Entangled In the Mangroves…

Today I met up with a good friend, and sometimes editor,  to do a test run for the One Ton Landed cleanups near Titusville. In our brilliance we decided the night before to bring out our kayaks and gear to try for a short paddle and sight additional cleanup spots (as well as look for manatees, turtles, and all the rest).  It was a great plan until we were both delayed by early morning snafoo’s and didn’t manage to meet up until noontime.  By then, the wind had picked up to dramatic gusts along the coast sure to toss us about like toy boats.

Still.. we figured we might as well give it a try. Barely twenty minutes into a herculean effort to keep ahead of the wind I found myself drifting towards a large thicket of red mangrove roots.  As the aerial roots swung at my face and neck and my paddle became caught in the overhead bows a single word came to mind.. trouble.  Within a moment parts of my jacket twisted around a few branches and the nose of the kayak wedged under aerial roots grown low enough to act like dock cleats.  I was officially stuck and hopelessly entangled, pinned up against the roots and the branches and contemplating how I was going to get myself out.  Then I remembered I had a partner on hand who would surely come to my rescue.  Right?

Unfortunately as he paddled into view I didn’t hear any sympathetic exclamations like: “Oh goodness, Sarah!  What happened?  Let me help!”

Nope, I heard peals of laughter. Laughter so complete that I watched him wipe away tears from his eyes once he could actually regain his composure.  This from the guy who wasn’t sure he could climb a tree just three months ago!

After a fifteen minutes of wedging, unwrapping, de-trapping, and disembarking from the kayak into the shallow mud, we managed to unentangle the mess without hurting the tree, losing any of the debris I’d picked up and placed in the kayak, or drowning me.  All in all, a successful rescue.  (And I must say, I now have a better perspective on the situation entangled animals face when they get wrapped up in things they can’t escape on their own.)

Our shoreline walk and cleanup went much more smoothly.  While our efforts also were met by strong wind resistance (and much chasing after floating plastic bits and bags) we managed to pick up twenty-three pounds of trash of an innumerable miscellaneous assortment including one drowned Motorola cell phone.

Today’s biggest accomplishment?  Devising a system of sorts for dividing up recyclable debris items from the non-recyclable.  I think for our cleanup events we’ll use buckets for sorting the recyclables and keep to the plan of using biodegradeable plastic bags for the rest.

Interested in learning more about One Ton Landed projects and cleanup events?  You can find our group on Facebook.  Members, however, must be approved before you can join in on the events.  Feel free to send me an email (notes at seanursery dot com) and tell me where you’re located and why you’re interested!

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