When I was naive to the problem, we used to camp on a deserted part of South Island and scavenge for washed up toys and beautifully painted driftwood from the Asian countries. We had a lot of fun searching for toy soldiers, cars and animals. We’d often give ourselves a challenge, like… find a car with all four wheels, or find a yellow hippopotamus and an one-armed superhero.
Making art out of the flotsam and jetsam (a modern artists’ name for rubbish) is a popular past time on the Islands.
As I became aware of the issues arising from plastic washing into our oceans I could see it everywhere.
Down on my local kite beach there was a time when we had thousands of bags wash up everyday at high tide. There were thongs, water bottles, lighters, toothbrushes and toys, chip packets, glad wrap and bread bags. Most of it was from Asia, but as I looked closer at the things we had in our shops and in our homes, we were using exactly the same things.
In 2014, my Dad, partner and some family friends set out on a mission to circumnavigate the whole of the Cocos atoll. The atoll walk took us 8 hours door to door. Its was hard going as it was the only day without wind and we only had 6 hours of water with us. The coral was hard to walk on and the mud sticky on the inside shallows. Overall, we loved the challenge and it is always so amazing exploring a part of the world that is so far from anywhere knowing you are the only ones about.
As we ventured out around the ocean beach side the shoreline was a beautiful combination of brown sticks, green shrubs, white coral and blue… rubbish!
Blue – not a natural colour for a shoreline but as things breakdown so does their colour pigments and blue is the last to fade.
I love the Cocos and that’s why this is where my love story begins.