Trash

Noah, I see you are wondering if there is trash here in Tasmania.  Do you still celebrate Thursday Trashday?

I have been surprised by how little litter I see here. I walk along Roaring Beach every day; until just this week, I never saw any trash there.  Brightly colored objects caught my eye, and I kept thinking they were trash, but it turned out they were animals or plants washed up from the ocean.

orange fingers
Orange finger sponge (Neoesperiopsis rigida)

A few days ago I got down to the beach very early, before the sun rose.  The tide was coming in, and I started noticing small bits of trash lying about – mostly pieces of rope.  I watched the pair of oystercatchers that are always here as they foraged in the sand and rocks for food, and I hoped that they wouldn’t accidentally eat or get caught in some of this trash.

pied oystercatcher Haematopus longirostris3
Pied oystercatchers

I thought, every week on Thursday Trashday we cleaned up the Jemicy playground, but now this is my playground, so I will help clean it up.  I started walking up the beach picking up bits of plastic, rope, wrappers, etc., and when I turned around at the cliffs to walk back, I met one of the neighbors, Monica.  I showed her the trash I had found and wondered why this was the first time I had seen any.  “That’s probably because I walk here early every morning and pick it up!” she said.  So, every day is Trashday on Roaring Beach. Can you tell which of these things is not trash?

trash1

An awesome Thursday Trashday happened on New Year’s Eve, when Dan and I took a boat trip around the Tasman Peninsula.  We dressed in long, red waterproof suits and zoomed around sea cliffs, past Australian fur seal colonies, watched white-bellied sea eagles eating fish, raced common dolphins.

Suddenly, the captain slowed and stopped the boat.  We all looked, wondering what new cool thing they were going to show us. Ange, the guide, grabbed a pole with a hook at the end, leaned way over the edge of the boat, shouted, “Got it!” and pulled in… a plastic bag! Everyone cheered. One less piece of trash in the Southern Ocean.

Who knows how far that bag had traveled?  Wouldn’t it be great if, by the time I travel back to Jemicy, we could celebrate Trashless Thursdays?

 

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