Bruno’s Ball and Christina’s Slipper?

I’ve been away for the entire Summer – seems like forever – and return to a garden turned wilderness (with unwanted inhabitants included), a broken water pump and a very trashy Happy Beach. But the sea is beautiful as ever…

happy beach
Home sweet Home

Apparently the turtles have been scarce this year, only  3 – 4 nests compared to 20+ last Summer. Am not sure how this works but I’m pretty certain it has nothing to do with Christina Aguilera or Justin Bieber. Our local luxury VIP hotel was accused of damaging turtle nests when building a beachside stage to host a concert with the pop idols. It caused quite a fuss involving politicians and withdrawn permits, and finally the gig was cancelled. With my small knowledge of the turtles’ habits and breeding grounds the whole thing smells a bit fishy to me.

cinderella
Christina’s slipper?

Anyway, back to the task at hand. Dogs and humans are thrilled to be roaming Happy Beach again and managed to have her looking good in no time. Bruno even found a tennis ball!

brunos treasure
My precious!

Happy Beach collection includes:

8 straws
28 soda cans
18 plastic bottles
1 superman cap
3 glow sticks
2 fishing floats
1 lure
Rope
1 glass jar (closed)
Assorted bits of fabric
2 flip-flops
1 boot
2 plastic forks
1 girl’s slipper
Bits of plastic bag (loads)
1 toy plastic rake (white)
Broken styrofoam lid
A leg of a plastic chair
Yogurt tub
3 clothes pegs
2 lighters
1 tin can
String
3 plastic cups
1 lid
2 shoe soles
1 tin of flammable material (partly used)
1 tennis ball (found by Bruno)
1 x-mas bauble with no coating
2 pens
1 plastic finger tip
1 piece of lego

14Kg lifted off Happy Beach

assorted
Oh the joy of trash…
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Animals as trash

This post is about a different type of “dumping” that occurs with regular intervals on Happy Beach.

One week in May two young dogs found themselves roaming her shores within days of each other. They had been abandoned.

The first was a beautiful Jack Russell mix discovered by my calm, big hearted rescue dog Bruno. She was hiding near an empty rental house and turned out to be a playful and trusting little girl. Though obviously hungry and neglected.

We took her to the vet and named her Lula. We are fostering her until she finds a forever home that needs a fun and loving canine friend. Please see her page for details on adoption.

little Lula
Lula

Three days after Lula entered our lives we happened upon by a gorgeous floppy, playful pup during a walk. He confidently joined the flock and refused to leave – despite many attempts to keep him out of the garden. Eventually his persistence and desperate longing for safety paid off. We called him Big Louis, gave him food, and started searching for a shelter that could take him in – as the house was quickly turning into a menagerie.

Animal farm
Animal Farm

The shelters on the island are privately run by people who dedicate their whole lives to these animals. The influx of unwanted dogs dumped on roadsides, in fields and on beaches is so immense that it’s utterly daunting for any thin-skinned individual. I cannot underline the gravity of this issue enough.

In rural areas dogs are often treated as utility animals, and get discarded as carelessly as an empty water bottle by farmers and hunters. In rare, cruel occasions the dogs are thrown out the window without the owner even bothering to stop the car. This can be because the dog is pregnant, sick, not a good hunter, has given birth or just because the owner doesn’t want to feed it.

Louis
Big Louis

The dogs roam around confused, scared and hungry in search of shelter and food. During the course of the winter I have spotted at least five strays on Happy Beach without being able to get near them, as they were clearly terrified of human contact. 

The way these creatures are treated like… trash… is horrific to witness. The lack of knowledge about dogs, the refusal to spay and neuter, and the general indifference is creating a desperate situation.

Thanks to the relentless and passionate work of the good people at the Stray Haven shelter currently 110 dogs are safe from harms way. The conditions are humble and rely on the kindness of donations and volunteer work. But this does give the dogs a chance of finding a new home – often in Holland, Germany or the UK.

good boy.jpg
Good boy

Though she had no room at the shelter the founder accepted Big Louis. With all my heart I wish a good home for him.

Without the help of two endlessly patient and generous friends I wouldn’t have been able to organise some protection for Lula and Louis. Saving these two pups is probably a tiny drop in a dark ocean of neglect – but we managed to change the world for them.

If you can help. Please do. It will change a life.

