The October sea has been gentle and welcoming until last night, and today huge waves crash against happybeach – bringing familiar unwanted gifts. In the turbulent water a fishing net recently cast out can be spotted drifting further and further away from the shore.
And it’s with utter joy I can report that fellow beach-cleaners have emerged on happybeach and beyond!
Yesterday I spotted my local neighbours busy on happybeach picking up litter by the rocks in big plastic sacks. What a glorious sight 🙂
About 700m down the coast from our home lies the sandy beach of Agia Marina, which has been sadly neglected throughout my time in the area. Occasionally I’ve collected a bag or two on this stretch but the amounts of trash were so vast it wasn’t possible to keep up. Yet a couple of days ago we took a walk on the beach, and discovered that the worst debris had been cleaned, revealing it’s true beauty. Fingers crossed that the increase in tourists visiting this beautiful bay has encouraged the level of care for the area.
The old saying “No News is Good News” applies in many situations – but unfortunately not when it comes to the Happy Beach saga. Though I’m keeping fairly quite this summer, it isn’t due to the fact that plastic consumption has dramatically decreased or that people have suddenly decided to use bins instead of the sea.
Unfortunately there is plenty to do on the beach, though the story does seem to continue along the same strain.
The sea has been very choppy for a few weeks producing impressive waves that crash onto the shore – and uninvited passengers jump on for the ride. Plastic waste intertwines with seaweed leaving a grim looking border on the seaside.
The occasional oddity is washed up with the detritus, such as half a watermelon or a couple of onions.
The good news is that sea turtles are still laying! There are more than 15 nests on Happy Beach alone. As hatching time approaches I’ve been taking nightly walks accompanied by the most helpful and enchanting full moon – but not sightings yet.
A kind friend is doing the same on a nearby beach, and had the amazing luck to spot a couple of turtle ladies placing their precious loads in the sand. The dear things bravely confront both turbulent waters and plastic tainted nesting areas to lay their eggs.
The collection of the day includes:
* A yellow water pistol
* 3 glass bottles
* 5 juice cartons
* 2 odd socks
* plastic pipe
* a paint brush (incl. grey paint)
* 8 plastic bottles
* a sachet of sunscreen (factor 15)
* a light bulb (complete)
* plastic bits/ bags
* a silicon container
* aluminium cans
* 9 plastic coffee cups
* a feed sack
* a watermelon
* 2 onions
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
Summer has arrived to Happy Beach with hot, sunny days and sweltering nights. The sea is still ever changing – soft one day, tempestuous the other. Even so the amounts of debris has fallen drastically since wintertime. It currently competes with rubbish left behind by fishermen and others. From time to time leisurely visitors walk past the collection point and study this curious installation – hopefully they might add to the batch, as I’ll be leaving these happy shores for a while for another trip north.
It’s been an adventure getting to know this little corner of the bay. I’ve been in awe of the beauty all around me. Humbled by the perpetual sea, and her many moods. Frustrated by the mountains of rubbish pouring onto the shore. Yet this has taught me so much about the condition of our planet. And an added bonus – at time my only motivators – has been the amazing projects/ people I’ve come across on this journey through social media. In Cornwall the relentless 2 Minute Beach Cleaners inspire hoards of people to care for the UK coastline. The Litterati project invites people everywhere to document trash in their virtual dumpsite. Two Hands Project and Take3ForTheSea both work hard to keep Australia’s beaches beautiful. In Hawaii Nurdle in the Rough makes jewellery from collected plastic and in Cornwall Smartie Lids on the Beach creates artworks from found items. And there are so many, many more great people working hard all over the globe picking up rubbish, sometimes in nasty conditions, because they believe one person can make a change. I will take this with me, as I say goodbye for now.