Beach cleaning carol

The holiday season has been temperamental so far – bringing plenty of clouds and rain, strong winds but sunny days too. Each time the sea turns turbulent my heart falls due to the endless amounts of plastic rubbish ejected on to the shore. It never stops. It only seems to be getting worse.

An article published in the Guardian on December 23rd paints a very disturbing picture of a water pollution situation in Shanghai . A scene which soon could become familiar to all of us, if we don’t change our appalling consumption habits.

But this supposed be the season merriment.
So, here is a special Happy Beach Christmas song!

One the 1st day of Christmas Happy Beach sent to me:

1 glue.jpg
A tube of glue that’s almost empty!

On the 2nd day of Christmas Happy Beach sent to me:

2-beach-toys
2 Beach Toys

… and a tube of glue that’s almost empty!

On the 3rd day of Christmas Happy Beach sent to me:

3-styrofoam-lids
3 Styrofoam lids

… 2 beach toys, and a tube of glue that’s almost empty!

On the 4th day of Christmas Happy Beach sent to me:

4-old-balls
4 old balls

… 3 styrofoam lids, 2 beach toys, and a tube of glue that’s almost empty!

On the 5th day of Christmas Happy Beach sent to me:

5 golden glow sticks.jpg
5 golden glow sticks

… 4 old balls, 3 styrofoam lids, 2 beach toys, and a tube of glue that’s almost empty!

On the 6th day of Christmas Happy Beach sent to me:

6-fishing-lures
6 fishy lures

…5 golden glow sticks – 4 old balls, 3 styrofoam lids, 2 beach toys, and a tube of glue that’s almost empty!

On the 7th day of Christmas Happy Beach sent to me:

6-clothes-pegs
7 plastic pegs

…6 fishy lures – 5 golden glow sticks – 4 old balls, 3 styrofoam lids, 2 beach toys, and a tube of glue that’s almost empty!

On the 8th day of Christmas Happy Beach sent to me:

8 broken ligthers.jpg
8 used up lighters

…7 plastic pegs, 6 fishy lures – 5 golden glow sticks – 4 old balls ,3 styrofoam lids, 2 beach toys, and a tube of glue that’s almost empty!

On the 9th day of Christmas Happy Beach sent to me:

9-medical-supplies
9 medical supplies

…8 used up lighters, 7 plastic pegs, 6 fishy lures – 5 golden glow sticks – 4 old balls ,3 styrofoam lids, 2 beach toys, and a tube of glue that’s almost empty!

On the 10th day of Christmas Happy Beach sent to me:

10-fishing-floats
10 fishnet floats

…9 medical supplies, 8 used up lighters, 7 plastic pegs, 6 fishy lures – 5 golden glow sticks – 4 old balls ,3 styrofoam lids, 2 beach toys, and a tube of glue that’s almost empty!

On the 11th day of Christmas Happy Beach sent to me:

11-empty-bottles
11 discarded bottles

…10 fishnet floats, 9 medical supplies, 8 used up lighters, 7 plastic pegs, 6 fishy lures – 5 golden glow sticks – 4 old balls ,3 styrofoam lids, 2 beach toys, and a tube of glue that’s almost empty!

On the 12th day of Christmas Happy Beach sent to me:

12 abandoned shoes.jpg
12 forgotten shoes

…11 discarded bottles, 10 fishnet floats, 9 medical supplies, 8 used up lighters, 7 plastic pegs, 6 fishy lures – 5 golden glow sticks – 4 old balls, 3 styrofoam lids, 2 beach toys, and a tube of glue that’s almost empty!

Lifted from Happy Beach this December: 12, 3 kg

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

Beach Angels Exist

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 🙂

clean-beach
woop woop – clean beach!

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.

I can hereby confirm Beach Angels do exist.

iphone-angel
iphone angel

Collection includes:

  • 1 Iphone + angel case (handed in to local shop)
  • 12 plastic bottles
  • Pair of blue swimming goggles
  • 8 tin cans
  • assorted bits of rope
  • 1 shoe sole
  • 1 engine manual cover (in English)
  • 1 big yogurt tub
  • 1 plastic balloon holder – no balloon
  • 6 plastic cups, various sizes
  •  Fishing floats
  • 2 lighters
  • 2 cigarette ends
seahorses
sea monsters
  • 1 glass bottle
  • Assorted bit of plastic
  • Plastic bags
  • 1 detergent bottle
  • 2 clothes pegs
  • 21 bottle tops
  • 2 biro lids
  • 2 seahorses
rubbish-face
rubbish face

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

Poetry of the Sea

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.

sea turtle nest

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?

aphrodite

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.

Collection included:
* 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
* string
* bubble wrap
* buckshot
* oil canister
* an onion
* an orange
* fishing line
* fishing hook

X.jpg

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

the lost & found project