I live here now.
I could’ve ended that sentence with “again” except when I first lived here in Victoria years ago, I did not live near the water unless you count Crystal Pool & Fitness Centre.
Now I get to perch on a rocky outcrop at the beach and sip from my energy drink-filled mug while watching the water sausages play. Yann and I have seen seagulls fish for Dungeness crab. We’ve seen juvenile eagles, greater sand plovers, herons, black oystercatchers, and other feathered ocean enthusiasts.
We’ve even seen a sea lion close-up! It was dead, but I’m confident its cousins are out there alive and flappin’.
Yann took some lovely photos this morning. I asked him why he was sharing them as a story on Instagram rather than posting his favourite shot to his feed. His response was, “But then it would be nothing but photos of the beach every day.”
Exactly Yann, exactly. This is our life now. WE LIVE BY THE FUCKING OCEAN.
And it costs us an arm and a leg! If I don’t pull in full-time hours soon, I’m going to be out of limbs by the end of summer. We need our limbs to pick up all the garbage that has been washing up ashore.
Since we have the pleasure of being able to visit the beach anytime we have enough energy to walk the two minutes it takes to get there, we’ll be bringing latex gloves and bags. Beachcombing is no longer about collecting seashells and corals to glue to a photo frame. Beachcombing has been redefined to involve plucking tampon applicators out of seaweed and fetching tennis balls that somebody’s failure of a dog failed to fetch.
If your dog’s breed doesn’t have “retriever” in its name, keep its toys off the beach. Or expect to do the retrieving for your lazy son of a literal bitch.
The most baffling piece of trash we keep finding has to be cigarette butts.
Where… did the idea that… cigarette butts ≠ trash come from? There are people who visit the beach to ooh and ahh at the seascape while they puff away. Once they reach their desired level of nicotine-induced euphoria, smokers then dispose of their cigarette butt by jamming it into a crevice in a rock. Ah, yes, nature’s trash receptacle.
As a part of my project to put myself on a pedestal, I will be taking a photo of every bag I fill with coastal rubbish. I will keep track of the most commonly found items. I will note the more unusual debris. So far I don’t think sea turtles are going to have to worry as much about getting a straw jammed up their nose as they do being strangled by all the rope that’s floating out there.
(I wrote about why I oppose the proposed plastic straw ban here.)
A small part of me is looking forward to finding some strange marine debris. A sneaker with a foot still inside? A sea otter stuffed into a sea lion stuffed into an orca, like a marine turducken situation? A carcass from the deep would be sad, but also neat.
Anyway, the sun’s out: off to the beach I go!