Thursday, December 29, 2011

Out of the country from DEC. 31 - JAN. 18, 2012

Garen and I are traveling with my dad and his wife Gretchen to Kenya. We leave the 31st and will be home at the end of January. Our friend Brigid will be hear to look after our cat, and I'll be back on the beach to resume my 20 min. cleanups after the 18th. 

Have a happy, healthy New Year's Eve! 

119 beach cleanups to go in 2012 to meet my 365 non-consecutive day goal. 

Here's to a fun, healthy and productive new year full of possibility and new adventures.

Day 246 - Dec. 27, 2011

lifeguard tower 26 - Ocean Park, Santa Monica CA
trash collected for 20 min.
2.1 pounds
928.6 pounds total

While uploading my photographs from today, it struck me that every item in this post is a byproduct of human convenience. I know, I've thought this many times, perhaps at least 246 times, but for some reason today, it hit me as particularly silly that the items trashing our beaches, hurting and in some cases killing our marine life, are all made to be used for minutes, or even seconds before rendered useless, and discarded. 

Here's to a successful ban on single use plastic bags in Los Angeles in 2012.

Fingers, and shards of styrafoam littered the high tide line. Impossible to retrieve all of the fragments, I stooped over anyway to collect the bits that I could. Frustrating. 

I'm sure this quote is widely reprinted, but I just read it Christmas Day. 

"From birth, man carries the weight of gravity on his shoulders. He is bolted to earth. But man has only to sink beneath the surface and he is free." - Jacques-Yves Cousteau

Monday, December 26, 2011

Day 245 - Dec. 26, 2011

lifeguard tower 26 - Ocean Park, Santa Monica CA 
trash collected for 20 min. 
5.1 pounds
926.5 pounds total

 Christmas festivities swept me up. This cleanup feels like ages ago instead of four days. Christmas Eve and Day stand alone from the rest of the year as a time for slowing down, and feeding all the senses. Coming out the other side, it's hard to get the gears turning again. Winter is a time for turning in, reflecting on the year that's passed, and looking ahead to the new one with wonderment. 

With 120 cleanups to go, a few trips taking me out of town for days at a time, and my average of one beach cleanup every three days, 2012 will be the final year for The Daily Ocean. This time next year, I'll be counting down to my final few cleanups, if I haven't already finished. 

What's next? I ask myself how will I combine this blog, my love of writing and photography into a new phase? 

This man combines his skills as a photographer, sculptor, set designer and diver to create underwater site specific installations. Let's get him to sink some of his figures into the Santa Monica Bay. All of his concrete, life-size people are frozen doing contemporary acts, oblivious to the environmental effects they create. Stunning. 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Day 244 - Dec. 21, 2011

lifeguard tower 26 - Ocean Park, Santa Monica CA
trash collected for 20 minutes
1 pound
921.4 pounds total

After over 200 sunset cleanups featuring many varieties of plastic bits and bobs, I'm lost for new words to describe them. What's left to say? The tone of this question I ask myself is one of genuine inquiry, not defeat. But that's my job, figuring out how to convey the feeling that finding these items again and again inspires within me. I guess the truth is, sometimes there aren't any new words to share with you.

I have a question. How is your company addressing its packaging littering the streets, oceans, and everywhere in between? What's that? You've never heard of 

Pink straws remind me of Baskin and Robbins. Anyone? Orange Frappes and grilled Hot Dogs = childhood memories with my Dad.

The beach was pretty clean last night though, which makes for one smiling cleanup. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Day 243 - Dec. 20, 2011

lifeguard tower 26 - Ocean Park, Santa Monica CA
trash collected for 20 min.
2.2 pounds
920.4 pounds total

For gifts that last, there's no better source of inspiration. And yes, you do detect a tinge of irony. Hats off to Marina though! She's an incredibly thoughtful artist with a message.

