Challenge #31: Beach-combing (and a new iPhone app)


Today’s challenge is brought to you from a wild and wooly wintery beach!

To watch my video introducing today’s challenge, click here!

Caveat: this is not a smugness-filled challenge, by any means. This is a challenge fuelled by desperation, sadness, and a huge amount of anxiety about the future. 

I was fortunate enough to grow up in a place surrounded by sandy beaches. I have no memory of copious amounts of plastic waste on the beach, and don’t remember ever seeing those tiny nuggets of plastic (nurdles) at all.

These days, whenever we head to a beach, we always go with rubbish bags, and fill ’em up with the (mostly plastic) waste that we find while we’re having our fun playing in the sand.

Beach-combing to my son is more about waste collection and disposal, and not so much about shells, pebbles and driftwood. And this makes me sad.

Little Whirlwind is having a very different experience of trips to the beach than I did. 

The other day a friend posted something on Facebook about how to easily collect the tiny pellets of plastic nurdles: basically sweep the beach at the tide-line, put the sweepings into a bucket of water. The sand sinks, the plastic floats.

Challenge #31 is all about sweeping plastic up off the beach, and trying out a new camera app. 

We were keen to give beach sweeping a try, so decided to head to Brean for a wintery play on the beach.

And I decided to document it using my phone (I didn’t want to get my pro camera sandy and wet!)… plus I had a new camera app to play with!

Techie Details:
Camera: iPhone 6 with Pro Camera app


Collecting bits of plastic off the beach feels almost futile. We collected SO MUCH in such a small area.

So on the one hand, that’s two bin bags of plastic, metal and glass waste, some kind of large plastic fan, three bags of dog poo, a soup tub full of plastic sticks and pellets, and two large plastic tarpaulins that aren’t being eaten by fish, or drifting about as a hideous plastic island in the middle of the sea. 

On the other hand, we covered such a small area of beach it feels like an impossible, never-ending task.

BUT if everyone went out and had fun with their families (because yes, it was fun*) and spent a hour or two collecting rubbish, we’d make a HUGE difference. What do you say?  Will you join the challenge?

*except the dog poo

LW did have a fun time. He enjoyed the experiment with sweeping the beach, and he did get a chance to dig holes and build sand castles. He also helped to collect rubbish. He understands (thanks to fab educational activities at The Festival of Nature and displays at Bristol Zoo, as well as chatting about it at home), the dangers to wildlife – and to us.

In terms of the new phone app, I’m quite pleased with it, although I kept forgetting to properly focus it!!  This wasn’t so obvious on the phone, but as soon as I popped them onto the computer I realised my mistake. I did like having more control over my camera settings though, and I’ll definitely be using it again! 

Would you like me to help you capture your special memories?! Get in touch to have a chat

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