I have written before about our most local beach, Gelliswick Bay. We spend a lot of time playing down here and even if we don't make it onto the beach we see it at least once a day, driving or walking past.
On Friday, once I'd dropped the kids off at school instead of going straight home Izzy and I popped to the beach. She likes to be busy so I love days where I can give her the time to run around and explore different places.
The swans were swimming gracefully in the water until they saw us and decided to come and say hello! I miss having a camera and being able to take candid photos without the swans noticing me.
In this photo you can spot the Yacht Club to the left, the Fort to the right and can tell how breezy it was from Izzy's windswept hair!
As we walked along the beach the swans got back into the water and swam along with us.
Izzy kept finding "treasure" and showing it to me, shells, pebbles, beach glass, crabs legs and the usual finds.
She threw pebbles into the sea...
... and found a fun stick to play with.
She used it to walk, tap, stir, tickle and fish with!
Then she found this rock which made a perfect little seat for her! Can you tell how pleased she was to find it?
It made a great "thinking chair" for her and she sat there awhile.
Then it was time to get down amongst the pebbles, sand and seaweed and roll around laughing.
After wearing herself out she enjoyed a quiet moment on the perhaps not that comfy bed of pebbles.
We had a lovely time playing on the beach, but just one thing made us sad, there was a lot of litter washed up with the tide. I tooks photos of some of the rubbish I found.
A few days before our recent play on the beach, our friend Makala shown us these photos of a seal swimming in this bay.
When she first showed me the photo on her camera viewer, I thought they were lovely photos of a baby seal pup eating a fish. Once I looked more closely I would see it was actually playing with and eating a plastic bag.
It made me really angry. I have written before about the increase of plastic pollution in our seas and on our beaches. It is estimated that millions of square kilometres of ocean surface are covered in floating plastic waste. You can see how they look like jelly fish and fish to the sealife who then go on to attempt to eat them.
We thought this seal was alright as he eventually resurfaced without the carrier bag. However on the morning of our visit to the beach a dead seal pup was found washed up on the shore which sadly could have been the same one.
As well as getting tangled in plastic or choking on it, once plastic is ingested by the seals or other sea creatures, it cannot be broken down. It remains in the animals gut, prevents food digestion and leads to death. Plastic bags can take 1000 years to break down, so long after the dead animal has rotted away the plastic can go on causing harm to many more wildlife in the future.
While I was teaching,our school worked very hard on a "Say No to Plastic Bags" Campaign and we were pleased when Wales bought in the 5p Plastic Bag Charge and more importantly encouraged everyone to use reuseable shopping bags.
However this is not enough, we need to greatly reduce the amount of plastic we use, change the type of plastic we use (Ecover have made a material developed from sugarcane), recycle plastic appropriately and always take our own rubbish home!
Last month was Beach Watch and Beach Cleans took place all over the UK, however we need to keep our beaches clean all through the year, before it is too late for the next seal/dolphin/whale/porpoise or other wildlife.
Thank you to Makala Doughty for the kind use of her Seal photographs.