Migrating Grebes, like the ones we have here in the winter, mistook a Walmart Parking Lot in Utah for water. 1500 died after their crash landing, but over 3000 were released to the water. Grebe's can't take off on land. They need water to propel them airborne. I'm a fan of these elegant water birds. 

Sunset on December 20, 2011 in Santa Monica CA. Not bad for the day before winter. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Day 242 - Dec. 19., 2011

lifeguard tower 26 - Ocean Park, Santa Monica CA
trash collected for 20 minutes
4.4 pounds
918.2 pounds total

I'm over the worst of a nasty cold that kept me indoors for almost a week and a half. After being away from the beach for so long, I didn't care about the drizzle as I pulled into the beach parking lot last night. Looking forward to toes in the sand, I pulled up my hood, and headed out for my 20 minute routine beach cleanup.

"Litter Soup?" Mandy Barker's photographs depict just that with all objects taken from beaches and oceans around the world. Extraordinary. 

The sun is already makings its way behind the Pacific as I write this post. 
I'm looking forward to tonight's cleanup. 

Do you love the ocean? I came upon this heart in the sand at the end of my cleanup. It reminded me of a marine biologist I admire. Join Wallace J Nichols's 100 BLUE ANGELS. One man living his dream to work for the ocean, channeling social media and crowd sourcing for the highest good. We want this guy working for the big blue, and you can help! Here's how.

Getting in the chilly bay that morning felt worth the ice cream headache the waves produced. A couple of sea lions were a little too curious for my taste. Being the only body surfer in the water meant that at one point I hung off the back of my friend Bailey's board when one came for a closer inspection. 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Day 241 - Dec. 8, 2011

lifeguard tower 26 - Ocean Park, Santa Monica CA 
trash collected for 20 min. 
1.5 pounds 
913.8 pounds total

This Wednesday the 14th, Los Angeles City Council will vote on banning single use plastic bags in the city. Heal the Bay needs your support. Please visit their action page for more information. If you can make it downtown for the meeting, you'll be giving the environment an invaluable gift for the holidays. 

I'm going to try and make it although the cold that's been going around has settled thickly in my throat. 

With rain on the horizon, and a winter cold in my chest, it is unlikely that I'll be out for the 242nd beach cleanup anytime soon. This also means I'll be out of the water as well. With the approaching weather, I'm sure the waves were good this morning. After a wave drought this week, it would have been nice to get in today. They'll be other days, if I concentrate on getting better. 
At least that's what I'm telling myself right now. 

Mylar balloon in the foreground, deceased Grebe bird in the background. 

I'll end today's post with a comment Andrea left on Thanksgiving. It made my day to read it then, and still does. 

"I don't live near the beach but over Thanksgiving, we were at a beach in Milford, CT so we did some clean-up inspired by you. Found a bunch of mono filament and rope, bottles, plastic bits and pieces. No way to weigh it but probably around 6 pounds "

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Community Count Day 189 - Arleen in Martha's Vineyard

It's getting cold on the East Coast. I can hear the cry, "GETTING!" from my friends back there. The point is, my friend Arleen still walks along the blustery beaches of Martha's Vineyard, and while she does she collects trash. She's done several Daily Ocean cleanups with me when in Venice, and a few on her own. A big thank you to Arleen for taking the time to share. Here are her latest findings, and some words of her own. 

Lucy Vincent Beach , Chilmark, Martha's Vineyard, MA
trash collected for 20 min.
3.74 lbs

"I  walk this beach which always appears pristine, but upon closer inspection the usual suspects are evident: styrofoam , plastic bottles, bottle tops and strings with balloon remnants.  

Even collected a large piece of black plastic- not sure what that is /was!
Made sure to take a couple of photos for you."
All photos and text by Arleen McGlade.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Day 240 - Dec. 6, 2011

lifeguard tower 26 - Ocean Park, Santa Monica CA
trash collected for 20 minutes
3 pounds 
921.3 pounds total 

My friend Mary joined me for most of the collection tonight. It's always fun to see her. 
I had the honor of being the subject for her SMC photography class assignment, 
"Environmental Portraits." 

