Pepe's Island Clean Up
Skipper and First Mate Millard (Big Bear and Pepe)
Wed 3 Jul 2019 23:57
Pepe's Island Clean Up
Over breakfast we felt a cunning plan forming. The day was bright and sunny and we knew that Pepe’s Island had a fair amount of rubbish on the beach. The many turtle nests will hatch under the next full moon and.........well off we went, bin liners at the ready.
I left Bear to deal with the beach whilst I went off around the island, bags in hand. I found a blue rubber sheet which will make a good base sheet for our rubbish pile back on Fouquet Island. Groups of plastic bottles huddled along the way and two huge chunks of polystyrene boxes had me paddle back towing my loot behind me. Bear met and relieved me and I returned to the far corner. I appeared an hour later at the other end of the beach to see Bear busily stomping plastic water bottles flat.
Baby Beez with five sacks of singleton flip flops and plastic water bottles, a jerry can, a big polystyrene box, the rubber mat, an empty, rusting LPG bottle, several glass bottles and a handful of medicine bottles. Somehow we both wiggled in and set off for our beach on Fouquet.
We decided on an area that was shady for most of the day as we thought the bin liners may suffer under the intense UV rays, although we had double bagged. Down went the blue mat and the five bags from Pepe’s Island. We gathered yesterday’s pile of fishing floats from along the beach and brought back the yacht fridge we found on the seaward side and unbelievably the strip light bulb that was somehow still intact. The fridge became home to the glass bottles.
We bagged our plastic bottle piles gathered yesterday and Bear posed with our growing pile. Time for a cooling dip, a chat and a drink. We both recollected the whole bottled water business. He remembers fancy restaurants in London offering Perrier water in the distinct green bottles. I remember Evian water hitting the supermarkets. My mum said “Who on earth will pay good money for tap water”, who indeed...........
Slowly we had a small rope pile, bags and huge bits of polystyrene and the fridge full of glass and random metal stuff.
During another dip I picked on Bear’s current cap. Huh. Well he will never give up on a scruffy one until I fell it........
Side note:- several days later he was still wearing this raggedy cap.
At low tide we headed for the seaward beach, passing the spot where we had gathered one of our three big piles (no bin liners yesterday) there was a hermit crab conference. Each and every one of the shells in the picture held a chap.
We waited as the final speech was almost finished and watched as the chaps began to bimble away.
We spent ten minutes tugging at the fishing net we attached by tangled ropes both caught in the bush and dead reef below. Stuck fast we know to bring a sharp knife tomorrow. Hard to picture the size of the thing even when I got Bear to pose with it. Trust us, it was over six feet across and about two solid feet deep. We spent the next half an hour gathering two piles over this side, too tired to crush and bag today.
The hard hat, OK I couldn’t resist adding a fishing float or two to make a happy man. We show our collection (so far) not as any sort of ‘well done us’ but to show that even this isolated paradise has to put up with the scourge of drifting rubbish. This atoll is 1400 nmiles from Madagascar, 1200 nmiles from Mauritius and 300 nautical miles from Gan in The Maldives. a few days after each and every storm more rubbish drifts in. We can understand how a fishing net float or two can run away and flip flops get accidentally caught on a changing tide. We can see how during a shower on the stern platform of Beez we could accidentally topple the shower gel bottle but so many water bottles........ Ninety nine percent have their lid neatly screwed back on. Then there is the willful stuff – a light bulb, an ordinary household light bulb. Some say it OK to break off the metal bit and let the bulb end drop into the sea. Mmmm not sure about that. Yes, glass is sand but it will take hundreds of years to return to that state. So as for our happy man, in closing and in hindsight........he should really have been made to wear a frown perhaps even some tears.
ALL IN ALL HUGELY SATISFIED BUT SAD AT THE SAME TIME
AMAZING HOW MUCH RUBBISH COMES TO AN UNINHABITED ATOLL