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More on Beach Combing

A few weeks ago I touched on some popular items that we intentionally went out to look for on our beach combing walks along the beach. Items collected ranged from glass bottles to Styrofoam buoys, glass buoys, rope, sandals, crates, light bulbs, etc. Now there were other items you did not look for, but found them. Here are a few:

*Light bulbs – were picked up and shaken. If there was a rattling noise inside, it was broken. If no noise, it was taken home to be tried. About one out of twenty possibly worked. (This was in the 1970’s, not earlier.)
*Plastic cigarette lighters – one always played with the flint stone.
*Pen taps – picked up, examined and flung back into the sea.
*Doll heads – a pleasant find. Dads took them home for the kids.
*Gloves – were tried and if not too badly worn out, they were kept and used for holding lobsters. Also used when chopping brush with machete to protect the hands.
*Asthma inhalers – were picked up and pressed just for the fun of the hissing sound.
*Construction workers’ helmets – definitely these were taken home. The kids loved these.
*Footballs – punctured and were always kicked with disgust.
*Syringe – picked up, examined and then thrown away. (AIDS was not known back then).
*Truck Tires – jumped over.
*Plastic hangers – kicked away.
*Rubber foot mats – if not too dilapidated, they were taken home for the front door.
*Small gas cylinders – flung against a coconut tree just to hear the clatter.
*Tea strainer – if in good condition, it was taken home.
*Toy soldiers, plastic toy animals and apaches – taken home if they did not have too much tar.
*Bamboo – collected with delight for building lobster traps.
*Belts – used to fasten clumps of bamboo.
*Lumber – collected to build fences, garages, fowl coups, pig sties, pigeon houses, etc.
*Entangled fish lines with hooks – always disentangled. Kids loved them.

Island debris was not debris or trash 25 years ago. We made special beach combing journeys- men, women and children, and one man’s waste became another man’s treasure. Can’t we convert seaweed into a useful fertilizer? I understand today some folks beach comb for parcels of cocaine and marijuana. That was unheard of 25 years ago. Beach combing was for fun and not for dirty business.

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