A tale of two beaches

A trip to the beach for us, is a real treat. My dad grew up beside the sea and studied and worked in marine biology before becoming a conservation scientist and it’s his real passion; so, we love our trips either west to Donegal or east to Co Down to visit my granny. I love watching coastal waders, divers and geese, beach combing for treasure and just feeling the exhilaration that crashing waves and wind brings.

On two consecutive Sundays (17th and 24th March) we visited two beaches – Cranfield beach in Co Down and Rossnowlagh in Co Donegal. Two incredibly different and stark visits.

We visited Cranfield to wave farewell to our wintering Brent Geese. Something we do every year. I love the ebb and flow of migration, the pattern gives me comfort and I love witnessing it for myself. We arrived to first of all walk our dog, Rosie and blobs of bright blue blotted the rocks and sand. As we neared closer, we saw that they were plastic gloves. Once you became aware, you couldn’t avert your eyes from them. They were everywhere!!!! I was so disgusted and angry. The more we looked the more we saw. It was quite frankly, depressing!

We collected over 100 gloves, wellies, gaiters and…

Yep, lots of balloons too. My heart sank at every new piece of rubbish. The gloves we found were all at various states of decomposition – some with sea mat and spirobis (encrusting sea creatures) which means some had been in the water longer than others. I could speculate about the why we found so much rubbish but I need to do more research first, speculating is not something I’m comfortable with. I will be writing some letters though and when my questions are answered, I will be able to draw a more pragmatic conclusion. I’m still feeling so angry as I write this. If you feel angry too, use it to do something good, don’t waste it on hot air…or just talking. Act.

We did manage to see the Brent Geese at Greecastle though, which lightened the heaviness of what we had just done. Oh it was wonderful to see them. They’ll be off now, on their ancient and invisible pathway to Greenland. Marvellous birds!

Yesterday, Sunday, we took a trip to Donegal to blow away the cobwebs. What a difference!! It was so beautiful and hardly any litter!

This meant we had a lot more time to explore and find treasure!

Sea Potato and Toothed Wrack with Sea Mat encrusted.

We watched Gulls, Oyster Catchers and Sanderlings skipping over the sand. It was bliss!! This is what beach visits should be like; relaxing, exploring and discovering great wildlife.

If you are at the beach, please take some time to pick up some litter – check out #2minutebeachclean for inspiration. It’s really important – until government pass legislation and our politicians really act on plastic pollution – those of us on the ground really need to do our bit.

Please check out Marine Conservation Society for many ways in which you can help marine life thrive and protect our precious oceans.

Check out my sisters great blog on Plastic Predator too.

Thanks for reading

Dara

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13 Responses

  1. Very well written,you can feel the passion in your words.i hope you have many years of conservation/writing ahead of you,,truly inspiring. Thank you

  2. Love reading your blog you are truly inspiring to all young people the passion you feel for the environment comes across in your writing

  3. What an awful discovery, all those blue gloves. They look a bit like work gloves so I wonder if someone has dumped a load of rubbish? Did you find any plastic pellets (nurdles) ?

    1. Indeed, Philip. As I said some of the gloves had been in the water longer than others, so I’m thinking of different timelines. I didn’t get close enough to see any nurdles as we were so intent on removing the bigger items. It all seems so overwhelming!

  4. We all live upstream or downstream from others, and we have an absolute obligation to clean up after ourselves! Thanks for the good example, but how sad that people much damage with plastics!

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