Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Beverly's Beach Cleanup in Florida - Day 2

Beverly's Florida Vacation Beach Cleanup

Community Count Collection: Beverly
location: Florida
day: 15 & 16 of 365
pounds collected: 10.3
total pounds collected to date: 130.5

My friend Beverly is vacationing in Florida. Here is her second chapter of beach cleanups. She got information and support from the local Surfrider Chapters, which was really cool of them. To read more about my Community Count Collection invitation where you can do a Daily Ocean style beach cleanup, and I will post it for you on my blog, adding your pounds to the community tally, follow this link

And as always, thank you Beverly, thank you very much for your enthusiasm, dedication, and love for the ocean!

The Daily Ocean – Florida Week 1 – Florida Beach Cleanup - 1/20/10

Martin County – South Hutchinson Island
Jensen Beach and Bathtub Reef Beach

The south end of Hutchinson Island is in Martin County. Heading to the southern tip I cover two beautiful beaches – one very popular and one out of the way but no less beautiful.

Jensen Beach – 4 lbs. 15 oz. collected

Jensen Beach is known locally as sea turtle beach, with signs warning beachgoers to be cautious from March 1 through October 31 when sea turtles come ashore to lay their eggs. There are warnings about no lights at night, to be careful of nests, and to respect this yearly activity so important to the life of this species. Sea turtles come ashore to lay their eggs all along Hutchinson Island, and signs about sea turtles are at every beach, but Jensen Beach seems to be a central spot.

It’s January so sea turtles are not due to arrive for over a month. On this sunny day the parking lot is filled with cars, and beachgoers and fishermen are covering Jensen Beach. You can buy lunch and breakfast there, and sit on a lovely boardwalk area with covered picnic tables. With changing stations and rest rooms nearby you can easily spend the day.

I walk along the beach, and it’s crowded but fairly clean of trash. At first I walk by families enjoying the first warm day in awhile and as I walk farther there are fishermen dotted along the shore, most with more than one pole and buckets of bait, many having very good luck today. A clean beach but in the end I collect 4 lbs. 15 oz. – most pulled from seaweed raked at the back end.

Bathtub Reef Beach – 5 lbs. 6.4 oz. collected

Bathtub Reef Beach is at the very tip of south Hutchinson Island. It’s been closed for a few years due to erosion. Piles of sand are in the parking lot and a bulldozer blocks the entrance. Turning around, I park nearby at an unguarded – and unnamed beach. Families are here, most with dogs, enjoying the day. It’s an ‘official’ beach with restrooms and a walk and stairs to the beach, but unnamed.

There is more trash to gather at this beach – straws, bottle caps, cigarette butts – and it feels a little more neglected than the other beaches I’ve visited here. I head south, and after a short walk I arrive at Bathtub Reef Beach. While the parking lot is blocked, the beach is accessible from the shore – no barriers. A low reef hems in an oval area, creating a small basin – hence the name ‘Bathtub Reef’. A father and two children are snorkeling. Mangrove stumps are just offshore, and this beach looks slightly abandoned but not neglected. Despite the closing people are walking along the shore, collecting shells. However, birds are in control at Bathtub Reef Beach – a seagull parades along the front of the beach and a few sandpipers dart in an out around him. The seagull stands his ground as I walk along the shore, his head cocked to view me, so I give him respect and walk out of the way. As usual, I pick up trash thinking ‘this is for you’.