Prudence at sea

I am not the biggest beach fan, in fact you’ll rarely see me by the seaside. The few times I do go to the beach, it’s usually because of friends who organise a beach day and it would be a good chance to spend some time with them. As I sit here writing on a boat I’m wondering why I avoid beaches so much, and I think the only conclusion I can come to is the people.

The noise, the rowdiness, the litter and the overall disrespect. Of course I’m generalizing here and it doesn’t mean that everyone acts that way, but honestly, a little prudence and respect would go a long way!

I’m writing this as I’m trying to relax on a boat. I’m quiet and peaceful, alone and not disturbing anyone else, but the noise I hear around me is insane. It feels like it’s obligatory to be incredibly loud if you’re at the beach or on a boat. Swearing to go along with the alcohol consumption is another must. Oh and I can’t forget loud music at times when people might be resting… nap hours in the afternoon and late at night when people might go to bed.

Boat generators before 6.00a.m. for that morning cuppa are another source of irritation. I understand that we can’t wake up without a dose of caffeine but does it have to be before sunrise?

Spending about half an hour at Blue Lagoon in Comino, I couldn’t count the number of times that I heard a lifeguard whistle. The lifeguard was trying to inform canoe and surfboard paddlers that they couldn’t use a paddle inside the swimming zone. One after another these paddlers kept moving around the swimming area to get to their “selected spot” where they chose to spend their idle time. They completely ignored the lifeguard and the fact that their paddles might be dangerous to swimmers in the area.

And what is to be said about boats speeding into bays with speeding limits of five knots? I’m sure they all hate feeling their boats rock with the swell created by other boats, so why would you be the one to create that and annoy everyone who was there before you? Oh and why is it that everyone seems to have to anchor their boat in the same square meter? Isn’t the sea big enough for all of us? Do we really need to pile on top of each other, risking terrible incidents?

Divers exploring the sea outside the designated swimming boats, please use a float to alert people of your presence. Most of you do, I know that, but there are still the few who think that it’s okay to dive around boats without one. God forbid a boat strikes you in the water… I don’t want to read a horrid story in the local press of one of you losing a life in a tragic accident.

The one thing that gets to me most however, is the litter! I cannot stand the thought of us directly infecting our seas and killing the creatures that inhabit it. I can say ‘guilty’ as charged, if someone excuses me of being part of the problem because of the boat engines and fuels. Yes I do feel guilty about that, but at least we try to limit that to our traveling between one island and the other. I cannot stand the idea of people throwing their rubbish, especially plastic into our seas though. If not for the creatures that should dominate the waters, could we selfishly think of ourselves again? Do you want to be swimming in your own or other people’s rubbish?

Photo by Rachelle Cutajar. Borrowed this photo from a sister because she and her family decided to pick up some plastic waste on their day out at sea. That’s all the waste they collected in literally just a couple of hours.

I know this sounds like a bit of a rant, and perhaps it is, but I sincerely hope that this post serves as a reminder for a little more prudence when we visit our bays or when we’re out at sea. A little TLC from any given individual would make such a difference for our environment and for all of us to be free to enjoy our supposedly fun, relaxing days by the sea a little more.

All that I mentioned above were encounters I had in one weekend at sea. The final day at Comino was meant to be the most peaceful one as it was a normal work day, so not a lot of boats and people were meant to be around… or so I thought. I suddenly started hearing monster engines and smelling a terrible smell of exhaust. I looked out and saw this massive barge, turning and docking into the bay. This maneuver took at least half an hour, and throughout, you could see the exhaust being released into the water. As if that wasn’t enough, the barge kept it’s engines roaring even when it was docked, to make sure it didn’t move when heavy machinery was driving off it. The barge was carrying trucks and machinery that are being used for the rebuilding of the Comino hotel. Again I understand that works need to be done, but polluting this magical island and its surrounding seas, the one uninhabited place we’re meant to have just feels so wrong. I couldn’t help but cry and apologise to the creatures that live on the island and to Mother Earth.

* Rant over

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