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International Coastal Cleanup Day

September 17th, 2011 at 12:13 pm

I rose not quite as bright and early as I intended, and I felt myself rushing about in the morning to pull together a simple salad for my new friend and I to enjoy at an area Audubon Sanctuary on Long Island Sound.

I was so short on time I didn't get a chance to quickly check my email, something I like to do before heading out for any period of time. It was a little after 8 am when I left the house.

I got a little lost, but eventually found the Sanctuary at the very tip of a point lined with summer cottages. I was there for the beach cleanup, an annual, late summer ritual that's done up and down the coastline in New York and Connecticut as part of International Coastal Cleanup Day. There's always plenty of trash that's either left by beach-goers or boaters, or is otherwise washed ashore after drifting at sea for who knows how long.

As happened the last time I did this a few years ago, the turnout was not all that good. There were three of us, to be exact. I decided to hook up with the other two women there and we fanned out on the beach. It was a GORGEOUS day, quite bright and sunny, though cool. We spent three hours picking up trash, including everything from spent shotgun shells (illegal) to a car tire to bottle caps and straws. Probably 80% of what we picked up was soft or hard plastic. According to Audubon literature, it takes 450 years for plastic to disintegrate.

Here are some pics:

I love the warm, golden colors of the beach grasses.

Audubon has several observation decks with beautiful views of the marshes.

I don't know if these purple martin houses were occupied this summer.

I am wondering if Hurricane Irene dumped more shells than usual on the beaches.

I waited for my friend to meet me at the Audubon Coastal Center at noon, but she didn't show. I spent the time chatting with an employee at the center and her husband. I waited and waited, wondering what to do. As a cost-saving measure, I'd given up my cell phone over a year ago, so that simple option wasn't available to me.

I don't know my new friend that well. I've just met her once, so it was hard to imagine what might have gone wrong. I figured it was either one of two things: either she had gotten lost (I remembered she said she often does get lost, and that she has ADHD) or that her daughter, who was close to full term with her pregnancy, had given birth and my friend had maybe a last minute change of plans due to that event.

I suppose I could have waited longer than 45 minutes, but I'd been out in the sea breeze all morning and was feeling tired, so I finally decided to head home.

When I got home, there was a message from S. telling me she got VERY lost, asked 4 people for directions and still had trouble, but had finally made it to the Sanctuary and was wondering where I was. I called her back immediately and we exchanged notes.

There was also an email here for me which I would have seen if I'd checked my mail before leaving. It was sent by S. around 5:30 a.m. saying since she was up so early, she thought she'd like to do the beach cleanup with me after all. Oh well.

I felt a little guilty for maybe not waiting a little longer. It sounded like she got there maybe 5 minutes (!) after I left! She enjoyed the scenery and environment there as much as I did, and we both regretted not having been able to connect. We had both brought lunch to share. Fortunately, she didn't' sound TOO frazzled and agreed we should try again to do something, so I will keep my eye out.

1 Responses to “International Coastal Cleanup Day”

  1. Jerry Says:

    Those pics lead me to miss the New England shoreline. What a gorgeous place that is, and kudos to you for helping to keep it beautiful! I am sure that you will reconnect with your friend and be able to do this again sometime... and at least you have some insurance that it was an honest mistake and not her forgetting the plans!

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