Sunday, July 14, 2019

Blending In While Helping Out

Since Bruce and I don't have jobs, (not that we have a whole lot of FREE time!) we have been looking for a way to meet people while helping our new community in some meaningful way.  We lucked onto this awesome group, Para la Naturaleza, who does educational tours and organises work projects and today, we went to our first event!  It was literally in our back yard... OK, well maybe just around the corner!

When we found out that this event was so close, it seemed like a sign!  Since we plan on doing more of this, now that we've got contacts... we went out and bought "camel back" water dispensers, which we think we'll use a LOT around here!  We donned our floppy brimmed sun hats, long sleeve SPF shirts and slathered our legs in sunscreen, then hit the beach with about 20 other do-gooders from around the area.

We all met up at the parking lot of Centro Vocational y Balneario Punta Guillarte, which just happens to also be our favorite little happy hour spot, Puri's Tiki bar... and caravanned down the road to the Balneario Punta Guilarte beach.  Punta Guilarte is actually the point we walk to when we follow our beach to the west.

Everyone else in our group was fluent in Spanish, and the event was advertised as being in Spanish... but our wonderful leader, Wylmarie, speaks very good English, and she was happy to make sure that we got the pertinent points.  It was so good for me to try to figure out what they were saying, and I really think I got the gist of it, if not the full meaning.  Today's learned phrase is "Estoy cansada!" (I'm TIRED)

Balneario, which here means a beach park with public facilities... Balneario Punta Guilarte was once a very nice facility with cabanas and tables where families could come and enjoy the gentle, shallow waters in the bay.  Hurricane Maria damaged all of the buildings, and only some are beginning to be restored.  Families still come here, so there is some trash to be cleaned up!  There's also a good bit of stuff that washes ashore, but I have to say... I was very surprised at how LITTLE trash we found!

Bruce and I walked mostly the grassy areas, while many of the others picked through the seaweed and high tide line.  We had a nice, cool breeze and started picking up trash at about 9am, but that sun got warm pretty fast!

Cloud cover kept it from being TOO hot!
We made our way down the beach from the parking lot to the eastern point, then called it quits.  I think we picked for about an hour and a half, maybe a little longer.  It was good exercise, hauling that ever-heavier bag, bending and reaching and walking... When they called for us to return to the base, I didn't have to be told twice!

We all piled our bags around the weighting station and had some healthy snacks while we waited to hear how much trash we had collected.

We talked about the different types of trash we collected.  Most of it was small pieces, caps off of water bottles and beer bottles, some glass, quite a bit of plastic straws and wrappers, some styrofoam... couple of shoes and pieces of clothing! Some items found were left over from Hurricane Maria - wires and boards...  Then the usual cups, cans and water bottles.  But like I said, we didn't find the beach to be too dirty, so that was encouraging!

Watching the weighting...
The grand total was 149 pounds!  Not too bad for a small group!  I can't tell you how good it feels to be a part of this positive action, and of this community of great folks!  We're learning about our island and meeting people who care about the environment, and giving back to the people who have so warmly welcomed us to their island!

The lovely Wylmarie giving us the grand total!  149 POUNDS!  


  1. So fun! Cansada, not to be confused with “casada”, which means married 🤣
    Glad you’re having a great time in your new home.

    1. Yes, but I guess it's true either way! Maybe next time you visit we can take one of these tours!