3 stooges
Lula and her pals

Then there’s the heavy stuff…

Just as I was singing the praise of glorious spring; a full size storm hit the island turning the sea inside out for about three days. Winds bring in plenty of dust and sand – possibly the late April Coptic Storm – and wild, wild surf.

sea storm

When describing the army boxes discovered a few weeks ago – I managed to touch upon the strange sensation that arises when something large, potentially dangerous, is being hauled out of the sea. I’ve found oil drums, EUR pallets, garden furniture and a tractor tire that all made me marvel and fume at the sea’s ability to contain, and man’s ability to be an utterly useless consumer-monster.

But this storm brought in the biggest, most mind boggling object to date: A full size freezer! Plonked right in the middle of Happy Beach by the strong fists of the sea.

These storms never last for long, and there is nothing else to do but pull out the bags and start the collection all over. This time I’ll need a little help with the big stuff…

building block

Collection includes:

2 vegetable crates
2 light strips
1 flipper
1 shoe
2 lighters
23 fragments of plastic bags
17 plastic bottles
bottle tops
plastic fragments
Piles of styrofoam
Bubble warp
a balloon
2 packets of crackers (Turkish, unopened)

kraker

10 straws
5 soda cans
1/2 EUR palet

EUR palet blue

1 building block
rope
3 smartie lids
1 green toy tractor (broken)
1 syringe
1 green spade
2 tubes of skin lotion
2 medical bottles, glass
1 industrial size freezer

freezer

A tale of mystery and some science

Happy Beach is blissful. Warm sunny days, calm, crystal clear sea – which is heating up but still below 20 degrees, so only few swimmers venture in. Of course things still get washed up, and left behind, but overall the beach is pretty peaceful.

Apart from an experience a couple of weeks ago. A car had driven onto the beach and was parked right by a long plateau of volcanic rock facing the sea. The driver was very laid back, and nodded as I passed him. As I reached further down the beach I turned to see he had been joined by another car, and the two men were exploring something on the plateau. As I returned they drove off and I saw what had been occupying them: Four long, wooden boxes wrapped in some thick rope. They were painted green and had some army-like looking markings. I tried peek inside one that was upside down and ajar, but it wasn’t possible to see the content. For some reason it felt wrong to try and open them. A car with four men approached, and as I had my dogs, I hurried off. The men removed the boxes but obviously opened one, as later I found the lid discarded on the beach.

From Happy Beach mysteries to global awareness: Today is Earth Day, and great events are taking place all over. To join in the movement we did a Happy Beach clean, and I decided to carry a sign on my back everywhere I go during the day. My remote living doesn’t offer many options of participating in protest marches, so I’ll just have to make up my own.

March for Science

In Washington D.C. the core of a significant global rally is taking place: the March of Science. Sadly political trends worldwide seem to be subscribing to the dumbing down of people through applying pop politics and comfy, soundbite “information” and fobbing them off as truths. Experts and voices of experience are being pushed aside by those who merely can shout louder. Fortunately there are many who believe knowledge is the only real way forward – for the planet, the oceans and for the human race. For this reason I join the march for science too.

love nina

Collection on Happy Beach on Earth Day:

  • 6 clothes pegs
  • 1 foam heart
  • 1 deodorant spray – Joker – for men
  • 1 sanitary pad (used)
  • 1 toilet black and white brush
  • 2 toothbrushes
  • Rope, various lengths
  • 1 plastic Rombouts Coffee lid
  • 3 lighters
  • 4 straws
  • Styrofoam packing
  • Filler foam
  • 1 jumbo fish net float
  • 3 small fishing floats
  • 1 fishing lure
  • 1 news paper dated: 16 April 2016 (1 year ago)

news paper

  • 6 plastic bottles
  • 2 drink cans
  • Big plastic lid, green
  • 1 apple (rotten)
  • 1 cauliflower (rotten)
  • 1 onion (rotten)
  • Assorted plastic
  • 9 bottle tops
  • 1 glass ampule (full)
  • Rusty metal hinge
  • Wood
  • A small piece of my roof, blown off in storm
  • One army box lid

Total kilos lifted off Happy Beach: 3,7kg

toilet stuff

Let’s do it Happy Beach!

April is still proving to be a bit chilly with dark clouds from time to time interfering with the warming sun. But fortunately this didn’t deter local residents from participating in the island-wide Let’s Do It Cyprus beach cleaning!

And for this reason I was greeted in the morning by an unusually welcome sight on Happy Beach: 10 eager beach cleaners with sacks and matching t-shirts pouring onto her sands, scouring for trash. They did their best and I could see the improvement on the next beach further down – that has been in dire need of some TLC. WELL DONE GUYS!

