Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Hanna and the Wrack Line

Jim just called to report that the beach is literally blanketed with wrack - sargassum (seaweed) washed ashore by storms Fay and Hanna. We received a similar report for beaches along Biscayne Bay in Miami. We'll have photos later.

This photo from last year shows colleague Matt MacQueen and Dr. Curtis Ebbesmeyer (aka Dr. Ducky) preparing to videotape the beach walks shown on our website. That brown stuff they are standing is is called the wrack line. In the Flotsam section of our DVD, Florida Beach Basics - The Space Coast, we use Blair and Dawn Witherington's definition: The wrack line is lengthy piles of floating marine stuff that has washed in with the tide.

Good things come in with the sargassum - the wrack line is where you are most likely to find sea-beans. Unfortunately, as you may recall from an earlier posting, hatchling sea turtles that make their home in the "nursery" provided by the Sargasso Sea also wash in with this seaweed. These post-hatchlings are referred to as "washbacks", and they don't have the strength to swim back out to their home. If you find washbacks, don't just put them back into the ocean. Please call the Sea Turtle Preservation Society (STPS) at (321) 676-1701 or take them to the STPS facility located near the intersection of 5th Avenue and A1A in Indialantic, in the strip shopping center next to Wendy's. If it is after hours, there is a holding box at the back of the facility, or call the pager (321) 455-0576 and input your phone number.
In our DVD, we recommend that you use a "wrack stick" to look for things in the wrack line - you never know what might be in there.

1 comment:

Cactus Jack Splash said...

I hope that the new hatchlings do not take too big of a hit do to the storm.