Friday, January 8, 2010

Treasures From The Deep, Part Two

Besides shells and sea glass, you never know what is going to wash ashore. It is amazing how much trash and especially plastic seems to float in. Among the ‘popular’ items we have found are light bulbs and fluorescent light tubes, bread racks, hard hats, buckets, 5ft. long missile casings, fisherman’s longliner markers called “high fliers”, miles of ropes including huge ship hawsers, and lots of lumber. One thing that has always made me wonder is how and why do so many shoes float in? It is a really strange phenomenon, and we have never found a matching pair.

During one of our first trips to the Abacos in the late 1980’s, we were beachcombing and came across several interesting items. One was an abandoned ATV, most likely left by a drug runner(popular activity at that time), and another was a gorgeous purple glass fishing float that Portuguese fisherman used on their nets, but have long since discontinued. Now we just find either styrofoam ones, or sometimes plastic or even more rarely, metal round floats that wash up from countries all over the world.

The third and most exciting item that we found was a message in a bottle! It was in a small green glass bottle that I found way up on the rocks, still totally intact. The message inside had been written on what looked like a cruise ship itinerary and had the name and address of someone in Germany. We wrote to them and they replied in German. Thankfully my sister-in-law speaks a bit of German and so did her parents, so they translated that this couple had thrown the bottle overboard on their honeymoon cruise to the Canary Islands. It had taken two years for the bottle to travel in the currents, and land on the rocky beach where we found it. We kept in touch with them for a few years, but then lost contact. I still keep the bottle with the message inside along with the purple float, because it reminds me that you never know what treasures the sea will give up with each change of the tide.

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