Multiple people had recommended beach Long Island’s Veli Zal as a good camping spot. Upon arrival, I couldn’t understand why. There was no sand, just round rocks that moved around under my feet and were difficult to walk on, let alone push a bike through. Even worse, I didn’t see any shade, either. Vegetation consisted mostly of impenetrable bushes. Really uncomfortable for camping, overall.
After walking up and down the beach feeling glum about my lack of sleeping choices, a local lady told me there was a campsite "20 meters that way”, pointing in the direction I had just been in. Huh? She seemed serious, so I went back to look. Between the bushes there was a tiny little path, very easy to miss. After squeezing through it led to this amazing secret gem of a camping spot with soft ground covered in pine needles. What a treat! I never would’ve found it without her.
Already beginning to be accustomed to the many rats on the island, I hung my food from the trees and left the garbage bag further away as bait. It was better to get holes in my trash than in my tent, and the rats were happy to have something to rummage through.
They were getting really courageous. One day this brash individual kept trying to steal my sandwiches from right in front of me in broad daylight, while I was eating them. It seemed genuinely surprised and upset because I wouldn’t share my food.
September 15th was World Cleanup Day, which has millions of volunteer participants from 150 different countries. I joined in by collecting a few bags of trash in Sali and Telašcica Nature Park on the south side of the island. The plastic right by the seashore was the worst - the sun, waves and salt water tear everything into these tiny shreds which are impossible to pick up. There are hundreds of them in this photo, and thousands when examined even closer.
It really is nothing short of insanity for humans to pollute the oceans in this way. The simple fact that toxic plastic is eaten by fish, and later us, should be enough. Not to mention that plankton produce more than half of the oxygen in our atmosphere! And yet here we are, dumping 10 million metric tons of plastic waste right into these crucial waters. Per year.
To cool down from the sweaty work of cleaning up Mir Bay, I jumped into the water from the pier for a snorkelling break. I had just bought the equipment from Sali the night before, and it was my first time snorkelling in... probably ever. I was instantly hooked. As soon as you dip your head below the water, all the sounds from above the surface die away. In a second you're transported into a place so otherworldly from everything you’re used to. That kind of contrast in experience is surely not available anywhere else.
Sunlight flickered through the waves on seaweed, corals and sea cucumbers. Huge swarms of sardines swam around me, sometimes jumping into the air to escape a predator. Some kind of catfish with white whiskers kept digging around on the bottom, sending silt everywhere. A few curious saddled seabreams followed me everywhere, but were too shy to start a conversation. I spent about an hour floating around on my stomach looking at everything.
I wish I could apologise to the fish for all the shit we throw in their habitat.