Net Missions: Perranporth
PAUL DAVID SMITH: MY FIRST NET COLLECTION WITH WATERHAUL
Recently at Waterhaul we received a tip off about a net that had washed up in Perranporth during storm Arwen via our Instragram channel on a quiet Sunday morning.
I've only been with Waterhaul a few months and during that time whilst I've been on a couple of litter picks and very small net recovery missions, this was my first time flying solo as so to speak. Finding myself at Holywell Bay at the time, just a few minutes drive from Perranporth I decided my partner and I would drive around, pick it up and get on with our day. I mean, how hard could it be right?
As we approached the net on a fairly busy Perranporth beach full of dog walkers, my over confidence in this net mission was soon to be laid bare for all to see. On the surface the net looked small enough, but as soon as we tried to move it, the realisation that more than three quarters of the net was buried in the sand soon dawned on us.
We started to dig the net out, shaking the sand out of it and gradually recovering it inch by inch. It was exhausting work with just 2 of us, those inches we were revealing became feet which soon became metre after metre of net. We soon realised just how big it was and that we were probably ill equipped to deal with it.
As my partner and I were sat on the partially revealed net catching our breath, the first of our many saviours that day arrived in the form of a couple who had been watching us trying to recover it. As we chatted they started helping us to free the net from the sand and with their fresh energy levels, it wasn’t long before we’d freed the remaining net and the scale of it was revealed. We stretched it out over the sand and measured it at 125 feet long!
"As we approached the net on a fairly busy Perranporth beach full of dog walkers, my over confidence in this net mission was soon to be laid bare for all to see."
PAUL DAVID SMITH
Feeling enthused that we'd managed to release this monster net from it's sandy grip, it dawned on us that we were going to have to get it back to the car, parked some half a mile or so back down the beach.
I now understood the beauty of the Waterhaul Recycled Knives, cutting the net into multiple pieces to move it would have been the sensible thing to do... If only we'd bought some with us!
As we started to struggle to drag the net down the beach, a heart-warming moment happened. Because without saying a word, without even asking if we needed help, people on the beach started to come over and help.
By the time we reached our car, we had maybe 8 or so people pulling the net with us. I didn't catch his name but one gentleman told us it had been on his bucket list to do a net recovery mission. You good sir can certainly tick that off your list now! Thank you all for your help.
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With our car loaded up with the help of our new friends, we drove back home to Newquay and reflected on what we had learnt that day.
Net collections are much easier if you are prepared. Gloves to stop your hands getting torn to pieces are a smart idea. A knife to cut huge nets up into smaller, manageable pieces is sensible. Dumpy bags, so your car doesn’t get covered in sand would have been great. The biggest, final lesson of our day however though, was on the drive home. Here we learnt that fishing nets in closed cars really, really, really smell.
We’d intended to leave it in the car overnight and drop it at Waterhaul HQ on Monday morning but with the stench from the net making my eyes water on the drive home, this wasn’t going to happen, it couldn’t stay in the car.
So our final challenge with the help of some neighbours was to unload the net into our back garden. By this point we were tired, hungry and yet left feeling somewhat proud of ourselves for the work we had done that day. It was our first net recovery and that little buzz it gives you, makes it all worthwhile.
Come Monday morning I decided to call in the pro’s and Harry and Gavin made it look like child’s play when they came around to my house, chopped up the net and whisked it off in their car like they’d done it a million times before.
What I like about this net recovery mission is that it became a community effort. From the person who reported it on Instagram to us, to the people helping us pull it out of the sand and drag it down the beach, to our neighbours who helped unload it from the car. Every single person who helped made a difference that day.
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