I was at my favorite beach yesterday, and was surprised to see 50-foot-long sections of pipe lined up in front of the dunes.  My first reaction was they must be putting in new storm sewers. To my right were old rusty metal pipe sections, and to my left were brand new plastic pipe sections.

 At first sight I thought I had seen another whale, like I did last year, but I quickly realized I was seeing several sections of the plastic pipe floating and bobbing up and down in the water.  They were several hundred yards out in the Atlantic, which made them appear to be small.

 Finally, a guy showed up wearing a hard hat, so I asked him what was going on.  He informed me that they are from Texas, and specialize in beach restoration.  So, after much research I figured out that they were using a technique of dredging in which a sea vessel that looks like an oil tanker is used.  It is called a Trailing station hopper dredge. You need to google that and see this machine in operation.  It is yet another conquest of human ingenuity.

This tanker-style vessel, basically has two giant vacuum beds on each side of the vessel. They are simultaneously lowered to the ocean floor and suck up the sand and water like a giant vacuum sweeper.  The water and sand are pumped into the holding barge in the middle of the vessel.  The water is separated from the sand until the storage is full.

Once full they have three ways of discharging all that sand.  First, they can drive directly over the area of beach that needs the sand, dump it out through the doors on the bottom of the vessel, directly where it is needed.  Secondly, if the water is too shallow to float over, they can spray it like a giant cannon on the area of restoration. Thirdly, which is what I saw, they can pump the sand through those large pipes directly onto the beach.  There, heavy equipment is used to scatter, and restore the beach to its original state.  Quite an operation to witness, in fact I think I might go back over there today and see it again.

God bless you all -- RHM