This is probably not going to get me many brownie points from the Chamber of Commerce, but sometimes our beach is not quite what the brochures depict it to be. This can be due to the forces of Nature or the farces of man.
Tuesday, Oct. 17, it was a bit of both as my notes from BEACHobs number 3,835 record. Each note has the time, distance south from Access Road 1 and code(s) to help me sort and file the info later:
PPL = Piping Plover, BAND a color-banded bird (colors and GPS location of these birds follow), CHEM a drum or pail, ALGA algae, including red tide, METH method note, EROR an error I made, INSC insects, ANIM animals, DIGI a digital photograph. The psychrometer measures humidity and is whirled around to make the measurement. This venerable instrument took its last whirl Tuesday. Other codes self explanatory.
Interestingly, the discolored water that day was not due to the red tide, but to a bloom of a diatom, identified by Dr. Tracy Villareal of UTMSI (University of Texas Marine Science Institute). The coughing was due to the red tide. I am now going on an allday survey of a remote island and will take mask and goggles in anticipation of another day in paradise.
08:05:00 0 Start Survey 10/17/06 3835 108016 592.8
08:17:32 0 PPL BAND Green flag right - not the bicolor bird!. 27 47.576; 097 05.111
08:20:02 .1 CHEM 5gal E PP Empty yellow plastic pail w. lid. Shell Rotella Grade SAE40 HD Motor Oil.
08:24:48 .4 PPL BAND Lt green on grey/orange. 27 47.326; 097 05.311.
08:30:28 .8 PPL BAND Green on yellow/red. 27 47.036; 097 05.555.
08:32:08 .9 PPL BAND Blue bird. 27 46.991; 097 05.590.
Note: birds out of place due to high tide.
08:34:28 1 ALGAAMOS I am starting to cough - red tide aerosol again.
08:55:27 2 TIDEDUNE Another day of high tide - beyond the dunes
09:04:50 2.1 ALGAAMOSKEPT Coughing & sneezing uncontrollably - collected water sample.
09:09:24 2.5 PPL BAND BF blue2black. 27 45.865; 097 06.4 65.
09:11:10 2.5 PPL BAND Blue bird2. 27 45.823; 097 06.490.
09:16:23 2.9 PPL BAND Light green on green/blue. 27 45.575; 097 06.678.
09:18:40 3.1 CHEM 5gal E PP Empty grey plastic pail. Hulk System 101 Heavy Duty Industrial Cleaner. Clock 2/05.
09:23:18 3.2 AMOSALGAINSC This is nice; I am coughing & sneezing & now wheezing with asthma. I've been bitten by mosquitoes and my ankles bitten by fire ants trying to measure the beach width.
09:34:56 3.8 METHEROR As I was musing how long I'd had the psychrometer with the same thermometers, the sling flew apart and the thermometers shattered on impact with the beach.
09:34:56 3.8 0 0 27.77 1017 0 0 Mostly cloudy. w16.4 w214.9 f114.9 f214.4 f314.1
09:57:00 3.9 DIGI 51 53 400 500 11 WILLINSC Willet eating dragonfly.
09:59:27 4.2 INSCANIM A mixture of terrestrial animals (insects) and marine organisms (jellies) at the shoreline.
10:08:49 4.7 CHEM 5gal E PP Empty white plastic pail w. no lid or label. Covered in serpulid worm casts & bryazoa. Clock 3/01.
10:17:58 5.1 ALGASEAS The sea is brown/orange here with red tide; collected sample. Photos of the discolored sea and the samples.
10:28:51 6.1 11.4 9.9 8.3 GARBTIDE The tide has tipped all the trash barrels over in the Port Aransas area, but in the Corpus Christi region only a few have spilled because they are on posts above the sand. Interesting but the seldom-emptied PA barrels contain offshote stuff(Green bottles milk jugs gloves egg cartons as well as beachgoer cans and bottles). In the CC area there is little of anything even where they've spilled.
10:44:10 6.3 CHEM 10gal E PC Empty blue plastic carboy. No markings no clock.
10:47:44 6.8 CHEM 55gal E MD Empty rusty drum that has been converted to a sort of lifting device with a steel bar and chain welded to bottom and a wide hole cut in top.
10:51:44 7.1 ALGA The visible red tide extends to here & beyond.
BUTT Thousands of snout butterflies on the wing and on the beach with some other species including monarchs.
10:55:59 7.4 CARSDUNE City of Corpus Christi Front-end loader doing scraping sand at the apron way at Access #2 & piling it in the dunes.
10:56:40 7.4 End it!
Tony Amos is a research fellow at The University of Texas at Austin Marine Science Institute in Port Aransas.