Weird Shit Is Washing Up in Santa Cruz

Heads of cauliflower, large garden frogs, dangerously large shards of glass — oh my!

It’s been a few days since any rain descended on the San Francisco Bay Area. Denizens of the region have used this time to sequester sunlight, take their doggos out for slick-free walks, and assess damages caused by record-breaking, historic flooding, particularly in areas south of San Jose — like Santa Cruz. As we highlighted last week, towering storm surges produced tsunami-like flooding, which was only exacerbated as rivers and streams swelled, spilling over banks and swallowing residential and business properties.

In the aftermath, peculiarities have been spotted across Santa Cruz beaches and further inland. Case in point: A head of cauliflower was found by a local shutterbug earlier this week.

“Today I found a cauliflower at Rio Del Mar Beach,” writes [at]NativeSantaCruz on Twitter. (If this handle sounds familiar, the account user uploaded that chilling image of a storm surge traveling up Santa Cruz’s Soquel Creek earlier this month.)

Others were also quick to share their finds — including objects of interest found by a well-seasoned “[beachcomber].”

“I’m a seasoned beachcomber,” tweets  Matie Nicholls. “And never found a bracelet before. The gray piece is an old TV screen. The other is a sand dollar fossil. And a washed-up log.”

Among other material quirks found? A random assortment of opened-toed shoes, a spare tire… and a large, verdant deck frog.

It’s an eerie parallel to the 2011 Japanese tsunami that devoured an estimated 18 million tons of debris. For months — and years — after, detritus washed up on far-flung beaches across the Pacific. In 2013, a boat belonging to a high school rowing team in Rikuzentakata, Japan was found on the shores of Crescent City, California. 

We’re not likely to see the same extent of civilizational bits washing up in the months (and years) following this month’s bomb cyclone. But it’s still a reason to keep an eye out for word bits of human engineers the next time you’re combing a Santa Cruz beach. And, should you see something synthetic and out of place, please dispose of it responsibly.

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