Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Days 237 & 238 - Nov. 23 & Nov. 29, 2011

Day 237 - Ocean Park, Santa Monica CA
trash collected for 20 min. 
5.6 pounds

Day 238 - Ocean Park, Santa Monica CA
trash collected for 20 min.
2.6 pounds
total for both days - 8.2 pounds
Daily Ocean total - 903.9 

The night before Thanksgiving I got all the way to the beach, turned on my new-ish camera and my battery had no juice. Again. Perhaps twice, or maybe three times now, is enough for me to remember that this new little 14 mega-pixel Lumex has some kinks I need to attend to. Having no pictures from my 237th beach cleanup, I have lumped two days into one post. 

It is great to be home from Thanksgiving after a trip to Louisiana to visit our friends who may as well be family. I miss them already, but I love where we live. They've promised to come for a visit over the next year. I hope so. Herbert - who will be 14 - would really like body surfing with me in the morning. And Charlotte - who will still be 10 if they come in the summer - will love coming for beach cleanups at sunset. I've known their mother Lisa for 15 plus years now. It's a real treasure to be close to someone who's been in your life for so long. Holiday time can turn into a series of tense family gatherings. 
We're lucky we escaped that.

I found a black plastic bag on both day 237 and 238. 

Mad Lib idea - "In Los Angeles you find (noun), which is (verb) all over the beaches."

The water wasn't too, too cold this morning, and the waves were up! We did find a sick loon though. The bird rescue guys were on their way, but it died before they arrived. My friend Kit reminded me that, "It's a tough life out there." He's right. Marine animals, hell all wild animals, face challenge after challenge to stay alive. My brain throws in potentially eating a bunch of plastic crap and other junk along with weather, predators, hunting/fishing, and a plethora of man-made threats. 
Perhaps the Loon died of old age. Perhaps not. 

Thursday, November 24, 2011






Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Day 236 - Nov. 22, 2011

lifeguard tower 26 - Ocean Park, Santa Monica CA
trash collected for 20 min.
11.9 pounds 
895.7 pounds total 

I felt relieved for sitting out this morning from my usual body surfing routine when I weighed my bag, discovering that I collected 11.9 pounds of plastic garbage off the beach tonight. The tide brought in the contents of the storm drain for me to see. This is only one of many intact plastic bags found on the sand. 

The stunning sunset created a sharp contrast to the garbage strewn across the beach. 

The funny, or not-so-funny, thing is that when I found the condom last night with Kitt and Anna, Kitt said the worst item he could think of finding would be a used diaper. DA-DAAAA!

A woman stopped to talk to me and say thanks for collecting trash after the rain. She commented on how much there was on a night like this. I agreed. She asked me how I don't get discouraged? My only answer was that doing something about it felt a whole lot better than not. 

Christy also mentioned a bunch of pictures of local dead birds she's seen walking on the beach between Rose Ave. in Venice and the pier. She wants to put them online somehow because recently she's found a few with fishing hooks in their beaks. 

I walked past this Greeb bird on the way back to the car. I normally wouldn't snap a picture of a dead bird, but when I saw this Greeb, and in the light of my recent conversation with Christy, I realized that I've seen a hawk, a sea gull, and 3 Greebs in the last month an a half washed up on my little stretch of sand between 26 and 28. All of them look like they died of natural causes. 

But did they? Or did they ingest a bunch of single-use plastic garbage that's been floating around? 
Who can tell, except in made me pause...

Day 235 - Nov. 21, 2011

lifeguard tower 26 - Ocean Park, Santa Monica CA
trash collected for 20 min. 
3.6 pounds
883.8 pounds total

trash collected for 20 min. 
Anna - 2 pounds
Kitt - 2.5 pounds
Community Count total - 904.8 pounds

THE DAILY OCEAN COMBINED TOTAL - 1,788.6 pounds of trash taken off beaches

We've seen a few folks from the Sea Dragon Crew lately. Last March Garen and I joined a rag-tag group of environmentalists, journalists, activists, documentary film makers, and scientists conducting research and documenting our findings while crossing in a 72 foot sailboat from Chile to Easter Island and then to Tahiti. 

