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Sunday, March 19, 2017

Little ship at sea

A little ship at sea...recently discovered on a fishing float washed up on a local beach.

Perhaps some of you have found similar floats?

It's always interesting to wonder about the origins and journeys of objects that wash up on the beach.  

In this case, the Chinese characters reveal some clues.  Thanks to Evelyne, here's a translation of the characters surrounding the ship:

➤ The top two characters (on either side of the ship's sail):
浙 江 = Zhejiang Province, a province on the central eastern coast of China, south of the Yangtze River  

The bottom two characters on the left:

溫 州 = Wenzhou City

And the bottom two characters on the right:

蟠 凤 = Pan Feng Village  (separately these two characters also mean "coiled phoenix" and are part of an idiom used in a poem by one of the most famous Chinese poets, Li Bai)

It's likely that this float was made in this Chinese village.  But where did the float begin its journey in the ocean?  We're not sure, but there is another clue.  Did you notice the white, lacy animal growing in patches on the float?

See photos above, and here's an extreme close-up:

This is the skeleton of a bryozoan, and thanks to Jim we know that it's Jellyella eburnea, a species associated with warmer water.  So although we don't know the entire route of the float and the little ship, it likely spent some time in warmer water (possibly to our south).

P.S.  Many thanks to Evelyne, Jim, Megan, and Miho for their assistance with this story!

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