When we landed at the jetty of Big Sister's Island on Sunday, a group of about 15 anglers were enjoying the view and catchings from the reefs below, where the surf was clear enough to reveal rich outcrops of coral. Large sergeant majors and other damsels played tag while shoals of silvery fish with light flanks of lavender gathered close to the surface. It is rumoured that a nudibranch was spotted all the way from the jetty, but this unsavoury fact has since been denied with the vigour of charitable afterthoughts.
Unfortunately, when we returned to the jetty a few hours later to catch the bouncing bumboat, we discovered that the fishermen had left behind more than just memories. Piles of their irrational exuberance were scattered across the landing, and on the shore below, used
Were the merry makers expecting perhaps an army of foreign workers to descend upon the island after dusk to clean up after them? Or were they hoping that a boatload of aquatic pickers would emerge from the depths to pluck up their non-biodegradable eyesores like the unthanked crew who prowl our scummy reservoirs and choked canals? But I guess we shouldn't blame these folks for their careless disregard for the very environment they took pleasure from. After all, they have been empowered to derive not a mite's sense of ownership over this land they call home, where earnest voices ring hollow and passionate hearts sing sorrow. Enlightened responsibility and communal stewardship are simply put values alien to this island, where we are told not to litter because the act will draw hefty fines and embarrassing spells of corrective work rather than the convoluted truth that whatever we discard ultimately consumes the very earth and sea that feed our hunger and water our souls.