Anna was on another crew but is colleagues with someone who was on board with us. She stayed with us overnight, and came out for a beach cleanup. She has been on a road trip for work from Sweden with our other good friend Anna. This Anna studies toxins in marine mammals. She also assesses legislation and it's effectiveness in regulating these P.O.P.s, or Persistent Organic Pollutants. It was so much fun to have her with us. This woman can discern reams of data, but the plastic sleeve for children's frozen popsicles like the one above, left her puzzled. 

Watermelon and Chile candy, yum yum.

Both nights that Kitt has come out with me we've found one of the above objects. Good grief. 

This space invader plastic car, or at least that's my interpretation, was one of the last items taken off the sand. Thanks again to Kitt and Anna for joining me during a sunset trash pick. 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Day 234 - Nov. 17, 2011

life guard tower 26 - Ocean Park, Santa Monica CA
trash collected for 20 minutes
2 pounds 
880.2 pounds total

My friend Danielle writes the blog IT STARTS WITH ME. It has a section of it called, "Our Daily Ocean." She has a cigarette butt focus, but takes all the liter she finds off her local beaches in Wrightsville N.C.. 

To date - she has collected over 220 pounds of trash to add to my Community Count and also over 35,000 cigarette butts. It is amazing what one person can do! Her three kids; Chase, Claire and Henry are usually with her. SO A BIG THANK YOU TO THEIR WHOLE FAMILY! 

I love that Danielle got inspired to do this after she met me on my Santa Monica beach for a 20 min. cleanup about a year and a half ago. It is exactly the kind of action I hope to inspire with The Daily Ocean. Although I can take no credit for how long she's sustained her efforts, or the thousands of cigarette butts, and many, many hours she's spent doing Our Daily Ocean. 
What an inspiring example for us all. 

A man named Harris stopped to talk to me on the beach. One of his ideas is to draw attention to trash as it gets snarled up in sea weed. Just as we were finishing our conversation, a huge tangle of sea weed, kelp, and a plastic bag rolled up from the water. Good timing. I untangled the bag, thinking about our meeting as Harris kept on his way up to the pier. The more people focusing on creative ways to draw attention to this problem, the better. He has since followed up with an email. Good stuff. 

Personal hygiene products

strewn across the sand

One of many candy wrappers I collected. Halloween has washed through the drains.

My friend Karen got sick from surfing too soon after a rain the other week. More weather is reported to come through tonight, meaning that it will be Wed. before I'm back in the water. I like winter, but I don't like having to sit out of the waves. 

Santa Monica High School Heal the Bay/Surfrider Club did a paddle out for clean water today at tower 26. It was pretty cool to see. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Day 233 - Nov. 15, 2011

life guard tower 26 - Ocean Park, Santa Monica, CA
trash collected for 20 minutes
4.6 pounds
878.2 pounds total

trash collected for 20 minutes
6.7 pounds
849.2 pounds total


Inspiration flowed through me when I stepped up onto the sea wall to take this shot. I was pumped for the night after coming home from Monterey, AND my friend Kitt was there to meet me. Kitt and I were on the same crew from Easter Island to Tahiti. Not only that but Kitt, Garen and our friend Jess, who is now taking Cook Island by storm, were on the same crew for most of it.  
The process of sailing across much of the Pacific Ocean makes you fast friends. 
I am lucky to count Jess and Kitt as great friends from here on out!
Read all about Jess's adventure son her blog - DESTINATION GLOBAL GOOD

The first item of trash we saw. 

But the night turned up more condoms than any other beach collection thus far. 3 - THREE! - in the first ten minutes. Oh man, will Kitt ever come out with me again? He lucked out by finding all three. Jeez. 

The other heavy hitting item we found? Plastic bags, LOTS of plastic bags, I'm talking 10 or more plastic bags in 20 minutes. It had been awhile since I'd seen so many all at once. 

And one shoe!

A good friend, a beautiful sunset, and lots of trash, a fun combo!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Monterey Bay Aquarium's ONE TEEN SUMMIT

The Monterey Bay Aquarium had it's first annual Teen Summit: Oceans Need Everyone or O.N.E. 
It was my great honor to be their speaker Sat. night. 
I'm sitting at home after the experience inspired, and grateful to have been a park of the action. 
I met really cool, motivated students. The staff at M.B.A. were very welcoming. 
A huge thank you to all that participated!

