Respect Tomales Bay – The glass tells a story

Click the words above “The glass tells a story” to see this entire post.

Two months ago I put my boat in at grassy point, the place windsurfers like, a little north of Cypress Point. Then I paddled south to explore Marshall and the area around Hog Island Oyster.

I’ve spent so much time cleaning up the shore around Tomales Bay Oyster Company given the proximity to me (and no end of trash), it seemed fair to spend some time near the other oyster company with a retail presence on the bay. Plus, it is always good to explore places never before seen.

Let’s have a look.

One of the first things to catch my eye was this boat laying in the mud, upside down.

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As always, click on an image to increase size

Capsized boat ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Capsized boat
©Richard James – coastodian.org

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There seemed to be items from the boat scattered nearby, so I walked closer to have a look.

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Capsized boat, seat cushion making an escape. ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Capsized boat, seat cushion making an escape.
©Richard James – coastodian.org

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As always, click on an image to increase size

Capsized boat ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Capsized boat
©Richard James – coastodian.org

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Capsized boat ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Capsized boat
©Richard James – coastodian.org

Hmmm, what is that wedged under the boat?

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Capsized boat - 5 gallon gas tank, rusting in Tomales Bay ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Capsized boat – 5 gallon gas tank, rusting in Tomales Bay
©Richard James – coastodian.org

Oh my, up to 5 gallons of gasoline in a rusty tank on the floor of Tomales Bay. I wonder how long THAT has been there?

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As always, click on an image to increase size

Capsized boat - 5 gallon gas tank, rusting in Tomales Bay ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Capsized boat – 5 gallon gas tank, rusting in Tomales Bay
©Richard James – coastodian.org

I carefully slid the tank out from under the boat. It was then that I discovered the tank had rusted through.

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Capsized boat - 5 gallon gas tank, rusting in Tomales Bay ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Capsized boat – 5 gallon gas tank, rusting in Tomales Bay
©Richard James – coastodian.org

Smelling the liquid leaking from the tank, it smelled odd, not strongly of gas, but not seawater either. An odd, stale fragrance.

I couldn’t leave it here. Nor could I put it in my boat, as it would leak that odd fluid in my boat. What to do? Hog Island Oyster was nearby so I hiked over to see what I could borrow. One of the workers, after hearing my explanation, pointed me to a stack of large garbage cans and said put it in one of those. We will make sure to dispose of it properly.

Hiking back to the upright gas can, I carefully placed the tank in the plastic can, careful not to spill anything into the bay. (Was there anything left to spill? Had the contents already tainted the bay long ago?)

I carried it back to Hog and placed it where the fellow asked me to, thanked him and went on my way.

More on this boat later….

Exploration continued.

As always, click on an image to increase size

Abandoned platform laying in the mud ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Abandoned platform laying in the mud
©Richard James – coastodian.org

Perhaps someone from one of those houses will come out and remove this mess from Tomales Bay.

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Abandoned platform laying in the mud ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Abandoned platform laying in the mud
©Richard James – coastodian.org

Hog Island Oysters in the background

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As always, click on an image to increase size

Abandoned drain pipe in the mud ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Abandoned drain pipe in the mud
©Richard James – coastodian.org

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I thought I knew where all the oyster leases were in Tomales Bay. Guess not.

small scale oyster farming ©Richard James - coastodian.org

small scale oyster farming
©Richard James – coastodian.org

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As always, click on an image to increase size

small scale oyster farming ©Richard James - coastodian.org

small scale oyster farming
©Richard James – coastodian.org

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small scale oyster farming ©Richard James - coastodian.org

small scale oyster farming
©Richard James – coastodian.org

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As always, click on an image to increase size

Sketchy foundation...

Sketchy foundation…

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Sketchy foundation...

Sketchy foundation…

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Sketchy foundation...

Sketchy foundation…

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Sketchy foundation...

Sketchy foundation…

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Sketchy plumbing...

