I'm looking at the weather forecast for back home and the high is suppose to be 6 degrees, it's seventy two here in Vieques @ 7am. It's been cold back home this winter with two different "polar vortex" systems bringing frigid air. So we feel your pain, kinda.
We had never been out in the water on this part of Playa Grande. The waves are intimidating and as soon as you get in the water you can feel this really strong undertow pulling at your ankles. I was the first one to brave the waves.
It took all of about 5 minutes for me to get wiped out.
I know you can't really tell it in the video above, but we where getting hit by some serious waves. Twice during the filming I got knocked off my feet and rolled by the waves. This is not a beach you would want to take young children, very dangerous.
Playa Grande was as beautiful as ever. We had the whole beach to ourselves, never seeing another body all day long.
After getting banged around by the surf I busied myself with some activities limited to terra firma. I hiked over that big rock in the above picture with two trash bags. That part of Playa Grande was a mess. I didn't take long to fill both bags.
Like it or not, this is the reality of our beaches. It is estimated that 1/10th of all plastic produced ends up in our oceans. Plastic water bottles make up a huge part of that figure. As I was walking along Playa Grande, picking up trash, I began to notice something. It seems like many times I find the same items, over and over. I decided when I got back to our spot I would sort the trash just to see if I was right. Typically what I find are plastic water bottles, larger plastic always including large motor oil jugs, flip flops, Styrofoam and plastic lighters. Here's a picture of what I gathered:
That's 57 plastic water bottles, 21 pieces of foam, 17 flip flops, 16 misc plastic bottles and 5 lighters. I had to leave the vast majority of the trash because I had no more bags to carry it all in. Below are some more facts about plastic taken from Save Our Shores.org
- Plastic fragments contaminate even the most remote locations on earth. Harmful chemicals leached by plastics are present in the bloodstream and tissues of almost every one of us.
- Plastic pollution harms people, animals, and the environment. Plastic is not biodegradable. In the marine environment, plastic breaks down into smaller particles that absorb toxic chemicals, are ingested by wildlife, and enter the food chain that we depend on.
- Consumption of throwaway plastics, such as bottles, containers, bags, and packaging, has spiraled out of control.
- Recycling is not a sustainable solution. Most of our plastic waste is landfilled, downcycled, or exported to other countries. Tragically, millions of tons of plastic poison our oceans. Businesses and governments must take responsibility for new ways to design, recover and dispose of plastics.
- Plastic pollution is a symbol of our global over-consumption crisis. We must shift our societies away from disposable habits that poison our oceans and land by eliminating our consumption of throwaway plastics, and embracing a culture of sustainability.
- Our health, our children's health, and the survival of future generations depends on us.
- Refusing to use disposable plastic items such as plastic bags, water bottles, and utensils, is the responsibility of every one of us.
- The most common plastics found during SOS beach and river cleanups are: cigarette butts, plastic water bottle caps, plastic bags, and styrofoam pieces.
I know, enough already with the trash. But I feel it's important and if we all would just think before we use plastic, especially plastic water bottles, it might make a difference.
The rest of the day was spent beach combing and just enjoying the beautiful weather. Today's weather forecast called for a 40% chance of rain. Here's what a 40% chance of rain day looks like:
As I was sitting enjoying it all I noticed Lorrie in the foreground. She was bent over in what is a typical sea glass hunt posture.
I walked over and joined her in the search. The tide had went out and left the sand in perfect condition for finding glass. Here's our treasures for the effort:
We had to leave the beach earlier than we normally would. Plans were to have an evening dinner with Judy and Andre in hopes of seeing the green flash at sunset. We've tried on other occasions to see it. From their house you only have about a week or so in Feb. and then the sun begin setting behind land. I'm always amazed had how fast the sun sets when it gets really low on the horizon. Below is the view from their veranda. It's such a nice time to sit and watch it go down with good friends. The point where the sun is setting is right where Lorrie and I spent the day on Playa Grande.
We all got to see the green flash, a first for Lorrie and I. Andre marked the occasion with a toast. I grabbed a camera and caught us enjoying the moment:
After the flash we were treated to salmon colored skyline, while we dinned alfresco.
Perfect day in Vieques.