“Invisible Beach”: Where We Meet ‘The Contender’

By John Vonderlin


(Image: John Vonderlin’s collection of tags found at ‘Invisible Beach.’)

Having been a Natural Wonder collector, photographer and admirer for years, it seemed logical to create dissonant art by combining objects from my collection with some of the disturbing and odd things I was finding. But that came later. Here’s what I consider the start.

My love affair with the non-buoyant debris of Invisible Beach, actually had its roots in the day I encountered some unusual flotsam there.

Flotsam is floating debris from a shipwreck, the more common sibling of jetsam, which is material thrown overboard to lighten the load of a boat in distress.

Viewing the flotsam, a plastic wrapped bundle of fish tags from a boat named, “The Contender,” as nothing more then odd beach litter, I picked it up and put it in my litter bag.

As I proceeded northward towards the pebbles and driftwood I was seeking, I found many more of the loose, business-card-sized, plastic-like fish tags with a variety of different numbers on them. I remember entertaining momentarily the idea of trying to contact the boat’s owner and complain about their carelessness. Instead I threw them all in a trash can before I drove away.


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