Friday, March 18, 2011

Day 8 - March 18, Valdivia, Chile

Niebla, Chile - 20 min. ride from Valdivia
We have been staying in a small city that is a bit up river from the coast. This is the first beach in Chile that Garen and I have seen. As soon as I saw the water, I felt how much I had missed seeing the ocean for the last week. 

A word about the street dogs that we have met in Niebla and Valdivia.
These dogs are skinny. 
Sometimes so skinny that you want to look away. 
These dogs have a healthy fear of people but have not shown any sign of aggression toward us. 
These dogs have manners when you give them leftovers, and treats. 
Some of these dogs will not eat a "dog" biscuit. 
We think it may be because they have never had one. 
These dogs need help. 

I would love to connect with a local vet that could perform spaying and neuturing for a small fee, or for free. I'm working on it. The means don't exist for people to take all of these dogs in. I respect that. But if there are less of them, there will be less competition for food scrounging. This will alleviate the suffering of some of the smartest, kindest dogs I have ever met.

We walked down the beach after meeting the dogs and quickly came upon many items made from "disposable" plastic. I read an email today when we got back to the hostel from a man working on sea turtles in central america. He wrote that the most common item found on the beaches where he's been working is the plastic bottle. 

A cormorant drying its wings. 

An oyster catcher flying to a new rock.

Garen and I spent 20 minutes watching the birds, waves and kelp swaying under the water. 

The tide was coming up. We decided to climb down from the rocks and do a beach cleanup. 

Look what we found on our way back.

Our collection from 20 minutes of cleaning the beach. I am glad that I had a Chico Bag in my backpack. The founder, Andy Keller is facing a lawsuit from two out of state (Chico Bags base of operations is in Chico, CA) plastics companies. I will be covering this in some detail as it unfolds. This is a real David vs. Goliath fight. They are trying to shut Andy up, put him out of business, and scare the social movement that has sprung up around banning plastic bags. 

Guess what? 

We are unstoppable. Andy has got a hell of a lot of people behind him. I'll let you know how you can help as more information becomes available. 

Later in the day, we took a ferry to the island of Corral. Garen pointed out the kelp over the side of the pier as we walked to town. Corral is a unique place that has a long embattled history with its Spanish conquerors. Now the island finds itself embattled with disposable plastics, just like everywhere else.

The Sea Dragon docked in Valdivia today. I'm glad Garen and I got out of town to explore because we may be busy for the next few days!


  1. That is awesome. I want to follow up on some of your asides(i.e. more on that later) when I can actually pay attention to them. Beautiful photography also.

  2. Thanks Joyce

    Follow up with me anytime about anything I've written. Thanks for taking the time to comment!


  3. Hi Sara
    What beautiful pictures. Looks like you are having a good time!! I got the bar shampoo and conditioner from Lush. So far I like it. Still learning more about what is in them. Saw that some have artificial colors, so I will likely stay away from those. This week I bought Claravale raw milk in the glass bottle rather than my usual Organic Pastures in the plastic. I like the Claravale, it has a nice creamier taste as it is just from Jerseys. It is more expensive, but worth it! Soon I will be able to get cream from them as well.

    Continuing to eliminate single use plastic from my life one step at at time!!
    Rosann Volmert

  4. Great post. Thx for what you do, and for you big heart.

  5. Amazing pictures, you really captured the birds! How are the internet connections? When do you meet with Marcus & Anna?
    All of our hand-made recycled plastic craft floated! The marine debris surfboard came in first, then the bottle board, and third the straw boat (slow due to most resistance). It
    should be on the blog soon. The plasticsR4ever
    youth summit was incredible and inspiring.

  6. Rosann

    It is great to hear from you. "Eliminating single use plastic from my life one step at a time." That sums it up, and inspires me that you are so fired up! Thank you. I think that the Lush shampoos may have sls additives here's a link: If this strikes you as not a good option then I have seen alternatives that can be ordered on the internet. It's a process, isn't it :)

    take care and thanks for following!!

  7. Rosann

    I almost packed my fermented cod liver oil...but then my husband pointed out that I may want to leave it out incase it broke! HA! Probably a good idea :)


  8. Jim

    Thanks for commenting! Good to have connected with you on twitter and now beyond to spread awareness about the environmental issues that we care about to as many folks as possible!

    thanks for your kind comments

  9. Renee

    Thanks for commenting again! I am glad that you are enjoying the photographs. We met Marcus and Anna last night for the first time. We will move onto the boat on Wed. and leave the port in Chile on Thurs.! Here we go.... :)

    I am glad that the PAF Youth Summit was a great success and thanks for sharing about that too.

    say hi to Team Marine for me!
    take care and hope your mom is ok

  10. So good to catch a glimpse of you! Gorgeous ocean, ubiquitous plastic, but maybe not forever, eh? Take good care xox