What Is In the Ocean?

By now we’ve all heard of it: that abstract giant mass of garbage, three times the size of France that’s floating out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. The Garbage Island, or the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. We’re worried about it, collectively, especially when we think of all those cute otters and seals choking on straws and plastic bags.

But out here on the West Coast, especially up north, it’s hard to imagine that much garbage really being in the ocean. Not when the beaches are so beautifully picturesque… so empty and large.

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There is one man who probably has no issues imagining all of the garbage floating out there in the ocean. John Anderson lives in Forks, Washington, and no he is not a vampire. He’s a beachcomber. Collecting things from the beach his whole life, little by little, finding messages in bottles, fossils, doll heads, Nikes, and thousands upon thousands of buoys, John has put all of his finds into a treasure-filled museum in his backyard just off the highway in Forks.

fullsizeoutput_e05If you were to ask John, what is in the ocean exactly? He would probably answer: a little bit of everything. You never know what you might find.

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Yellyfish, one of John’s artistic creations.

Pay the small $5 entry fee (cash only) for John’s museum and he welcomes you into a world of wonders. Look up and down, he says, and even though he’s a quiet person, he has stories to tell for each item.

John beachcombs on Pacific Northwest beaches, as well as occasionally taking trips south to the beaches of Texas and Florida. Everything in his museum has been found on the beach, and the variety of things, from whale bones, to mammoth teeth, to hard hats and medical supplies will surprise and captivate you. It’s like taking a dive into the truth of a capitalist world: too much stuff, lost at sea, forgotten forever… until found by John.

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Some of the treasures he’s found have sentimental value.

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Sea beans… seeds from the Amazon Rain Forest that float up to the Texas coast.

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Trying to find the museum? Just look for the enormous buoy statue in John’s front yard.

Whether you’re worried about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch or not, whether you use plastic straws or not… the next time you’re in Forks, skip the Twilight walking tour and  check out John’s Beachcombing Museum. In my opinion, it’s a necessity.

John’s Beachcombing Museum
143 Andersonville Avenue, Forks, WA 98331
Open daily, 10am-5pm.

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