This Week in Ocean: Get Trashed!
Just Another Molting Elephant Seal Who Needs Some R&R
“R&R” as in “rest and recuperation,” not “rock’n’roll”! As noted last week, we’ve come round to that time of year when seals and sea lions come ashore to molt. The first elephant seal opted to leave the North Jetty, likely due to all the noise and traffic, but as of yesterday, we have another individual who beached himself in the same location.
Now, this fellow (I use the term with no real clue) might look bad, what with the bald patches and what appears to be an old sharkbite scar, but he just needs some peace and quiet. Please don’t be like the idiot I witnessed last week who let his dog run up to and harass the seal, all while strolling around with a leash dangling from his hand. Advice: When you see cones, tapes and signs cordoning off an area and explaining why, there’s likely a real good reason for it. Keep your dogs away from the elephant seal, give the guy a wide berth and don’t rev your ORV or 4WD up next to him to get a photo. Info and more gentle advice at the Northcoast Marine Mammal Center.
Ocean Night, tonight, 6:30 p.m., Arcata Theatre Lounge
Speaking of idiots… Those of you who have seen Idiocracy will remember The Great Trash Avalanche of 2025 – and those who haven’t should check it out, not just because it’s a rather spot-on satire of our culture’s dumbing down, but because at the rate we’re making trash, Idiocracy is also prophetic.
I was reminded of this during the opening scenes of Trashed, tonight’s Ocean Night feature produced and directed by Candida Brady, as the camera pans across the nightmarish mountain of medical waste, household trash, toxic fluids and dead animals piled outside Sidon, Lebanon. The sheer quantity shocks, as does the fact that in Sidon and other cities across the world, people fish, bathe and drink from the same waters their garbage spills into it.
But humans are known for getting used to things – how often do we pull over to the side of the road to collect the trash persistently tangled in the weeds? Think about the hundreds of cigarette butts lining Arcata’s Tavern Row getting washed into the creeks and bay with every rain? Buy what we buy considering how we’ll dispose of the packaging materials first and the product itself when it’s outlived its usefulness? Beyond that, how often do we hold manufacturers responsible for overpackaging, governments responsible for ensuring clean air, water and land?
These are not new concepts, but Trashed illustrates the connections between trash and toxins, individuals and governments, problems and solutions. It’s a bit longer than most Ocean Night documentaries, but well worth the time – and you can stick around and watch Polyester, a surf flick tribute to Alex Knost afterwards.
Humboldt Waste Management and Zero Waste Humboldt (“If you’re not for zero waste in Humboldt County, then how much are you for?”) are co-sponsoring tonight’s event.
Get Outside Gear Sale Drop-offs and Details
Friends of the Dunes will also be at Ocean Night, helping to keep outdoor gear from ending up in the garbage by promoting reuse through their annual Get Outside Gear Sale. They’re so friendly, these Friends of the Dunes folks, that they are willing to accept your gear right at Ocean Night, outside the ATL, between 7 and 9 p.m. Consignment items must have a value of $20, and half of the sale price will go to Friends of the Dunes.
The sale itself takes place Sunday, April 14 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. If you can’t get your gear to Ocean Night, no worries – take it on out to the Humboldt Coastal Nature Center in Manila or Adventure’s Edge in Arcata or Eureka, or Salty’s Surf Shop in Trinidad. Friends of the Dunes also offers a Lanphere Dunes Guided Walk on Saturday, April 6 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Meet at Pacific Union School, 3001 Janes Road in Arcata. Reserve your spot by calling (707) 444-1397.
Free Sailboat Rides! Sunday, April 7
When’s the last time you sailed on Humboldt Bay? For most of us, probably too long ago – or not at all. Great news! The Humboldt Yacht Club holds its 75th Anniversary Open House this Sunday, April 7 at 9 a.m. at the Wharfinger. Highlights include a rummage sale, clubhouse exploration and free sailboat rides on Humboldt Bay – free sailboat rides!
Humboldt Bay on the Rise, Tuesday, April 9
Speaking of Humboldt Bay… Why not learn what to expect as the water in our bay creeps upward? On Tuesday, April 9, PowerSave Green Campus presents Aldaron Laird discussing the Humboldt Bay Sea Level Rise Adaptation Planning Project. PowerSave Green Campus an HSU student-run organization that helps spread awareness about local water issues to the larger campus community. Laird’s presentations takes place from 6 to 7:30p.m. in HSU’s Native Forum BSS 162.
MPA Monitoring: Your Thoughts Sought
Finally, a reminder that public comment on the draft North Coast MPA Baseline Program RFP is being accepted through 5 p.m. on April 10. Quick recap: In December, a network of 20 MPAs and seven special closures was adopted by the California Fish and Game Commission in state waters from the California/Oregon border to Alder Creek, near Point Arena.
The first step in monitoring is the Baseline Program, which establishes a benchmark against which future performance can be measured and documents any initial changes. The draft RFP details proposal requirements for baseline MPA monitoring in the region. The draft RFP can be downloaded as a PDF file from OceanSpaces.org; hard copies can be found at a number of locations throughout the North Coast region. Comments may be submitted online comment form at OceanSpaces.org, via email at email@example.com or old-school to MPA Monitoring Enterprise – draft RFP Comments, California Ocean Science Trust, 1330 Broadway, Suite 1530, Oakland, CA 94612. You can also submit to your local Community Liason Brandi Easter through firstname.lastname@example.org.