El Faro finds

Sometime around the 24th or 25th of this month, cargo that is thought the be from the sunken El Faro started washing up along the entire island of Exuma and surrounding Cays.  The news spread on Facebook and people headed to the shore to ‘salvage’ what was washing up.  Salvaging is an old Bahamian practice of collecting goods from sunken ships.  In some historical cases, the ships were deliberately misled into crashes so that the cargo could be claimed.  In The Ferry, Little Exuma, there is a small church which was built entirely from materials salvaged from an (accidentally) sunken ship.

The El Faro debris has deposited hundreds of Frontline tick-prevention medication for pets across various beaches. There are also lots of tubes of mini-m&ms (predominately empty), lots of hypodermic needles (for diabetes), mayonnaise packets, and various Avon products (like deodorants).  It sort of feels like this must be coming from a container for a Drug Store. We might be able to find out – there is a rumor that part of a container ran aground on Duck Cay, which is a rock we’ve been to many-a-weekend.

It’s definitely weird to associate these finds with the drowned sailors aboard the ship.  They must have been so near to us.  I do like the idea that anything useable that washed up is going to be used.  This stuff is getting cleaned up off of the beach one way or another.  The local vet office is going to receive a bounty of donated Frontline, that’s for sure.

sea beans

It’s starting to feel like winter here.  It’s still in the 70s everyday, but the temperature hardiness John and I brought with us has been destroyed.  Our spoiled selves are starting to find the water almost too cold to swim in (also in the 70s), and we’re noticing a fresh crispness in the air.

We’ve been having a lot of windy weather lately, and this week brought a huge amount of seaweed and lightweight flotsam to shore.  Yesterday we put on long pants and hung out on the beach, where I got to work picking up a depressing amount of plastic that had washed ashore.  (I’ll talk about the volume of plastic that I find in another post.)

But we found something new and interesting!  Behold, sea beans.

Ours don’t look very heart-y, but from what I could figure out online, this specific type of ocean-faring seed is called a ‘sea heart.’  I guess some of them look like hearts.

Sea hearts fall out of their giant seed pods and plop into the water somewhere in the tropical rainforest.  They come from a plant called a monkey ladder, which is a type of Liana vine.  You’ve got to click through to this website to see some crazy pictures of this plant and the journey of these seed out of the Amazon!  They can float in saltwater for 2 years and still produce a baby plant in the right environment.

The amount of websites that come up when searching for sea beans/seeds/hearts is pretty fascinating.  It’s an entire category of beach combing!  I was also able to identify these whiter seeds as mangoes.

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So yeah, something new to collect!