A Lesson in Sea Spray

posted in: Behind the scenes, Plein Air | 0
Sea spray through blow holes along Long Beach Walk, Cayman Brac © Nelia Harper 2015
Sea spray through blow holes along Long Beach Walk, Cayman Brac © Nelia Harper 2015

It’s quite obvious. Anyone who has ever lived or spent time living seaside knows that saltwater causes rust.  (Those of you who live and paint near the ocean are saying, “yeah, duh.”)  I should know this too.  I mean, technically, I did know.  But, I didn’t really think about it, and now I really know.

I grew up surrounded by water in the form of lakes, streams, ponds, bogs and puddles.  Water came in all forms; fog, mist, rain, sleet, snow, ice, crystals, you name it.  But the only time it came with salt was during winter, when it was dumped by the truckload onto the roads.  So, it was related to cars and winter in my mind.  Now, living in Colorado, where the snow often melts before the trucks hit the road, salt isn’t much of a concern.  Again, a car wash now and then.

Although I’ve traveled to the ocean several times, even going on many dive trips that require rinsing out our gear in freshwater after every dive, it wasn’t until I loaded up my pack after painting that I noticed.  Little bits of rust were beginning to form on my tripod.  Ack!  On closer look at my gear, I was shocked.  Rust was forming everywhere!  Oh no!

On the clasp of my pastel box.

Rust forming on my pastel box © Nelia Harper 2015
Rust forming on my pastel box © Nelia Harper 2015

Rust has begun to creep into every bit of metal, especially along the hinge.  This wasn’t here a few weeks ago.

Rust forming on my pastel box © Nelia Harper 2015
Rust forming on my pastel box © Nelia Harper 2015

Even on my binder clips.  You can see various degrees of rust beginning to form.

Binder clips in various stages of rusting © Nelia Harper 2015
Binder clips in various stages of rusting © Nelia Harper 2015

After two weeks of being exposed to sea spray and not being wiped off with clean water, rust has begun to take over.  I washed everything today and I will wipe everything down with tap water the next time I’m in the spray.  Plastic clips might be a good idea.  Another lesson learned.

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