At about 7:45 Sunday morning, I posed for a quick picture with my blue marble. Wallace J Nichols started the Blue Marble project in 2009. He has been responsible for a couple million marbles traveling the globe from person to person. 

I gave students blue marbles in the spirit of passing on his idea to hold the marble which represents our blue planet, take a moment to be grateful for the ocean, and then do one kind thing to help. 

breakfast with the Sea Spirits from Notre Dame High School

During breakfast, Garen and I got the chance to chat with the Sea Spirits club. They have a bunch of artistic ideas to help spread the word that disposable plastics damage the environment. I hope they keep in touch and let me know how it all develops! Great having breakfast with you!

I had the chance to speak to the participants who spent the night in the aquarium. I reiterated what I spoke about the night before. This quote, by author Anne Lammot embodies the spirit of what I said:

"Maybe what you have written will help others, will be a small part of the solution. You don’t even have to know how or in what way, but if you are writing the clearest, truest words you can find and doing the best that you can to understand and communicate, this will shine on paper like its own little lighthouse. Lighthouses don’t go running all over an island looking for boats to save; they just stand there shining.”

More marbles went to the group from Truckee - Makea and Austin who were with J at Bioneers and were excited to see the Blue Marble project in action again!

Faith and I taking a picture together. She asked questions the night before, and came up to talk again the following day. Thank you Faith!

It was so much fun to talk to all of you after breakfast! One cool moment from our conversation was when Kennedy (in the middle in red) told me that she wanted to pursue law, but was also into sciences. I asked her if she had ever heard of the NRDC - National Resource Defense Council. 
"No!" she said as a huge smile, and visible light bulb turned on over her head. It hadn't occurred to her that she could pursue both. So here's that link, NRDC and stay in touch!

participants scooping up marbles to pass around when they return home

This is a coffin lid that we hope was a discarded Halloween smartly re-purposed with this cool sign. I liked the fish bones and glued found pieces of plastic lining the top. These guys were funny, enthusiastic and creative. Thanks for stopping to talk after breakfast and good luck!

A Cyprus Tree lining the trail behind us after we left the aquarium for a morning walk.

After the students took off at 8:30, Garen and I spent an hour along the Pacific Grove trail that runs along the coast. What a wonderful way to enjoy a Sunday morning!

The coast lining Monterey Bay is breathtaking. One look and you see several species highlighted inside the aquarium right before your eyes. 
A few dozen harbor seals lined the beach to the right of this photograph. 

The Standford University Marine Lab

Another thank you to Garen for coming with me to Monterey, driving all the way up to the San Jose airport, showing me so much support,  and lending his photography skills.

A special thank you to my Dad who came all the way from NYC, throwing in a few work meetings on Thurs. and Fri. so he could be here. 

the back of Monterey Bay Aquarium

Around 9:30 we went back into the aquarium to see the world class exhibits again. 

view from the second floor inside the aquarium

a sardine bait ball - seen by most humans only from the surface while sea birds pick it off

This artist cuts out seaweed, and algae forms from plastic bottles. Beautiful.

Jacques! (Nemo reference...)

A grey whale hangs in the atrium near the entrance. 

For my friend Danielle from It Starts With Me. She was in town briefly as part of her family trip to Northern California. Our paths crossed at an Italian Restaurant after this photograph was taken. It really made my day to see her, her husband Aaron, and their three beautiful kids. I wish we could do that more often, but since she's in N.C. and we're in CA, I'll have to look forward to the next time we're brought together. I know it will happen again!

There's no record of a Hammerhead Shark EVER biting a person.

And so my weekend in Monterey came to an end. I sped home to see how our dog Kona was doing since he hurt his back. He's lying next to me on the couch as I type, napping with our other dog Kayla. Our cat Meera is lying behind me. 

I'm watching the sun set rapidly from our living room window in Santa Monica, reflecting on family and being home. It occurs to me that this weekend I met part of a growing, extended family who have found each other because of their love for the ocean, and for the planet. They will no doubt make sweeping changes to save, protect, and preserve our collective home.