Thursday, February 13, 2014

Tide Lines - A Story of 3 Guys, Surfing, Sailing & Garbage

If you have them, use them more than once.
Just wash and dry them
I've always wanted to attend a film festival showing but never had any luck securing tickets for TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) so I was very excited last night to see the documentary TIDE LINES, one of the Victoria Film Festival's  selections playing at the Vic Theatre.

There's a kind of buzz at this kind of event. It was recommended that we get to the theatre 30 mins before the viewing and take our seats. We were not inundated with commercials, nor were there promos for yet more GCI filled superhero action movies, instead I actually enjoyed watching the trailers for other indie, character driven VFF offerings. Too bad that I can't see them all, maybe next time.

What drew me to this movie was the story of 3 young men; 2 brothers and their friend who decide to sail around the world for 3 years in order to surf remote beaches world-wide. They really couldn't call themselves sailors by any stretch of the imagination but they were dreamers with a mission to show people that they could follow their dreams too.

They met challenges that the sea threw at them, remained friends at the end of it all and took their parents, girlfriends and others for stretches along the way.

But the film is about much more than that.

As surfing dudes they have a love and respect for the ocean and were concerned at the amount of debris that landed on the west coast, windward shore of Vancouver Island all the way across the ocean from the disaster in Japan. They got to wondering how this garbage travelled, where our garbage was landing and if other beaches were affected. And, this is the real story.

They learned how gyres (major ocean systems of rotating currents) can carry debris (mainly plastic) and deposit it on remote foreign shores thousands of miles away from the source. They travelled through, and documented debris they collected from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (from Wiki…also described as the Pacific trash vortex, is a gyre of marine debris particles in the central North Pacific Ocean located roughly between 135°W to 155°W and 35°N and 42°N.[1]This area is said to be the size of Texas but, contrary to popular misconception, is not visible from satellite photography nor to the casual boater or diver in the area as it is composed of often microscopic particles suspended in significantly higher concentrations than average, in the upper water column. Fish eat the stuff and we eat the fish; it becomes part of the food chain.

They took part in a turtle release program on one beach and were told how dangerous plastic bags were to the massive turtles who mistake them for jelly fish (their main source of food) and ingest them to tragic effects.

On a positive note, they saw how communities, finally seeing the damage that has been done to beaches over years of thoughtless discarding of disposable objects are cleaning up their beaches and coming up with creative ways to recycle tons of plastic waste.

The young sailors began talking to schools and communities about their discoveries, collected and documented garbage themselves and led beach clean ups wherever they could - one in a Victoria community not far from where I live.

I wrote in previous posts about my concern about the debris my sister Candy and I were finding along the shores of Lake Ontario in Burlington and in my neighbourhood parks and of our efforts to clean it up bit by bit…THIS ACT IS NEEDED MORE THAN EVER and in A WALK IN THE PARK .

During the Q & A I found out about SURFRIDER, an organization that states "Our mission is the protection and enjoyment of oceans, waves and beaches through a powerful activist network." And, that there is a south Vancouver Island group that meets once a month, does once monthly cleanups at beaches in the region and one remote beach cleanup weekend a year.

I'm very excited to hear about this group and will definitely check them out in March but til then I'll just comb the beaches and the parks picking up my 3 (or more) items per walk or if a bag comes my way, fill it. If you see me say, "hi" or better still join me anytime.

Great idea for teachers: you can request a screening of Tide Lines and afterwards organize a beach and or park clean up!