Winter on Happy Beach has so far been splendid; sunny and mild, with only two days of rain until this very day. In fact dams, lakes, woods, gardens, orchards and fields are urgently craving visits from the clouds. The calm sea made it easy to spot rubbish drifting around in the bay – like this styrofoam fish box lid salvaged by a swim out to open sea.
Otherwise the gentle weather provided a small breather in which it was possible to gather the heaps of trash that had been shoved higher up on land in order to prevent the debris getting washed back into the water in stormier times.
In addition to the gentle weather Happy Beach had a long awaited family visit from the lovely Kosma Kiani crew: Jonna & Georg with their furry companions: Donna & Romeo. Together we lifted 10.4kg of plastic off the beach – and spoke about sea travel, trash, consumption and dreams.
Summer is here and a cooling dip in the sea beckons!
Rarely can one enjoy a swim without bumping into bits of plastic bags and styrofoam. Not only does this make the experience unpleasant, but it becomes a very tangible reminder of the conditions suffered by the local marine life.
Strange yet wonderful things are happening to this life on Happybeach.
Over the past two weeks nest upon nest of Sea Turtle eggs have appeared in the sand. Subsequently the Cyprus Wildlife Society came by to document the nests.
They could report that last year the entire bay housed 43 nests – this year they already registered 160 nests. And the sea turtles have been laying one month earlier due to the mild winter. This is an intense increase in numbers and I can’t help wondering how much human interference plays a role. Are we experiencing the consequences of global warming?
Thankfully people all over the world are combating both global warming and ocean pollution. The wonderful 2 minute beach clean movement based in Cornwall managed to organise a national beach cleaning day all over the UK yesterday. As a tribute to this great event I was joined by sound artist Thomas Burø and we did an extra big cleanup, and created a Trash Poem for good measure.
* sheet of styrofoam
* 1 ghost net
* 3 glass bottles (1 broken)
* 1 rucksack
* 1 sheet of paracetamol
* 8 plastic bottles
* 2 shoes
* 1 water pistol
* one doll’s torso
* 6 plastic cups
* plastic bits
* 1 ice cream spoon
* 1 toy rake
* bottle tops
* wine cork
* bubble wrap
* oil canister
* an onion
* an orange
* fishing line
* fishing hook
Tempestuous storms have dictated the mood of Happy Beach for most of 2016. Possibly just reflecting the turbulences taking place in the rest of the world. We see a few days of calm followed by breath-taking roaring waves, high winds, rain and unusual cold.
Naturally the beach is strewn with all shapes and sizes of litter. The largest was the top of a wooden cable spool (1m diameter), and a heavy rope/ fishing net tangle.
The smallest were sadly thousands and thousands of nurdles, shaping the contours of the waves along the beach after the sea settled. These little demons are toxic, dangerous and impossible to collect.
On a lighter note the storms have brought new creatures to the beach. As of yet they are friendly but you never know…
The Happy Beach household has had many discussions about how waste travels in the sea. It seems specific debris items arrive in clusters – a wave of medical bottles turn up for a while, then there seems to be nothing but endless bits of light plastic on the shore, followed by a period of heavier things such as shoes. This cut up water bottle was found in very separate parts of the beach indicating that the journeys were slightly different.
Maybe there are patterns connected with the weight of the item in question, currents, the season and wave velocity. Some brilliant people have been looking into the travel plans of plastic through the sea. The Moby Duck project is a study of 28.800 bathtub ducks that were lost at sea and subsequently followed by environmentalists to see the movement of plastics. The Adrift project is a great initiative, where you can track how plastic travels in your area.
The collection of the week includes:
* 1 big plastic bottle, cut in two
* 1 packet of cigarettes (opened)
* 1 panty liner
* 1 biro lid
* As always: Lots of assorted pieces of plastic
* Broken tub
* Plastic bags
* 10 straws
* 1 knife handle
* Small pieces of rope
* 4 plastic bottles
* 1 cap screen
* 4 shoes
* 2 soles
* 1 heel
* 3 hypodermic needles
* 1 plastic wing
* 4 plastic coffee cups
* 232 bottle tops
* A toothbrush
* 1 piece of painted, blue wood
* The top half of plastic canister
* A ghost net trapped in the rocks
And a piece of good news: A contribution was made to the Happy Beach collection point on my birthday. A visitor found a sturdy length of rope and delivered it. Thank you!
Have been on an inspiring journey to the arctic region, where I took a boat trip to the glacier at the beginning of the icecap. Here we were surrounded by a kind of stillness I’ve never heard before. Nothing but the soft lapping of water against the drifting boat and occasional creaking of the 10.000 year old ice floes. It was such an intense experience of this powerful, yet vulnerable, natural resource – that we all have a responsibility to protect in any way we can.
Now it’s great to be back on Happy Beach! And luckily the winter storms have subsided so her shores aren’t too bad. But there is plenty of work to be done 🙂
As the sea is calm I was able to climb into a ravine close to the beach that has been collecting plastic bottles all winter or longer. It was great to finally be able to lift them out.
Collection of the day:
* 41 plastic bottles
* 1 shoe
* 1/2 plate
* 1 plastic fork
* 2 packs of cigarettes (unopened)
* assorted bits of plastic
* 3 aluminium cans
* 1 Lipton Tea flag (ripped)
* fishing line
* And 14kg bag of trash removed from the collection point
Spring has truly arrived in Cyprus and around here the colour of the season is YELLOW! Yes, the rolling hills are covered in deep, rich greens. Yes, the sea and sky seem to stretch for eternity in beautiful blues. But the fields, gardens and roadsides are exploding in glorious, happy yellow. Mimosa trees, mustard blooms, lemon trees and wild flowers present a feast for the eyes. Only walking on the beach after the storm is another story…
Collection of the day sadly includes a lot of yellow items.
* 1 broken tub (yellow)
* 3 yellow clothes pegs
* 1 ghost net
* 2 handles
* 1 can (fanta)
* 2 letter “S”
* 4 plastic bottles
* 1 noodles wrapper
* Assorted plastic (yellow)
* 20 bottle tops
* A heap of Styrofoam
* 1 bedspring
* 2 shoes
So like most things in life there are good and bad sides – and this wonderful yellow spring is no exception. Make the best of it!
Some days are so perfect they are impossible to put into words. Sunkissed sky, soft, rolling sea, palm trees gently waving in the breeze and a long walk on the beach without a soul in sight is just a feeble description. Ohhh Happy Beach, you are wonderful! Only snake in Paradise are the relentless lost items. And the collection of the day focuses on stereotypes.
Our walk took us further down the shore and we were greeted by such a depressing sight. Plastic debris strewn all over the beautiful shore. So much trash. A girly, pink theme appeared – including a pink lipstick – and a disturbing tube of “Fair & Lovely” face wash from India. I visited the amazing country a couple of years ago and saw many similar products. It infuriates me no end how people cash in on our disgusting favouritism of light skin.
Furthermore it didn’t take long for Molly and Eddie to get entangled in a net. Of course they had me to help them out but I dread to think about the marine life that could have got into serious trouble.