All ready for the off at 8.45 am: bag packed ready (sun cream- check, sunnies - check, hat - check, rubbish bags, gardening gloves - check errr, rubbish bags, gardening gloves?! ) They're packed because it's Bay Beach Clean. Bay Beach Clean is a group of volunteers who meet alternate Sunday mornings to collect rubbish from Waitangi to Te Haumi. There is an 'A' team and a 'B' team who start at different ends of the Bay and meet in the middle at Alongside Restaurant in Paihia for a generous free coffee and chat afterwards.
John and I have only taken part three times so far. We were a little bit surprised the first time when we realised that there were only three of us. We checked the time and place, 'B' team, 9.00 by the boat ramp at Te Haumi. We looked around at dog walkers and ramblers wondering if they were part of the team, but no, so the three of us got on with it. With some advice from the other volunteer we collected not only glass, cans, paper etc but treated wood that can leak chemicals into the sea. Amazingly the most common debris washed up on the shore was pegs. Between us we also found an assortment of woolly hats, socks and undies (possibly from faraway peg-less washing lines!)
The next time we took extra collection bags with us thinking that there may be detritus from Christmas and New Year's Eve revels. Pleasingly the good folk of the Bay had mostly cleaned up after themselves (or the council had got there first!)
It's a really nice way to start the day. We have lots of cheerful chats with people we meet along the way, a few shout outs from well wishers, a lovely coffee from Alongside, a warm feeling inside and best of all we made friends with another Bay Beach Clean volunteer. Sadly, we haven't managed to meet up with any A team volunteers yet, we must keep missing each other.
Check the Bay Beach Clean website for dates and times to help keep the bay beautiful.
- Diana Smith