Sketchy plumbing…

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Pisaster.o A rarity these days due to a virus laying waste to these and other species of sea stars

Pisaster.o
A rarity these days due to a virus laying waste to these and other species of sea stars

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As always, click on an image to increase size

Glass shards and other trash from below Marshall Tavern ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Glass shards and other trash from below Marshall Tavern
©Richard James – coastodian.org

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Glass shards and other trash from below Marshall Tavern ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Glass shards and other trash from below Marshall Tavern
©Richard James – coastodian.org

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Disposable diaper from mud below Marshall Tavern ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Disposable diaper from mud below Marshall Tavern
©Richard James – coastodian.org

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As always, click on an image to increase size

Longs Drug bank deposit bag from mud below Marshall Store. ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Longs Drug bank deposit bag from mud below Marshall Store.
©Richard James – coastodian.org

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This glass certainly does tell a story ©Richard James - coastodian.org

This glass certainly does tell a story
©Richard James – coastodian.org

Fast forward to after this trip in the bay, I’d packed up and drove back, stopping in Marshall to look around from on shore.

A fellow was getting out of a car, I asked him if he lived here, motioning to the house he was parked in front of. He said “yes”.

I explained the boat out in the mud with the leaking gas can. He knew who owned the boat and assured me that the last time the owner had used his boat (many months prior), he had run out of gas and had paddled back to shore. “So there was likely no gas at all in that tank.”

“Hmmm” was my response.

Next I explained how I boat around the bay and pack out all the trash I find. He expressed thanks upon learning this. “You should have seen all the broken bottle shards I found below the Tavern.” I shared.

His face became quite serious. “Please, don’t pick up those bottles.” He pronounced.

“There are no bottles, only bits and pieces.” I replied.

“Please leave those bits, they tell a story.”

They sure do tell a story, I thought to myself, thankful I had not cut my foot on any of them.

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Next related post may be found here.

Previous related post may be found here.

See the first post in this series “Respect our Tomales Bay” here.

Respect Tomales Bay 43 – Best Management Practices in the oyster farming industry

Click the words above “Respect Tomales Bay – Best Management Practices” to see this entire post.

First, there is a name change to these related posts about the health & beauty of Tomales Bay.

Initially, I published some words and pictures under the title “Save our Tomales Bay” meant as a parody on the many black & white & blue signs that sprung up along the coast like toadstools a few years back in support of what is now history, except for the mess that still rests on the bottom of Drakes Estero. From now on, these posts will start out with “Respect Tomales Bay”.

Recently I was contacted by an “Oceanic CSA” in Santa Cruz CA looking to add responsibly farmed oysters to their offerings. They’d been reaching out to various oyster farmers in the Tomales Bay area and my name kept coming up. Read about what a CSA is here, and here.

I explained my connection to oyster farming and Tomales Bay as well as who I thought grew oysters responsibly (few), who I thought grew oysters questionably (most).

The caller was most appreciative. I’ve invited their company to a Tomales Bay kayak tour like never before experienced. They accepted.

If oyster growers used gear that was marked to make it easy for an independent observer to identify who was causing problems for the environment (from said gear being let loose on mother earth by wind, wave and poor design/practices) it would be easier to promote responsible growers and to contact those growers in need of improvement to their practices, instead of painting the entire region as mess-makers. Uniquely marked gear has been suggested to the Fish & Game Commission (FGC) for some time now.

The FGC has been mulling over the implementation of Best Management Practices (BMP’s) for at least a year now, likely much longer than that, with little more than meeting agenda items to show for it. I did hear the President of the Dept. of Fish & Wildlife say at the last meeting I attended (Feb 2016 – Sacto) that they need to update the escrow language in the leases, they need to get BMP’s in the leases, and they need to do it right. Let’s hope they also do it soon!

To be fair, The Commission has, at last count three vacancies. Which means more work for the current three commissioners. I wish them the best in filling those vacant seats with capable commissioners. I’ll do all I can to show The Commission what is actually taking place on the oyster leases in California.

You can read about what I suggested as BMP’s in April 2015 here.

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Click on image to see larger version

Tomales Bay at mouth of Walker Creek - public land leased to private companies to grow Japanese oysters, Atlantic oysters, Manilla clams. ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Tomales Bay at mouth of Walker Creek – public land leased to private companies to grow Japanese oysters, Atlantic oysters, Manilla clams.
©Richard James – coastodian.org

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Next related post maybe found here.

Previous related post may be found here.

See the first post in this series “Save our Tomales Bay” here.