High tides and onshore breezes


I’m not sure if the combination of higher tides and onshore winds is a seasonal phenomenon or not. It happens on occasion but I haven’t been able to pin it down to a particular time of year, but this last week’s been a classic example of what happens to the litter when the two come together.

Only a week ago this was the litter boom down by the TAFE, doing its job (i.e. looking bloody awful).


This morning, the same scene on an incoming tide.


The clean-up crew hasn’t been down. The difference is the onshore wind which, coupled with the higher tides, has sent the drink bottles, syringes, lumps of styrofoam and nerf bullets skittering back upstream. (If there is anything seasonal about this photo it might be the discarded Christmas tree bauble, but that’s debatable. Baubles dance to their own tune and turn up at all times of year, as and when it suits them.)


The litter floats upstream on the incoming tide, gets stranded as the tide recedes and then gets blown further along by the wind. The result is weird groupings of stuff that throws itself together in the manner of a Rembrandt still life. Well, kind of.


Of course it’s not just litter that gets blown around. The edges of the banking are thick with leaves that interlock; when the tide arrives they’re gently lifted up and the float around in beautiful swirling rafts.


And the not so beautiful. Here is a deeply philosophical conundrum: Does a green bag need the agency of a consumer to become ‘green’ (even though it is still, evidently, green)? Is it still green when once it’s been discarded? Or sitting in the cupboard under the sink? It’s green – I can see that with my own eyes – and yet …  it is not.


Or, as Jambo might ask, is an Esky still an Esky when it has no sausages in it?


He knows that they’re in there somewhere. If he just sniffs harder they might appear.