Who is that guy? 
Looks like how I felt tonight when I saw thousands of styrofoam flecks speckling 
the sand at the tide line again.

The tide retreated to the lowest I've seen in months, letting off that low-tide-odor. But the crisp December air, and sunset made up for any unpleasant smells.

And yet another black plastic bag... This one makes the 4th consecutive cleanup that I've found a black single use plastic bag during my 20 minutes on the sand. 

Three placid, and one bossy Royal Tern. Royal Terns are the Clydesdales of Terns. 
I am really enjoying all the winter migratory birds around our beach. 

Monday, December 5, 2011

Day 239 - Dec. 3, 2011

lifeguard tower 26 - Ocean Park, Santa Monica CA
trash collected for 20 min.
5.4 pounds
909.3 pounds total

Saturday night was about stooping over, and picking styrofoam pits out of the water line. 
Between bits of near weightless chunks, I remembered to check out the sunset. When I did, I had the pleasure of watching a Grebe dive below for a snack.

I actually found myself wishing for larger, more solid items to scavenge off the sand as I walked along. What an odd thought. The second time I remembered to look around, I saw a sea lion poke up from the water about thirty feet front me. 

It's raining black plastic bags. Not really, but I have found at least one black plastic single use bag on my last three cleanups. So how many are actually floating around in Santa Monica Bay? I go out for a beach cleanup every three days, on average, to the same tiny stretch of sand. For a week or more now, I've taken at least one of these beauties off the sand when I go. There's a word problem in here for a Statistics class just begging to be written by a more math savvy person than I.

I saw a Grebe, and a Sea Lion on Saturday night, and a pod of Dolphins today when I entered the surf this morning, all reminding me that I'm really out here for them. The Daily Ocean is written to communicate with people, but it's a labor of love for the animals. If I keep this fact in mind, I'll have plenty of energy to finish my last 100 or so cleanups.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Days 237 & 238 - Nov. 23 & Nov. 29, 2011

Day 237 - Ocean Park, Santa Monica CA
trash collected for 20 min. 
5.6 pounds

Day 238 - Ocean Park, Santa Monica CA
trash collected for 20 min.
2.6 pounds
total for both days - 8.2 pounds
Daily Ocean total - 903.9 

The night before Thanksgiving I got all the way to the beach, turned on my new-ish camera and my battery had no juice. Again. Perhaps twice, or maybe three times now, is enough for me to remember that this new little 14 mega-pixel Lumex has some kinks I need to attend to. Having no pictures from my 237th beach cleanup, I have lumped two days into one post. 

It is great to be home from Thanksgiving after a trip to Louisiana to visit our friends who may as well be family. I miss them already, but I love where we live. They've promised to come for a visit over the next year. I hope so. Herbert - who will be 14 - would really like body surfing with me in the morning. And Charlotte - who will still be 10 if they come in the summer - will love coming for beach cleanups at sunset. I've known their mother Lisa for 15 plus years now. It's a real treasure to be close to someone who's been in your life for so long. Holiday time can turn into a series of tense family gatherings. 
We're lucky we escaped that.

I found a black plastic bag on both day 237 and 238. 

Mad Lib idea - "In Los Angeles you find (noun), which is (verb) all over the beaches."

The water wasn't too, too cold this morning, and the waves were up! We did find a sick loon though. The bird rescue guys were on their way, but it died before they arrived. My friend Kit reminded me that, "It's a tough life out there." He's right. Marine animals, hell all wild animals, face challenge after challenge to stay alive. My brain throws in potentially eating a bunch of plastic crap and other junk along with weather, predators, hunting/fishing, and a plethora of man-made threats. 
Perhaps the Loon died of old age. Perhaps not.