This post is also available in: polski (Polish)
I like all shades of blue and living near the ocean. The cries of seagulls are homely sounds to me. And for several years, cleaning the beach has become part of my life. I have already written about how rubbish opens wide their jaws. That’s why on Wednesday afternoon I’m bursting with energy and I don’t feel tired after work. Because I have a motive.
I get off the bus quite a few stops early and head to Ballyloughane Beach in Galway. There I meet Donal and Mary – two fiends – Wave Makers, Tiarnan McCusker from the Environment Awareness Department, the Mayor of Galway, Garry Kendellan from the Galway Aquarium, Clean Coasts volunteers, and local residents. Everyone came here with passion and they are already holding blue bags, litter pickers, and gloves in their hands.
Love Your Beach is a Galway City Council initiative that returns every year. It lasts a whole week and, in addition to cleaning up beaches, various workshops are held on the shores of the Atlantic.
This time I come across Garry Kendellan’s amazing workshop “Beachcombing for Biofacts“. So, while cleaning, we are combing the beach in search of biofacts – organic materials, including flora or fauna. Simply, we practice archeology on the shores of the ocean. Because everything that the sea throws ashore has a story.
Among our finds are various shells, crabs, pieces of wood, spawn, bones, a fossil, a piece of goose barnacle, green algae entwining a stone.
By carefully searching what we find on the beach, we can have an insight into the life of sea animals. One of the amazing crustaceans that the Atlantic throws up in Ireland is the goose barnacle.
Biofacts can also tell us about thousands of years of Ireland. But also about the modern customs of people on the beach. I am discovering seaweed more and more. There are 501 species in Ireland, with various shades of red, brown, and green.
At the end of this great meeting, we have “Drum Sound and the Sea” with Community Spirit Drumming. The first person makes up a rhythm, and then everyone turns on their beat. We try to imitate the sound of waves, the clink of stone on stone, and the tickle of shells on shells, and we bring out what we have inside us. Joy, light, nature, being together.
Every time I discover more on the beach. And the sea becomes closer to me. I can’t wait for the next clean-up, because it’s best to do it regularly. And I feel as the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda writes:
I need the sea because it teaches me. I don’t know if I learn music or awareness, if it’s a single wave or its vast existence (...)
fragment of the poem “Thea Sea”.
So, when is the next clean-up on the beach? 🙂