Save our Tomales Bay – 34 King sized tides, king sized mess

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Wednesday was the King Tide of the year. A full moon, aligned with sun and earth create conditions that produce the highest and lowest tides of the year. With a near non-existent swell, a perfect day to be on Tomales Bay.

Looking west across Tomales Bay at Inverness Ridge during the King Tide of 25 Nov 2015.

Looking west across Tomales Bay at Inverness Ridge during the King Tide of 25 Nov 2015.

These high tides allow me and my boat to easily access areas with high concentrations of plastic trash.

On my way south while in the Tomales Bay Ecological Preserve [where ducks must be careful], I spotted what I thought was a white plastic bag. Grounding my boat on the mud near one of the “blinds” used by duck hunters, I waded across knee deep water in my wetsuit towards the item of interest, taking care to lift my large padded camera bag strapped to my chest away from the splashing saltwater.

Alas, as I neared the bright white item, it became clear it was only a raft of pure white foam, drifting south with the flood tide. Laughing at myself, I turned back towards the boat to continue my venture to the south. As I got to my boat and maneuvered myself to drop my butt into the seat, I stepped off the submerged mudflat, into the channel. I bobbed up and down, a champagne cork, my feet gaining no purchase on the bottom. I cried out in alarm as the water reached halfway up the black appendage strapped to my front, cradling my baby, the camera. Up and down I bobbed, more and more alarmed I became that my camera would be reduced to junk. Pushing upward on the black blob to keep at bay the watery tentacles splashing all around, I had to let go of the boat, toss the paddle to higher ground and pull myself ashore. Which I did without problem. The immediate danger of a swamped camera handled, I grabbed the paddle and started sloshing south to track my now drifting boat as it carried on towards Bolinas without me.

Splashing as I ran in calf deep water, occasionally jumping over deep sub-channels, I put 30 meters between myself and the approaching boat. This gave me time to remove most of my wet upper garments and the camera bag. I was preparing to go for a swim and haul the boat ashore. As I disassembled the camera bag and all the hydrophobic items therein, it became clear that the boat would soon come to me, within reach of the shore. So I continued to get all parts precious laid out in the sun on the bird-pellet, fox dung festooned log that would be my rest stop for the next hour. As the sun dried my camera, jacket and bag, the boat came right to me and was soon tied to my drying log, where it bobbed and tried to get away more than once as the wind buffeted it, me and my drying items.

Lessons learned from this: have more dry towels in dry bags, watch were I walk, bring a wind-shell always.

Have a look below at what I plucked from the southern corners of Tomales Bay.

Four more tires!

One, only one oyster grow out bag [me thinks the growers are paying more attention and losing less gear!]

Plus the usual assortment of plastic wrappers, cans, bottles, tennis balls, shotgun paraphernalia.

These images are presented not for self-promotion. Rather, they are to show people who think of Tomales Bay as this untarnished jewel [jewel yes, untarnished, hardly], that our planet is being trashed by us, some of us much more than others. If we are to slow down the yearly flow of 8 million metric tons of plastic that enters the oceans each year, we need to radically change how we live our lives. So Mr. Green Airstream, please continue to pocket your butts, I’ll continue sharing what I find in Tomales Bay, whether that is abandoned oyster gear, cigarette butts, or Common Snipe and Leopard Sharks. See this comment for background on why I felt compelled to write this last paragraph.

As always, click on an image to see a larger version.

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Debris removed from Southern Tomales Bay on 25 Nov. ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Debris removed from Southern Tomales Bay on 25 Nov. ©Richard James – coastodian.org

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Three tires is a full load it seems.  ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Three tires is a full load it seems. ©Richard James – coastodian.org

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Four tires is indeed a full load. All on the rim, meaning very heavy.  ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Four tires is indeed a full load. All on the rim, meaning very heavy. ©Richard James – coastodian.org

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Placed within easy reach, awaiting pickup, hopfully by the owner of that grow-out bag....Tod.  ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Placed within easy reach, awaiting pickup, hopfully by the owner of that grow-out bag….Tod. ©Richard James – coastodian.org

Speaking of tires, still waiting to hear from someone on who to contact to remove the hundreds of tires blighting Marconi Cove. A big shout out to Hog Island Oyster Company for pulling out dozens from the boat ramp area!

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©Richard James - coastodian.org

©Richard James – coastodian.org

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Debris removed from Southern Tomales Bay on 25 Nov. ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Debris removed from Southern Tomales Bay on 25 Nov. ©Richard James – coastodian.org

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Debris removed from Southern Tomales Bay on 25 Nov. ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Debris removed from Southern Tomales Bay on 25 Nov. ©Richard James – coastodian.org

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How about biodegradable corn starch shotgun shells and shot cups (AKA wads).   ©Richard James - coastodian.org

How about biodegradable corn starch shotgun shells and shot cups (AKA wads). ©Richard James – coastodian.org

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How about recycling containers, or, using a reusable water container?   ©Richard James - coastodian.org

How about recycling containers, or, using a reusable water container? ©Richard James – coastodian.org

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Hope the party was happy. Wildlife has another thought on this senseless tradition of releasing balloons. ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Hope the party was happy. Wildlife has another thought on this senseless tradition of releasing balloons. ©Richard James – coastodian.org

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©Richard James - coastodian.org

©Richard James – coastodian.org

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Lots of unhappy (or lazy) dogs that failed to retrieve these balls. ©Richard James - coastodian.org

Lots of unhappy (or lazy) dogs that failed to retrieve these balls. ©Richard James – coastodian.org

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No shots were fired in the taking of this Pintail. ©Richard James - coastodian.org

No shots were fired in the taking of this Pintail. ©Richard James – coastodian.org

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Next relate post may be found here.

Previous related post may be found here.

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

2 thoughts on “Save our Tomales Bay – 34 King sized tides, king sized mess

  1. I’m glad you didn’t ruin your camera. Close call, though. Like you, I use a hydrophobic camera on my paddling ventures.

    A self-made rule that I observe protect said camera: I put it in inside a dry bag EVERY time I enter or exit my kayak. Following that rule can be a little bit annoying, but I’m sure that one day that habit will save my camera.

    I usually carry a small gym terry cloth towel (about 1 square foot) inside each dry bag, so I have something like 3 of those towels with my on every outing. Towels come in handy.

    So we were both out at Tomales on the same day, both collecting trash. You got a whole lot more than I did, but we got a lot of the same things. I thought about posing the trash I collected for a group photo like you did, but in the end didn’t make the time.

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