Amidst the Madding Crowd

Fistral Beach near Newquay in Cornwall is mainly known for one thing: Surfing.

The beach isn’t long, around a half a mile. But it is generally full.

On a recent visit, we watched a constant stream of surfboard-lidded cars arrive at the end of the beachfront road where our friend there lives, turn, and look for a parking spot. Surfers changed into wetsuits on the street. IMG_2776

A surfer website says: “Very consistent, beachbreak peak, that occasionally gets epic.” Indeed.

Even on a calm day of glassy water there are surfers out in the sea, there are beginner’s classes being held on the beach, dozens of people madly paddling and learning to stand on a board, right there on the sand.

On this day, the surf looked pretty decent, at least to this non-surfer. Boards filled the waves, boards filled the beach.

I didn’t take photos of all that.IMG_2777

I was more interested in the water at incoming tide, casting reflections in small pools, or rippling against the sand.


I went on an early Sunday walk, not early enough to beat the crowds of surfers and families and dogs and kids, but early enough that some of the walk was peaceful and meditative.

It’s the sand beneath the feet and between the toes. It’s the flow and retreat of water.IMG_2770

It’s the sun and subtle reflections.

It’s the hint of past human activity merged into the rocks. IMG_2793The rush of waves that drowns out the sound of bullhorned lifeguards calling out warnings and corralling wayward young.

Two small fish swim in a temporary pond of shadows and light, avoiding notice of nearby children with nets and waiting for the tide to return and carry them back out to the big pond.

Calm among frenzy. It was occasionally epic.IMG_2797


Trash Tsunami

This certainly isn’t the case for all beaches and surf areas surrounding Java, but…photographer Zak Noyle was shooting Indonesian surfer Dede Surinaya in a remote, mostly uninhabited bay and this is what they found.

This shot was taken in the formerly pristine waters off of Java, Indonesia. According to several sources, the 17,000 islands of Indonesia have a serious problem with trash disposal. Java, with a population of 135 million people, is the world’s most populated island.

Many areas lack reliable, clean waste disposal systems, so many people burn their trash, including plastic garbage. Whatever doesn’t get burned ends up in the most unlikely places, while strong currents can carry trash far from any town or city where it was generated.

Looks an ideal testing ground for new ideas for waste disposal infrastructure and technologies on limited land mass.


HuffingtonPost article – Photographer Captures Waves of Trash in Indonesia by Gabriela Aoun