Vancouver shoreline cleanup volunteers got an amusing surprise on Saturday, when they found a message in a bottle while collecting litter on Iona Beach.
The message, found around the northwest part of the beach near Vancouver International Airport, appears to be a desperate cry for help – and cheese.
“HELP! Running short of supplies. Drifting off Bowen Island. Send wine, cheese and crackers. S/V ‘Summer wine’ Qualicom Bay/Bowser B.C. – Jim Narwin,” the note reads.
Judy Hsu, communications advisor with Ocean Wise, told Daily Hive volunteers were initially a bit concerned that someone was in need of help.
“After reading the message, we all had a laugh about the note,” said Hsu. “It also served as a reminder for us to reinforce the message of not tossing bottles, especially plastic bottles, into our waterways.”
215 kg of litter removed
In total, they removed more than 215 kg of litter from Iona Beach Regional Park, including a tire, a flattened empty fire distinguisher, and a large piece of styrofoam.
Hsu said it’s not that common for volunteers to find a message in a bottle on their cleanups, but like any litter, it can have a big impact on marine life.
“Many people release messages in bottles into the ocean as part of a celebratory event like weddings, or as time capsules,” Hsu said.
“This is especially devastating if it was sent in plastic bottles, as plastic takes at least 450 years to degrade and as they breakdown into smaller pieces, they can be ingested by aquatic wildlife.”
How to join a shoreline cleanup
The Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup is a project of the Vancouver Aquarium and WWF-Canada, and is Canada’s largest community, volunteer conservation cleanup program.
Anyone can take part by leading a new cleanup on their local beach, or joining an existing shoreline cleanup already planned.
To find upcoming shoreline cleanups near you, volunteer to take part, or find more info, visit ShorelineCleanup.ca.
In a release, Rachel Schoeler, program manager, said helping with shoreline cleanups is a great way to connect with nature and your community.
“The passion we witness in volunteers who join us each year on International Coastal Cleanup Day, and every other day of the year, is truly inspiring,” said Schoeler.
“We hope this passion will encourage even more Canadians to join us on the shorelines, wherever land connects to water.”