According to Sam and Jim Commenting on things that irk us off, make us laugh out loud or just seem too weird too believe According to Sam and Jim: Coming soon, a whole bunch of tsunami garbage from Japan

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Coming soon, a whole bunch of tsunami garbage from Japan

Sam and I are thinking about engaging in a little off-shore black market shopping. If you haven’t heard or read about it, there’s a massive pile of debris from the recent Japanese tsunami, estimated to be 350 miles wide and 1,300 miles long (about the size of California), bearing down on the West Coast.

The Japanese stuff – houses, cars, buses, telephone poles, refrigerators, furniture, toys and who knows what else may be available as early as 2013. Hey, do your Christmas shopping early! Beachcombing suddenly has taken on a whole new dimension! Forget looking for glass fishing floats. Look instead for a new toilet, a computer, clothes, cooking utensils, futons, now when you walk the beach. One man’s junk is another man’s treasure you know?

To make matters worse, the tsunami stuff could merge with The Pacific Ocean Garbage Patch, a huge bunch of detritus about the size of a small country, that’s been swirling around in the ocean for some years and is now a colossal environmental mess, not to mention a huge hazard to shipping and commercial fishing.

The Patch was created by ocean currents swirling in North Pacific waters. Called the sub-tropical gyre, these currents are perpetually present in the North Pacific Ocean and they are the main reason behind the accumulated waste. The trash has a difficult time exiting the gyre in a timely fashion, but eventually the trash is deposited in the East and the West parts of the Pacific Ocean.

But like Sam and I pointed out, one country’s garbage is someone else’s treasure. Reportedly, quite a black market thrives among the denizens of the deep already. Talk to Mako the Shark if you want a really good deal on some otherwise hard-to-obtain merchandise. Tell him Sam and Jim sent you. He got Myrtle the Turtle a girdle and Spike Lennon the Octopus a new set of drums. He came across a GPS device for a school of soon-to-spawn salmon and a set of hula hoops to jump through for a troupe of acrobatic dolphins.

Unfortunately, natural disasters like tsunamis are responsible for only a portion of all the creeping crud in the ocean. Shipping also is a big culprit contributing to the Patch. In 1999, a freighter spill dumped 50,000 pairs of Nike shoes into the Pacific.

Mrs. A. Killer Whale was looking for some size 48 Nikes for her new calf.

“Sorry, Mrs. A,” Mako said. “No 48s.” He hated to disappoint Mrs. A. Killer whales are known to have bad tempers. But a shark can only do so much. He bared his sharpest upper teeth in relief when Mrs. A. said she understood.

In 1992, a bunch of containers fell off a ship and disgorged 29,000 plastic ducks and turtles into the sea. Researchers have been tracking them ever since. They entered the Garbage Patch late in 1992. Between 1995 and 2000, several were seen floating through the Bering Straight into the Arctic. In 2001, plastic ducks were seen bobbing over the waves where the Titanic sank. In 2003. Later that year a plastic turtle was found on the beach in the Hebrides in north-west Scotland. Man, that’s one heck of a rubber ducky race.

It is estimated that as many as 10,000 containers fall overboard every year and there are no “Container overboard,” drills. A typical 8-foot-by 40-foot t container can carry up to 58,000 pounds of cargo. Sam and I think we might buy a Marine Debris Tracker App (they really exist) so we can keep afloat of all the debris. 

This is better than EBay.

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