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
* 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
Summer is refusing to loosen her hot and very dry grip of Happybeach this year. October is seeing high temperatures and still not a single drop of rain. Pleasant yet disturbing at the same time. Gardens are thirsty and every little gust of wind kicks up clouds of dust. Still it’s great to be back after my travels and exploring the beach with Molly!
Island life carries on as usual. The trees are filling with avocado, olives, lemon, pomegranate, figs, pomelo and bananas – soon ready for picking. And October means the start of hunting season, so sounds of gunshots and howling dogs are to become a fixture of Wednesday and Sunday afternoons.
Happybeach has changed radically over the summer. In addition to the endless piles of rubbish (no big surprise there) the continuous heavy waves have totally restructured the beachside by shifting the sands and bringing out the rocky surface below.
These photos show the same stretch of beach with a year between.
And of course the collecting must go on. It’s discouraging to discover that local tourists are adding to the pollution problem much more than visitors from abroad. One would think that they care for their island and the image it projects when the beaches are covered in trash. But the litter left on the seaside after barbecues and picnics is appalling. Everything from towels to plastic food containers to countless cans and bottles get discarded without a second thought.
The summer has set in on Happy Beach and the sea is beautiful and offers a refreshing dip during the sweltering days. The calm waves do unfortunately still bring in lost items, though is smaller quantities than before.I’ve noticed is that often items turn up on the shore in pairs – sometime in eerie ways.
Not that the things arrive right next to each other – but they do pop up on the same beach clean. Odd things like 2 Nutella lids, oil drums and diving masques. Apparently on Happy Beach things happen in pairs.
An arrival yesterday morning was more than a normal beach clean could handle – and one that doesn’t need repeating! A dead sea turtle washed up on Happy Beach in the afternoon. She was old and didn’t appear to have any damages caused by humans or trash but what to do with the remains? We are talking about a 40kg sea creature. This area is remote and has no coast guards or sea port authorities. No one takes care of the beaches.
A kind neighbour offered to help remove her but even a burial seemed unmanageable – bury her on whose ground? Finally Oliver and I went for a burial at sea. With great effort, not eased by the lunchtime heat and Eddie and Molly’s extreme curiosity, we managed to carry the turtle to the end of the beach and put her back in the sea that hopefully will take her where she belongs.
This will be our last visit to the beach for 12 days, though a dear houseguest will be watching over her. Keeping down the surge of Styrofoam, plastic and waste can at times be overwhelming. Today’s collection includes 7 washing line pegs, assorted plastic coffee cups and 5 fishing line floats. Oh! And the 1st cigarette butt surfaced, which is a sad development, as these shores have been nicotine-free until now.
2 plastic bottles
1 black felt tip pen
1 tub of molasses (half full)
Part of a garden chair (green)
5 fishing net floats
3 plastic coffee cups
1 Umbrella handel
1 green plastic flower
Pipe (various lengths)
7 clothes pegs (mostly broken)
1 tiny medicine bottle (choriomon)
6 bits of Styrofoam
Assorted bits of plastic small & large