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Old 01-09-2016, 08:49 PM   #1
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Your local flotsam location

The most common flotsam location in my area is several hundred yards south of the old Benicia railroad ferry docks (obsolete in 1930). Especially after heavy rains, I've observed pilings, boards, trees and such frequently. So, what's your "favorite" spot?

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Old 01-09-2016, 11:05 PM   #2
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Mark--- Up here we have a very high tidal range as you know. This results in some pretty strong currents. When you put the thousands of islands between here and SE Alaska, islands you've seen during your Alaska cruises, in the middle of these currents you get a lot of swirling going on. Like boulders in a river.

Besides the reversing rapids in the narrow places, we get what are called current lines or tide rips in the water up here. You've probably seen them from the decks of the ships you've been on.

These are formed where water going one direction at X-speed runs into water going another direction at Y-speed. Or the speeds are the same but the directions are different. This intersection forms a visible line on the water and these intersections are great capture-and-hold points for all sorts of stuff. Huge floating eelgrass and kelp mats, branches, logs, pieces of lumber, trash like Styrofoam, bottles and cans, you name it, if it can float it can end up strung out along these current lines.

The lines are all over the place and they are constantly on the move as the currents change strength and direction.

Fortunately they are fairly visible as one approaches them so one generally has time to figure out the best place to pick one's way through them while encountering the least amount of trash.

The reason these lines or rips can be a problem is that they can contain stuff that can get sucked up through intakes even with screens over them (eelgrass) or held over an intake by suction to partially or completely shut of the water flow (kelp). Wood debris can damage struts, shafts, props and rudders. Single engine boats are less susceptible to this but I know of a number of singles--power and sail-- that were disabled by hitting something in the water.

The current lines can run for very long distances so one pretty much has to go through them when they are encountered. The trick is to find the least cluttered spots or the occasional break in the line with no debris.
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Old 01-10-2016, 11:36 AM   #3
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My favorite, a rip we found a few miles off of Santa Rosa Is. Fl in the late 80s. We picked up a bunch of Mahi Mahi there, we were casting lures from my Whaler Montauk to a tree floating in the line. Fun fish on spinning tackle they were jumped like crazy, bloody as can be in the boat but great eating!
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Old 01-10-2016, 09:32 PM   #4
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Mark, that 'flotsam' is just so cute!

This is real hairy chested flotsam that was floating around so long its root wad was ground down and had grass growing on it;
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Old 01-11-2016, 12:37 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marin View Post
Besides the reversing rapids in the narrow places, we get what are called current lines or tide rips in the water up here. You've probably seen them from the decks of the ships you've been on.

These are formed where water going one direction at X-speed runs into water going another direction at Y-speed. Or the speeds are the same but the directions are different. This intersection forms a visible line on the water and these intersections are great capture-and-hold points for all sorts of stuff. Huge floating eelgrass and kelp mats, branches, logs, pieces of lumber, trash like Styrofoam, bottles and cans, you name it, if it can float it can end up strung out along these current lines.
As sea kayakers we got to know them well, feeling the current difference through the seat of our kayaks and seeing small bits spinning in circles if they rested right on the line. They form along the shorelines of long channels and slowly move towards the centre of the channel as tides change.

The tidal current reverses direction in shallow water first, but in mid channel the current will still be moving in the opposite direction because of all that mass and momentum. This is why the lines on either side of a channel move towards each other, then disappear, as the mid channel current slows down then reverses.

If there is any wind, you'll be able to tell which current is going which way because one side of the line will be flattened out (going with the wind) and the other being 'choppier' (against the wind).

Once they enter a wider body of water they'll break apart and swirl around aimlessly until they dissipate.

Always have my rope & net radar up high when crossing them.
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Old 01-11-2016, 08:23 AM   #6
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In September when the HEAVY rains and flooding hit the SE coast we were at Johns Island for several days waiting it out. It not only rained at the coast but flooding of rivers occurred well inland also. There was also an extreme high lunar tide. The end result was huge amounts of water coming down the rivers and ending up in the AICW. From Charleston area to past Georgetown you could not avoid the flotsam. It was continuous strings of logs, boards, clumps of grass the size of a dinghy as well as anything else that would semi float when the exceptionally high water levels moved it along on it's trip to the sea. Several weeks later the King tide got the stuff the first high water missed. Fun on the water.
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Old 01-12-2016, 12:05 PM   #7
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Each spring, "13 football fields, 10 feet deep."
What gets by, occupies our waterways and beaches for the summer.
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Old 01-12-2016, 08:06 PM   #8
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My marina seems to be the collection point for some of the logs that float down the Columbia after heavy rains or runoff. The water swirls around the downstream end of our island and it sweeps logs and other garbage into the marina area.


I have a couple of photos of one that I took a few weeks ago. The long branch poked its way through the stern window of the Sun Runner.





Here's the other end of it, about 50' away.


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