When Jess Tunnell spotted what appeared to be a leg on a Gulf of Mexico beach in Texas, he thought his greatest fear – a body washed ashore – had come true.
‘I thought, ‘Oh my God.’ said Mr. Tunnell, who is a manager Aransas National Estuarine Research Expedition In Port Aransas, Texas.
After all, the leg was wearing the pants. But when Mr. Tunnell went to lift it, the leg turned out to be a prosthesis, one of many items from the wrecks and jets that come ashore along the Texas coast each year.
Would you like to take it home?
The prosthetic leg will go up for auction on Saturday, along with other exotic pieces recovered from more than 500 tons of marine debris. according to reservewashes up on Texas beaches every year.
Crispy baby dolls. Barnacle-coated boat equipment. weather masks. Messages in bottles. doses in bottles. Even a mermaid—well, a three-foot-tall fiberglass one.
These items and more will be auctioned off, with proceeds benefitting Amos RehabilitationIt is a rehabilitation center for sea turtles and birds in the reserve.
The site was founded in 1982 by Tony Amos. The auction, Tony’s Trash to Treasure, named in his honor, will begin at 10 a.m. at Roberts Point Park in Port Aransas, Texas.
Most items range in price from $5 to $50. Want to bid on one of our creepy dolls? Auction buyers must be in person.
the reserve It is a federal and state partnership funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and administered by the University of Texas Institute of Marine Sciences.
The rehabilitation center takes care of about 1,500 animals each year, including 1,000 birds and about 500 sea turtles, many of them Kemp’s Ridley species. An endangered species.
“Ultimately we want people to know what’s in the ocean and to care about it, that’s how we’re going to protect it,” said Mr Tunnell. “That’s why we do all these crazy things,” he added, like auctioning prosthetics and fiberglass mermaids.
Mr. Tunnell said the amount of debris washed up hasn’t necessarily increased over the years but he has noticed a shift in the material. At first, volunteers found mostly glass and metal on the beach. Now the debris is mostly plastic, which can be fatal to Kemp’s ridley sea turtles and other sea creatures.
The case reached a wide audience outside of South Texas last year when John Oliver was horrified at the Web part only From his topical comedy series “Last Week Tonight” on HBO, he told viewers that dozens of dolls, doll heads, and other doll parts were washing up on the state’s Gulf Coast. He described the puppets as nightmare fodder and “the worst thing I’ve ever seen.”
“Burn them. Burn them now.” Mr. Oliver said. “I hate those dolls. I hate them so much.”
(The dolls and doll parts shown in this section are not part of the auction. Mr. Oliver bought them from the Sanctuary and shipped them to Malmö, Sweden, where They were fed in public garbage cans Written by Nina Persson, lead singer of Swedish band Cardigan.)
Studies have shown that far more debris, mostly plastic waste, accumulates on beaches in Texas than in other states along the Gulf of Mexico. Mr. Tunnell said this is because Loop streamwhich brings warm waters north between Cuba and Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.
When this ring current comes into the Gulf, he said, “it swirls around these eddies.” “Anything in the whirlpools just pushes to the coast of Texas.”
Mr. Tunnell and a team of 40 volunteers surveyed the reserve from April 1 to mid-July to monitor nesting sea turtles and birds.
The reserve sends out patrols twice a day during peak turtle season in the bay, between mid-May and mid-June. But on those tours, the group encounters more than just wildlife, including Well made boat which the Reserve believes came from Cuba. Local officials took it to the dump before Mr. Tunnell and his team could seize it.
Volunteers have been collecting rubbish and auctioning off the best finds for 15 years, said Mr Tunnell, who posts the most interesting items on Facebook And Youtube.
On Saturday, Mr. Tunnell will quit his day job as a scientist to play an auction house. He expects the mermaid to be the big-ticket item.
“I’m going to say silly things to try to increase bids,” he said, “but it’s all in fun.” He said that people are often drawn to creepy dolls. “Why they want those, I have no idea.”