After a long stretch under Scandinavian skies, it’s wonderful to return to Happybeach again. Though the world seems very different than when I left her.
I don’t claim to have more insight into world politics than the next person, but the current rumblings from a certain orange-tinted president should make us all alert – on many levels.
Of course American legislation doesn’t have a direct impact on my native Baltic waters, nor my adopted Mediterranean ones, but rhetoric is contagious. People all over the world look to the president – and see/ hear him (a position he utterly thrives on), and in doing so they realise that it’s okay to produce these so-called ‘alternative facts’. And if everyone can make up their own facts about the seriousness of human impact on the environment, if they can design truths to suit their own purses or purposes – years of hard work to raise awareness, and struggles to reach agreements, can be quickly be undone. Like so many others, I’m concerned. So, I will keep blurbing on about my findings.
The collection of the day includes:
10 drinking straws (various colours)
1 styrofoam box (for storing fish)
1 pack of cigarettes (soggy, some smoked)
1/2 a used buckshot
3 pop cans
18 plastic bottles
7 separate bottle lids
1 tube of polyfilla (empty)
2 glass medical bottles
Assorted bits of plastic
1 chicken feed bag (empty – for eating chickens)
2 green plastic lids
1 plastic bag
Bits of rope (various shades of green)
Pieces of black irrigation pipe (longest 2m)
1 plastic shovel (green)
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.
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
It’s a joy to revisit the coves and rocks, pools and dunes of Happy Beach after a long summer up north. In my absence the beach has been cared for by our kind housesitter, who discovered a struggling hatchling from one of the turtle nests. He cleaned her up, and helped her take her first little strokes in the welcoming sea.
photos courtesy of Leif Weston Andersen
Over the last couple of weeks a fair amount of debris has been washed ashore due to turbulent waters as the island approaches Autumn. Collection of the day included:
1 bottle of bleach – empty 😦
1 bottle of dish soap – 1/5 remains
4 fishing floats
Big piece of blue plastic
1 metal bottle top
4 bits of pipe (black and white)
Odd lid-thingy with dots
3 plastic bottles
2 broken bits of Lego
Spring is bringing new faces to happy beach. People have ventured outside to care for gardens, prune orchards, repair homes and the houses to let. And there are leisurely visitors too. Joggers, divers, kayak enthusiasts, fishermen and tourists are among those enjoying her shores. This influx of life seems to make the washed up debris an even more sorry sight. Today most of the collection is white – and there is plenty of it.
After a couple of months of living as a beachcomber I’ve started to experience a strange phenomenon. The most ambivalent feelings towards the colour blue! My day usually begins by opening the drapes and being greeted by an affluent pallet depending on the weather. It ranges from warm, welcoming turquoise, to cloudy denim blues, or lazy azure with a horizon fading into mysterious darkest blue. Always accompanied by her sister: the ever changing sky and the blues, greys, oranges, golds and violets advertise the day to come. All this is pure balm for the soul.
Only the ongoing struggle with plastic arrivals on Happy Beach transforms these emotions into frustration. Plastic comes in a range of colours – making them easy to spot on the sand and shores – but there is one colour that seems to prevail over all others: blue, blue, blue. Bottle tops, wrappers, rope, fishing net, lighters, buckshot, bags, containers and so much more is produced in this colour and seems to be everywhere. Our collection today focused on blue. I’m sad to say that it didn’t take long and there was much more than I could carry.
Collection on Friday the 13th:
* 1 toothbrush
* 3 lighter
* 3 buckshot
* 1 Lego
* plastic plant container
* 2 straps
* bits of rope
* small plastic bits
* 55 bottle tops
* 2 plastic bottles
* 1 inhaler
* 2 shoes
* 1 toy shovel
* 9 clothes peg
* 1 straw
* 1 styrofoam cup (broken)
* 1 piece of pipe
* 1 rough side of a sponge
* 1 squeegee
* half a cooling element
Happy Beach was at its most beautiful today in glorious sunshine urging us to clean up as much as possible. Plastic bits in all sizes still wash up on the shores and get buried under the vegetation or wedged between rocks. Among the 5.4kgs collected today were items belonging to babies and toddlers which inspired me to send a little prayer to their parents: Let your children enjoy the diverse wonders of this beautiful world – just like you do. Teach them to respect her seas, woods, mountains and bountiful nature. Peace.