Category Archives: happy beach

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

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

With a little help from my friends…

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.

drifting-foam
Rescued Styrofoam

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.

molly-saves-ghost-net
Molly sorts out the ghost net

Amongst the collection in November was:

  • 1 Chapstick
  • 3 flip – flops
  • 5 cigarette buts
  • straws
  • plastic bottles
  • assorted plastic
  • 2 iron bars
  • irrigation pipe
  • aluminium cans
  • 3 fishing floats
  • 1 ghost net
  • styrofoam
  • 4 lighters
  • 1 Floaty (Hawaii)
  • Tin of spam (eaten)
  • 1 black polka dot headband
  • 2 glass bottles
  • 1 plastic sweet tub
  • 6 yoghurt tubs (large)
  • 1 apple
  • 1 tangerine

Kilos in total lifted from Happy Beach: 19kg.

sandal
NOT So Cool

Shifting Sands

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!

molly-and-i
Molly and her human

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.

ummer-2016
Welcome to Cyprus

Collection of the day includes:

  • 23 plastic bottles
  • 21 bottles tops
  • 11 straws
  • 7 plastic cups
  • 2 big yogurt tubs (used for holding bait)
  • 1 fishing float
  • 1 beer bottle (glass)
  • 3 lighters
  • 1 pair of goggles
  • 1 sea horse mould (plastic)
  • 1 ping-pong bat (wood)
  • 1 empty bottle of sunscreen (factor 6)
  • 1 flip-flop
  • 1 football
  • 1/2 syringe
  • plastic bags
  • 1 cigaret end
  • 4 cans (broken)
  • 1 diver’s suit
  • bits of plastic
  • rope in various colours
  • garden pipe
  • 1 small towel

Total removed from beach: 4kg

the-things-you-find
Naked diver wanted

Trash and Turtles

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.

watermelon

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.

turtle laying
photo curtesy of W. Norwood

The collection of the day includes:
* A yellow water pistol
* 3 glass bottles
* 5 juice cartons
* 2 odd socks
* styrofoam
* 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
* straws
* string
* a feed sack
* a watermelon
* 2 onions

5.5kg of plastic lifted from Happy Beach

rubbish face

Broken hearts

It’s been a while since I have published anything on the Happybeach site.
The winter and spring was as pleasant as one could dream for. With plenty of beautiful sunshine, fruit on the trees, eggs from the chickens, long, peaceful walks – and even swimming, weather permitting. Happybeach lived up to her name.

paradise
Paradise

Of course there were still collections to make (few items mentioned below), and I cleaned the beach when required with my fun-loving companions; Eddie and Molly.

eddie and molly watching point
Eddie is downstairs, Molly upstairs

During our walk yesterday beloved Eddie found something to munch on, usually this is totally off limits but I didn’t manage to catch her in time. Unfortunately it contained rat poison and took her life. We were far from help and there was nothing to do. Eddie was the gentlest, most life affirming little rescue dog, who was dumped in a litter bin when only a week old. A local shelter saved her life, and she joined us at Happybeach last March.

I am very grateful for the time I had with her and am dedicating a page on this site to the memory of Eddie. She was the Queen of Happybeach. She knew every inch by smell, conversed with the gulls, swam in the waves and let every visitor know that she was around. RIP little soul.

checking out the beach
Queen of Happybeach

The collection included:
* Countless bits of plastic
* A pair of lady’s knickers
* Pipe
* 10 shoes
* Ghost net
* 25 raw plugs
* Bottle tops
* Lego
* 9 Smartie lids
* 1/2 cassette tape
* 1 teddy
* clothes
* 1 flipper
* 2 toy soldiers
* Straws
* Frappé cups
* 5 fishing lures
* 1 white plastic table
* 2 10 liter canisters
* Sunhat
* 1 red pepper
* Shampoo bottles

Kilos lifted off Happybeach this winter and spring: 20,5

war monsters
Enter a caption

I hate goodbyes…

Tomorrow I will be leaving Happy Beach to her own devices for a couple of weeks, as I head far north to Nuuk in Greenland for a small project. Though I’m excited about seeing a completely new world I’m also sad to leave my familiar one behind. Every morning I look to the sea and her roaring, rolling waves or gentle ripples all play a part in shaping my days. I guess that you come to love anything you care for.

happyface

Today I lifted out of the collection point:

* 2 sacks of collected plastic weighing 11kg and 15, 2kg
* 875 bottle tops

…. I’ll be back!

boat