Tropical cyclone trash collector

Last year my partner and I spent a month in South America, which culminated with a few days at the beautiful Atlantica Jungle Lodge on Ilha Grande, Angra dos Reis. Upon arrival we were informed that a tropical cyclone had passed by just 2 days before, so there was still a little tidying up to do over the island, not that we could tell – it looked like paradise to us!

Ilha Grande beach
The beautiful bay outside our jungle lodge on Ilha Grande, Brazil – how a beach should look

We were advised to take a short stroll over the hill to the famous Lopes Mendes beach – “the most beautiful beach in all of Brazil” (said with an exotic Portuguese accent). However, when we got there we were perhaps a tiny bit disappointed. I guess we’re spoiled here in Australia as this beach looked like any one of a hundred beaches we’d been to back home.

They did have some nice facilities set back off the beach and, wonderfully, vendors selling ice cold cans of beer. You’d never get away with that back home in Oz, the land of over protective laws and people taking no personal responsibility. And we did have to remind ourselves that the place also looked a little rough because of all the drift wood and rubbish that had been washed up from the massive storm just a few days before.

While the missus was sunbaking, I was getting fried to a crisp so went looking for something to do in the shade. As we had walked down the beach I had noticed all sorts of stuff – useful, though somewhat waterlogged stuff. Along with plenty of junk – piles and piles of it that really detracted from that was otherwise a really beautiful place.

So I set to work, gathering bits and pieces, with no real aim in mind – just that I was going to make something. Anything to keep me out of the baking sun. I gathered old rope, shoes, a busted lawn chair, a flat volley ball, a crate, some lengths of bamboo, planks of wood – all sorts of things I thought I could possibly make something out of.

The first logical choice was our very own Wilson…

Wilson 2
Why should Tom Hanks be the only one with an inanimate friend?

With all that trash lying around I did feel a little disheartened that the locals weren’t doing a little more to restore the reputation of that beach, and a little saddened by the amount of crap us humans discard into the ocean.
I figured I could do my small part and tidy up a little, as well as trying to set a good example for others. So I set to work and fairly quickly was able to assemble what you see below.

Behold! The trash-barrow!

A slightly ugly, slightly dangerous (check that hook on the front), yet perfectly functional barrow made out of junk

It even had a removable squeegee thingy that was really good for scraping away seaweedy bits and making a nice clean spot to lay our towels on.

Whilst I did receive a few odd looks from passers-by, there were some really encouraging responses with folks asking what I was making and some even taking pictures of my cobbled together creation.

Though a little wonky, the thing was sturdy enough to carry a massive load of plastic bottles and other assorted trash about a kilometer down the beach from our cosy spot all the way back to the main path, where I left it with some local vendors to deal with the trash in a responsible manner.

If you’re stuck in a zombie apocalypse or on Survivor, you’d want me on your team.

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