of tangled seaweeds.

And a few individual ones, usually rockweed.

Sometimes the seaweed incorporates driftwood into the pile. This lot included many tiny spiral tubeworms, and a handful of stubby isopods.

Some of the seaweeds are faded, unidentifiable ghosts.

Not all; this hairy weed keeps its vibrant colour even as it rots.

Land-based leaves return home, eroded by the salt water.

So does an unfortunate ladybug.

The molted remains of a purple shore crab.

The waves bring back sand that they took away earlier.

Homo sapiens, var. intertidalus, returning to land with the tide. The gulls will stay put until the water brings them supper.

All is well. But there are other "goodies" coming in on the waves:

Plastic rope.

A large plastic bag.

"Pure Life", it reads. "Eau de source naturelle". (Water from a natural source.)  Good stuff, great for the environment. (/sarcasm)

More "Pure Life".

And tinfoil. Garlic-flavoured something or other.

Why I pick up all the plastics and tinfoil I find:

Recently dead gull. We looked it over; there was no sign of injury or disease. Every feather was clean and in order. The bent-back head, without other evidence of illness, suggests possible asphyxiation. Caused by trying to eat a plastic bag, maybe?

I would love to put up large signs along the parking lane, reading, "PLASTIC BAGS KILL GULLS". But would they do any good?


  1. Whatever is meant by 'natural source' water? . . . what kind of water do they put in their other bread?

    I was thinking, just yesterday, some of our seaweeds turn up about this time of year and I'd better go looking. (The other time is after winter storms.)

  2. It is terribly sad the crap in the water.
    Your first photos are fabulous.
    Cheers from Cottage Country!

  3. The tide sure does wash in a lot of stuff, if you pay attention.

    I am so glad you care about Mother Nature's flora and fauna. So many people don't (obviously) bother to think about what this garbage does to the critters. Grrrrrrrr.

  4. So glad you continue to bring up the dangers of plastics for wildlife and all life, in fact, Susannah! You certainly walk-the-walk, as I recall how you cleaned up other peoples messes and put any garbage and plastics you found into the garbage bins by the beach. :)

  5. Lucy, "Natural source" would be water from rivers or lakes or springs or rain or subterranean aquifers. As opposed to all the rest of our water, which comes from the very same sources. In other words, it's feel-good wording that means absolutely nothing at all.

  6. I'm sure I'm oversensationalizing things, but those water bottles - especially the large 'value packs' like that, have got to be among the worst of our every day conveniences. It just boggles my mind why anyone would buy them, when it's so much cheaper just to buy a reusable bottle! Vancouver has got such lovely water compared to where I go to school 8 months out of the year, I don't know why anyone wouldn't drink it.

    On a happier note - what an awesome crab! Are his legs spotted?


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