7. Day – vacation vs. reality

Today, we sailed for eight hours under the sun. we used the sailing skills we’ve learned throughout the trip to help out around the boat, from opening and closing the sails to tying various knots. when we weren’t helping out, we were resting from our difficult night shift and desperately looking for shadow on the moving boat. 

we arrived to a beautiful bay with a #monastery which a beautiful sea turtle calls home, and though she swam by us, she didn’t swim with us when we jumped out of the boat. other than sea turtle spotting, we also spotted a traditional Greek #wedding at the monastery, and used our binoculars to spy on the wedding customs and fashion. after seeing the bride and groom passionately kiss before entering the church for their wedding ceremony, we were shocked by the sound of three #explosions on the mountainside which reverberated across the whole bay. we ducked down in the boat, thinking maybe this small island was being attacked, but as we watched the smoke coming from the side of the hill nobody on the island seemed to care. while having dinner at the local restaurant, whose windows broke due to the explosions, we were informed that cannon shooting is a part of traditional Greek weddings. hopefully, the local goats are doing okay. 

The beaches of this bay have by far the most plastic #waste we’ve seen on our trip. there was more and more as we ventured further along the beach, and the local fishermen we passed seemed to show the same indifference to the plastic surrounding them as they did to the explosions. At dinner, we had a discussion about what can really be done to solve this issue: does us coming here from abroad and cleaning the beach one day make any difference, knowing that the plastic is arriving with the tides? is there any way to influence the locals to clean up the beaches, and do new #European laws aiming to limit plastic production and waste make any difference on these small islands? does it make any difference to clean up the plastic from the beach if in Greece plastic waste doesn’t get recycled?

We’re not sure, but we didn’t want to just do nothing about it. before we leave tomorrow morning our crew will go again to shore and try to clean up all the plastic we can from the beach. even if it won’t have as large an impact as we’d like it to, it still feels better than doing nothing. maybe the biggest impact you can have anyways isn’t by going somewhere else and intervening, but by changing our actions every day at home. this boat trip has been a great opportunity to reflect on our own habits and learn from each other’s ideas on what we can do to help the issues which we care about. 

P.S. for the next sailing crew: bring bags to collect garbage when you go to shore from the bay of the Symi island monastery.