Lets go Cyprus

Even though this isn’t a regular event – it makes me happy to see adults and children spending part of their Sunday on this cause. The awareness raising element alone is valuable stuff.

butterfly

My own humble contribution includes:

  • Toothbrush (yellow)
  • 2 yogurt pots
  • Detergent bottle
  • 3 fishing floats
  • 23 bottle tops
  • 2 clothes pegs
  • 2 lighter
  • 6 bottles
  • 2 glass medical bottles
  • 2 syringe
  • 1 butterfly (plastic)
  • 1 no 2 mould (yellow)
  • a headless toy soldier
  • Assorted pieces of broken plastic
  • Nivea skin cream lid
  • Anti-ageing hand cream tube (empty)
  • broken cans
  • A broken light bulb
  • 1 fishing lure
  • Rope / various sizes and lengths
  • 4 straws
  • a paper coffee cup
  • 3 tube caps
  • 1 broken t-shirt
  • 1 Danish yogurt
  • 1 mini light bulb (complete)
  • Nasty brown handbag
  • an old newspaper
  • 2 plastic bags

Total lifted off Happy Beach: 7.3 kg

danish yoghurt

Cocktail in the sea

This spring is proving particularly fickle. Gorgeous, calm days with turquoise waters are quickly replaced by thunder and hail storms, with tempestuous waves to boot. The heavy rains form streams that transports reddish soil downhill from nearby fields directly into the sea – creating a strange looking cocktail as the meet. These fields are used for crops and I regularly see the famers spraying them with pesticides – needless to say these toxins are also being carried into my beloved bay.

And of course there’s plenty of plastic still added to the mix. Recently I stubbled across a disturbing video on the consequences of this problem created by Olio. It claims that 1 in 4 fish contains micro-plastics. This is nothing short of a disaster. But looking over the history of Happy Beach findings – it’s sadly not surprising.

On this gloomy note the collection includes:
* 5 plastic bags
* 3 cigarette ends
* 1 shoe (blue Micky Mouse)
* 1 vodka bottle – complete
* 1 Ouzo bottle 12 – top only

12

* Assorted plastic bits
* 1 rusty spray can
* 1 plastic plate
* 1 yogurt tub
* 2 syringes
* 1 medical bottle
* 3 fishing floats
* 1 pen – blue
* 1 straw
* bottle tops
* 5 plastic water bottles
* 2 lighters
* 1 knife handle – blue & white
* 5 water bottles

Blue Days

Fishing for plastic

Spring must be my favourite season on the island. Everything is juicy-green from the rain, and fields and hills are dressed in coats of yellow flowers. Pink tinted almond blossoms make you sigh as you pass the delicate trees.

The sea is warming up too – still only 16 degrees C, but I venture a dip, when she permits.

learning

But my ambition is to get even more confident with local waters, so I decided to take a powerboat certificate to get started. It felt good to get to know my way round a small engine driven boat, and touch upon the basics of navigation, as I’ve never mastered anything more powerful than a bicycle!

blue-lagoon

My instructor took us out to the local nautical attraction: The Blue Lagoon – in the UNESCO protected Akamas area. The lagoon is truly blue, the nature undisturbed by human dwellings – but still we saw upsetting amounts of trash bobbing around in the water – from soft drink cans to plastic fuel canisters to florescent light strips. We salvaged some major sinners, allegedly dumped by local fishermen.

sea-trash

As there haven’t been any big storms for a long while the amounts of plastic drifting onto Happybeach are manageable – nevertheless it all adds up. And this little lull doesn’t trick me into thinking that things are getting better.

This very disturbing article in The Guardian explains some of the damage done by the 8.000.000 tons of plastic dumped in our seas: Plastic Seafood/ Guardian bad news for Moule Frites lovers and Fish ‘n’ Chips addicts. But worse news for marine life and the balance of the ecology…

Lastest collection includes:
* 22 fishing floats
* 1 toilet roll holder
* Plastic bag
* 18 plastic bottles
* A pink boat – broken
* 2 child shoes
* A broken deer (plastic)
* 4 lighters
* A carton of soggy cigarettes

nasty-cigarettes

* A small plastic bird
* A Styrofoam box
* Assorted plastic
* 2m black pipe
* Bits of Styrofoam
* 2 small medical bottles (glass)
* 8m sheet of plastic
* 3 raw plugs
* 3 straws
* Rope 2m black, 3m blue
* 2 blobs of engine oil
* A broken garden chair (white plastic)
* 1 filler foam tube

Total lifted off the beach: 12,3 kg

pink-boat

the lost & found project