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Annual coastal clean up.

Posted by dolly diver on May 10, 2011
Posted in Local News  | Tagged With: , , , , ,

“Hey Sheila, are you joining us for the clean up on Saturday morning”. It was the voice of Councillor Steve Gerrald.

“Sorry, can’t this year I’m looking after the “Gremlins” for the day, (my Grandchildren David, 4yrs and Lily almost 3 yrs).

“Well bring them along too, it’s something different for them” was the reply. “and there’s a huge paella being served after the clean up for all the volunteers”.

So Saturday morning arrived, no need to set the alarm, the kids were up before me, oh dear could I have ever been that cheerful and full of so much energy that early in the morning!

“Is it time to go yet” they were asking. (Not before my 2 cups of coffee to wake me up, I was thinking).
How about playing with the lego until it is time to go, I suggested to them. They agreed.

The starting point of the clean up was the beach and harbour in Puerto Santiago. We arrived there to meet up with at least 50 volunteers all armed with rubber gloves, bin bags, brushes and dust pans.
Councillor Gerald soon had everything organized. There would be 3 groups. The divers would clear the harbour. One group would clear the coastline towards Puerto Santiago plaza and the other group would cover the walkway towards the Barcello Santigo and the rock pool – I chose this route as it would be easier for David and Lily.

Very soon we had dozens of large bin bags full of plastic bags, bottles and cans which were cluttering the rocks below the walkway. After a well earned coffee break (and ice cream too) we then cleared the rock pool area. Then it was back to base to see the amazing looks on the faces of bystanders by the the amount of junk which was being pulled out of the harbour itself by local divers.

It was a good morning out, something different to do, and the area does look so much better, what an achievement.. The kids were happy, David had found a toy car – and to finish we all tucked into that huge paella.

A big thank you from the organizers to all who took part.

“Hi Sheila”, It was Councillor Steve Gerald’s voice on the phone, “Coastal clean up on Sat 9th Aug, can you put it on your news, we need volunteers………………and you’re taking part too – aren’t you”?

“Oh er um – yes, I think I’m free”. It was a 9am start – hate getting up that early on a Saturday but it was a worthwhile cause and it’s always a good story for this news blog, so a note was made in the diary.

A few days before the event I received another call. “Can you help out at the dive centre we’re busy and could do with an extra pair of hand for a few days”?

I was there in a shot, any excuse to get me out of the office and go diving for a while. DaRKeTaMiN, losgigantes.com webmaster, volunteered to answer the phones and keep things ticking over for a few days.

Now there was a problem how could I take part in the clean up as well as take people diving. Talking it through with instructor Andy we came up with a brilliant idea – we would all take part in the clean up. There was a beach we passed regularly which was covered in rubbish, it didn’t look nice, and there was also one of our popular dive sites which needed a good tidy up too. How to get volunteers? – you offer them a free dive. In a few minutes we had a full boat of volunteers. So it was a call to Steve to let him know.

pedaloSo on the day it was the usual 9.30 kit up for a 10am start. Our 1st job was to clean beach at Octopus Cove (called Echo bay by tourist boats) the rubbish included the top half of a pedalo, which had been washed up there about 2 years ago. The sea had been very flat and calm for the past few days but on this particular morning wave action made it difficult to get on and off beach and it was also difficult for the dive boat to stay in close. Rubbish consisted of shoes, fish boxes, the pedalo, and a huge length of rope easily 3 inches in diameter (very heavy), many bottle, cans and cartons, which filled 4 large bin liners.pedalo-on-board

Next stop was to drop of rubbish of in Puerto Santiago. This proved difficult as wave action prevented us from going against the harbour wall and everything had to be swum to the steps. The local firemen were taking part in the clean up too and were waiting for us. swimming-rubbish-ashore-in-puerto-santiago We did get some odd looks from them as we pulled in with the pedalo balanced on top of dive gear. At this point the harbour crane developed electrical difficulties but after much twiddling and banging they eventually got it working and lifted the pedalo from the water. Our next planned destination was dive site Punta Barbero – the rocky point off Playa Arena beach – a lovely dive site, but spoilt by rubbish. It has been cleaned up by us in the past so the opportunity for another clean up was taken.

 	andy-lifting-rubbish

Divers spent approximately 45 minutes in the water and once more many bottles, cans and cartons, as well as an old tyre were collected. A large item we wanted to move was a supermarket trolley which was tangled up in an old fish trap. It was sent to the surface on a lifting bag but was too heavy to safely bring on board, it had very sharp, rusty edges. It was decided that it was too risky to try to tow it back to Puerto Santiago harbour in the swell, so we towed it further out to sea and cut it loose. How a supermarket trolley got there in the first place is beyond me!

customers-and-staff-of-los-gigantes-diving-centreThe decision was then made not to go back into Puerto Santiago because of the swell so we went back to Los Gigantes marina and disposed of the rubbish in the bins provided by the marina.

Thirty other volunteers including the Surf Club Punta Blanca and the volunteer Firemen took part in the beach cleanup of Crab Island and the beaches at Puerto de Santiago and Playa Arena. A total of almost 500kg was collected.

The event ended with paella at Puerto Santiago square for the volunteers, sadly Andy and I had to miss out because we had to get back to work!

A good day was had by all.