Category Archives: summer

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
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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

Suddenly this summer…

After longer spell abroad it’s a joy to return to a hot, summery Happy Beach. The sea is turbulent and, as always, endlessly attempting to discard our rubbish back on the shore. One totally heartwarming homecoming event is; that the turtle nests are hatching!! We had a visit from the Cyprus Wildlife Society today, who register nests, and dig out the hatched eggs to see the progress.

turtle eggs

This is such exciting news, and as it turns out, the nests seem to be doing well. We marked off the nests when we found them 6 weeks ago with sticks to try to protect them from playful visitors and the occasional car driving on the beach. Now the baby turtle are making their epic journey into the sea. Here are some tiny turtle tracks…

turtle tracks

Collection of the day:

* 13 plastic bottles
* 2 flip-flops (not a pair)
* 1 broken sun-bed

sun bed

* 1 glass bottle
* 2 bottle tops
* 1 beer can
* Assorted plastic
* 2 plastic espresso cups
* 8 straws
* 1 aubergine
* 1 phone cradle (red plastic)

phone home

Hope for our Oceans…

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.

uncle Nina

Collection of the day:
* 1 cigaret butt
* 1 lighter
* 1 liquor bottle
* 1 wine bottle (broken)
* Styrofoam freezer box (lid found previously)
* 4 plastic bottles
* Assorted plastic

20150507_071840

toxic menace…

Summer has arrived boasting a sparkling sea, amazing scents of orange blossoms and a gorgeous nighttime cicada chorus. Happy Beach is calm. But under the surface are some depressing discoveries.

foam

The beach trash predominantly consists of plastic, aluminium cans, styrofoam and fishing nets/ lines. A few fabrics, glass and shoes add to the collection. These all contribute to serious threats to marine life – either due to consumption or entrapment. But an other level of endangerment comes from the toxins that directly end up in the seas.

toxin

Collection of the day:
* 1 oil drum (quarter full)
* 3 aerosol cans of filler foam
* 1 tube of superglue
* 1 battery
* 1 tube of skin cream
* 1 10l. tin of paint (half full)
* 1 empty tub of Acarmek

oil drum