FRISCO — A tractor-trailer-size container filled with thousands of bags of Doritos washed up here early Thursday, prompting Hatteras Islanders to summon their inner scavengers.
After drifting south for several days in the Atlantic, the container veered landward at Diamond Shoals off Cape Point and came to rest in the wash south of the Cape Hatteras Fishing Pier in Frisco as the tide came in.
Steve Hissey, who runs the tackle shop at Teach’s Lair marina in Hatteras, received a call from a charter boat captain.
“How’s the fishing?” Hissey asked.
“I got two stripers and 35 bags of Doritos,” the captain answered.
Hissey said charter captains were angling for striped bass off the shoals when they spotted the container, broke it open and helped themselves.
Long before National Park Service ranger Brad Griest learned that the cargo container had beached, Hatteras Islanders were busy with their time-honored tradition of wreck salvage. A stream of folks stuffed large garbage bags with Cool Ranch, Nacho Cheese and Spicy Nacho Doritos.
Strewn across the beach, the red and blue bags were each marked “export.”
One person filled a truck with them. Others carted off armloads of the bags, which were mostly undamaged.
“Just helping with cleanup,” Frisco resident Parc Greene, clutching a garbage bag, told Griest, who waved him ahead.
David Dixon, an Avon attorney and amateur videographer, wasted no time in taking video footage to make a 30-second commercial. Doritos is running a promotion that invites fans to post their own homemade commercials. The best one will be broadcast during the Super Bowl on Feb. 4, said spokeswoman Aurora Gonzalez of Texas-based Frito-Lay, the maker of Doritos.
Gonzalez had no information on the beached Doritos.
When the park service managed by mid afternoon Thursday to get the shipping container locked and removed, it still held an undetermined number of boxed chips.
The Coast Guard has not yet tracked down the ship that lost the container, likely during last week’s nor’easter, said Petty Officer Kevin Schneider of the Marine Safety Team in Elizabeth City.
Schneider said the team is responsible for cleaning up a hazardous material, such as an oil spill. There may be some argument to be made about the health hazard of chips, he said, but the risk didn’t quite qualify.
“When I found out it’s Doritos, it’s pretty much out of our jurisdiction,” he said. “It’s definitely litter, but it’s not a contaminant.”
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My question to you: Would you eat these chips?