Balandra Beach Cleanup: A Day in Pictures

One month ago, Saturday August 12, I was happy to take part in a beach cleanup at Balandra, a relatively secluded beach on Trinidad’s North Coast. Organized by Mystic Hemp, the trip to and from Balandra provided me with many opportunities to shoot (and learn about) local food-related items and activities along the way. As I had mentioned this event in my earlier Earth Food post, I thought I’d let you all know how it turned out 🙂

To save on emissions a 22-seater bus was chartered to pick participants up at 2 main points. One in the capital (Port of Spain), and one half-way to the beach (Curepe). Even though Port-of-Spain pickup was scheduled for 7:00a.m. I found myself up at 4:30a.m. Not because of any insomnia but because I wanted to check out the Perseids meteor shower 🙂 Did anyone else catch it? 🙂 I never expected so many different colours! 😀

After taking in the majesty of the cosmos it was time to get ready. I reached the pickup point right on time, and as usual our ride was late 😆 🙂 I am a rare breed, a punctual Trini (I blame credit my Jamaican side for this trait :P). Around 7:15 a.m. one of the organizers, Reuben showed up, bearing piping hot doubles.… YUM! 😀

After getting into the bus and getting to know the driver, a friendly outgoing fella called Ronnie, it was on our way to the second pick up point, the KFC at the Curepe/Valsayn junction

An hour later (and several tardy pickups along the way) we stopped at a Royal Castle outlet in Valencia.

Royal Castle is a local fried chicken outlet. One of the things that makes their chicken different to KFC is the use of green seasoning, and their ‘unique’ pepper sauce. Their crinkle fries are also out of this world 😀

Many people got out at this point to use the facilities and to pick up something to eat. Not me though, I had some homemade carrot muffins and chocolate sablés on hand to keep me satisfied! 😀

This signage caught my eye and amused me immensely. Think they have enough bullet points? 😆

After about half an hour we were on our way again. We still had another hour to go before we’d reach Balandra.

At this point we were deep into rural Trinidad. Small family stands sporadically popped up alongside the road plying assorted fruits and vegetables, even bottles of locally harvested honey. Ronnie told me that the honey in particular was a very good buy and I made a note to patronise these stalls when next I am on the North Coast.

Several rivers (some narrower than others) flow into the bay. They were fun and at times precarious to cross (their depths can be surprising, even close to the shore) … yay for waterproof camera cases and a change of clothing! 😯

You can see some of the little streams and creeks in the below montages, along with a strange fruit (or nut) that profusely littered the sands 🙂

The below pic was one of my faves and really summed up, for me, what the day’s meaning was all about 😀

At 3p.m. it was time to make our way back. Tired but fulfilled we piled into the bus ready to make our way back. Along the way Ronnie stopped to buy watermelons from a roadside stand. He sliced it up and gave everyone on board (saving one for himself 😆 )

What a sweetheart he was! He even dropped me back home so that I wouldn’t have to call a ride. Along the way he stopped at a gas station across from one of my favourite roti shops, Dopsons. More on them at a later date 😉

In closing, here is a little video that I threw together of the day 🙂

I hope that this post makes you more appreciative of your environment whereever you are located 🙂 It really was sad (and gross) how much plastic debris we cleared. This is stuff that really needs to be disposed of correctly and I wish that here in Trinidad and Tobago we took our roles as collective custodians more seriously. If you’re going on an outdoor lime is it really that hard to pack a garbage bag? Is it really that hard to leave a spot behind in as good shape as (or better than) you found it?

If you want to learn more about Mystic Hemp and/or future beach cleanups visit them at Mystic Hemp, or join their Facebook group 🙂 I hope to see more faces the next time around 🙂