Rare Beach Find, Tropical Fruits Washing Ashore in Rhode Island
The fruit itself may not be unusual, but finding one washing up on a Rhode Island beach is.
In the past few weeks beachcombers in Rhode Island have come across coconuts at Sakonnet Point, Block Island and the Goosewing Beach Preserve in Little Compton.
The foreign fruits managed to make their way from warmer climates to our tiny corner of the world, amazing those that find them.
According to The Nature Conservancy in Rhode Island, the coconut finds are not completely new, but are pretty rare.
The non-profit organization shared the coconut news on their Facebook page recently and people were quick to comment.
Many pointed out that the Gulf Stream current could easily bring such fruit to our Northern shores, but according to Tim Mooney, Marketing & Communications Manager at The Nature Conservancy, that's probably not what happened.
Mooney told us that Geoff Dennis, who came across and photographed the coconut seen above, walks the Little Compton shoreline every day, all-year round and has only found about 12 total coconuts over the last 20 years.
So when he came across three in one summer, it was very unusual.
Where Are The Coconuts Found in Rhode Island Coming From?
Mooney says the foreign fruit are likely from Florida or the Bahamas and that it's actually wind that's taken this far.
The sustained southerly winds we've experienced this summer are pushing floating debris like fallen coconuts up from the tropics and depositing them on New England beaches. These winds are also the reason Portuguese Man O'War jellyfish come our way and sadly are the cause of so much plastic waste turning up on local sands.
Southerly winds have been so strong this summer that there have even been reports of coconuts as far north as Maine this summer.
The winds don't push the fruits very fast however. One of the coconuts that washed up on Goosewing Beach actually had barnacles growing on it.
Clearly not something you want to crack open and stick a straw in, but according to the Conservancy the seeds should still be viable.
An ambitious gardener with a greenhouse might make a palm tree grow from a found coconut, but Mooney says coconut palms are limited to tropical coastal areas and would never grow naturally on the SouthCoast shoreline.
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