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Thursday, October 14, 2010

A good morning at Ditch Plains

Path to the legendary Ditch Plains.
If you've heard of one place in Montauk, it's probably Ditch Plains, this little surfing spot that's been popular among big-name surfers for decades. My sister heard that Vans was putting on a competition out there today, so we headed over this morning to see if we could catch any of the Joel Tudor Duct Tape Invitational

Turns out there were zero waves. Seriously. This kind of surf is what the cousins and I have always affectionately refered to as "Lake Montauk" (although, technically, geographically, that term refers to an actual place elsewhere in the village). We moseyed down to the competition tent anyway. 

When we got down to the tent, Kat inquired about the competition and I started picking up some of the plastic trash that was laying about in the sand near the tent. I was surprised when the guy Kat had been talking to started doing the same. Of course, I'm sure he had a certain commercial stake in making the beach nicer for the surfers and whoever else might come out to watch the competition, but it is still nice to think that maybe my small gesture inspired someone else to take action.

Then, as we made our way back down the beach, and Kat collected shells and a particularly beautiful fish skeleton, two women — probably Ditch Plains locals — who were walking a dog asked us if we were picking up trash off the beach and, when we responded "yes," one said "awesome," in such a way as to suggest that it had possibly just occurred to her that she could do the same on her morning walks.

Kat did get to catch some of the competition later in the day when the surf finally picked up. Unfortunately, I had to miss it.

Waves finally picked up later in the day.
(This photo snapped by my sister, Kat.)
Today's pickup was pretty big. Oh, and happy birthday, Megan.

Here's the tally:

1 plastic "Megan's 13th-Birthday" bracelet + 1 plastic party popper
+ 1 large party balloon + pieces from 17 other party balloons
+ 19 unidentified pieces of hard plastic
+ 14 unidentified pieces of plastic film
+ 3 plastic bottles + 1 piece from another plastic bottle
+ 6 plastic caps
+ 3 plastic baggies
+ 2 plastic lids + 1 plastic cup + pieces from 6 other plastic cups
+ 4 plastic straw
+ 4 plastic utensils
+ 1 piece of plastic "foil" from the top of a wine bottle
+ 1 plastic grocery bag
+ 6 plastic food wrappers
+ 2 plastic beauty-product tubes + 1 hair tie (not sure just how offensive
to the environment hair ties are, but I'm assuming it is made from synthetic rubber)
+ 3 pieces of smoking paraphernalia
(That's plastic-covered packaging on the left there, folks.)
+ 7 various boat pieces
+ 6 pieces of plastic fishing gear
+ 2 pieces of duct tape (not associated with the surf competition)
+ 3 rubber bands
(again, assuming they are synthetic rubber, which is a polymer)
+ 3 work gloves
+ 3 unidentified black plastic circular things
+ 3 plastic ties
And 2 Coors cans + 1 Bud Light can, which I will be returning for deposit:
+ 15 cents to me.
Saved today from the Great Atlantic Garbage Patch: 124 pieces of plastic.

Total saved: 159


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