Sunday, November 17, 2013

Caring for the Coast

On my Sunday off, I paddled on Tomales Bay, as I often do.

I usually paddle alone for the solitude and the company of wild animals. I find it renewing. (Unlike kindergarten kids, wild animals prefer you don't want to know what they're up to.)

As I paddled along the western shore a mature harbor seal surfaced within 20 feet of my boat, but he somehow did not see me. He swam very near me on the surface—I froze—for what seemed like a minute, but was probably only a quarter of a minute. He slowly drifted away from my kayak. Something alerted him to my presence and as soon as he realized I was so close to him, he startled, dove, and swam quickly away.

I stopped on Indian Beach for lunch. It's about 4 miles northwest of where I launched 50 minutes earlier.

I had the beach to myself. Just me and my kayak.

I paddled close to the eastern shore on the way back to Alan Sieroty Beach. Along the way I saw a man—Richard James—with a large pile of oyster bags piled high on his kayak. I wondered what he was up to.

It turns out Richard is a true steward of the environment—he is, in fact, the self-appointed coastodian of Tomales Bay. Richard is currently picking up after oyster farming operations in Tomales Bay. I have done work like this myself, though more informally, and on a much smaller scale. (Last weekend I came into kindergarten with a weathered but perfectly serviceable basketball plucked from the lower reaches of the Russian River.)

Richard left the litter he picked up at the Tomales Bay Oyster Farm for them to dispose of it.

Photo copyright 2013 by Richard James
Here is another photo he took of all the plastic bottles he picked up in a single year on a beach at Point Reyes. He (and I) would like to see everyone stop buying beverages in plastic bottles.

Photo copyright 2013 by Richard James, Coastodian

I was glad to make Richard's acquaintance.

Here's a link to his website, The Coastodian. Go see it.


Darris B. Nelson said...

Thanks so much for picking up trash . . . Richard is indeed a tireless activist (in the strongest sense of the word) for the ocean.

beachmama said...

Thanks so much for picking up beach trash!

Richard James is indeed an ocean activist in the purest sense of the word . . . he is a jewel . . .