A few weeks ago I set a challenge for myself. Visit the same stretch of mangroves for 5 days in a row and see if on day 5 I bring back nothing. To make this even more interesting, the area I’m focusing on is only about 100 yards long, not even a par 3.
Monday I set out optimistically believing that I would be the person to fully clean this channel and leave it without a trace of a human ever visiting. I lock the board into place, spray down with reef safe sunblock and grab a Red Bull. A few minutes later and I’m at the beach. I stand at the shore and make sure my Red Bull is locked into place and I remembered my line cutters, then step out onto the water. A few hours later I return and hear “whoa did you get all that?” “Yes I did,” I say back to the boy who can’t stop staring at the front of my board. “Is that just from today?” he asks. “Yes it is,” I say as I’m pulling everything together for the count. End of day one and so far the count is just over 70. Feeling pretty good!
The great thing about day 2 was I found far less line and lures, the not-so-great thing? I found balloons and beach balls. I’m all about diversity and finding new things, but in this instance I’d like to find less. Day 2 also brought something else to my attention; Red Tide. We get this naturally occurring algae bloom all the time but I’m starting to notice that it really is getting hard to breathe. Why? Well mix red tide with lake Okeechobee release and you are taking a naturally occurring algae bloom and essentially giving it steroids. I bet you’re wondering how bad an algae bloom can really be or am I just a whiny hippie? A little bit of both. I can’t breathe but also that dead whale shark that just washed up on my beach can’t breathe either…
I was expecting way less than this. Seriously, it’s the middle of the week, it’s out of season, and there’s red tide! I’m convinced that somehow I was blind on Monday and Tuesday and just really opened my eyes on Wednesday. That or else Tuesday nights there’s a secret club that goes night fishing and I feel slighted that they aren’t inviting me. Which brings me to reasons I make a great friend:
- I bring snacks
- I know lots of useless stuff (even some useful stuff)
- I have a camera attached to my hip and I’ll make you look good in photos
- (still working on reason 4)
I’m noticing a trend here. I’m finding more balloons lately and I need to smile more in my photos. Today as I was headed back in I see the same little boy I had run into on Monday. “Do you come out here everyday?” he asks, “pretty much,” I say back. He gives me this confused look like “well how come you have so much trash on your board lady?!” I have no idea little man, I’m trying to figure it out myself. All I know is that if we keep chipping away at it, eventually we will make a difference.
Still no success in smiling in my selfies this week. I’m blaming my frustration at not successfully ridding the mangroves of all trash possible and the fact that I can’t stop coughing due to the red tide turning the beach into death. It’s hard to end this week and not feel so defeated. As I pulled my board onto the beach a man came over and said, “that’s not as much as I’ve seen you get before.” For those of you that know me, you know that almost everything that comes out of my mouth is sarcasm, for those of you that don’t, I’m sorry, but everything that comes out of my mouth is sarcasm. “Well I’ve been out here for 5 days straight …so I was hoping for less. That or people are getting better at casting.”
The grand total for what I found this week was…
Do you know how I celebrate that? With a weekend on the couch getting better from the red tide 😉
The next adventure? A little further away from the algae and a little closer to the gators.