January 28th, 2012
Location: Real Coffee, Boracay Island
Today I met an angry ocean.
The waves weren’t particularly high and the water was a crystalline blue, but there was no mistaking that anger.
Unlike its neighbors to the south these waves did not roll predictably and sweep sweetly away. They crested too soon, rose up hard and fast like a horse rearing up on its hind legs and then tumbled to the sand with a thud and crash – smashing the shells to pieces in a tormented cadence. And they were relentless. No time to dive below one wave in time to wait for the next. One after the next, the waves shoved onto the shoreline, each jostling and pushing its way to the front.
The shoreline was a wreck of broken shells, jagged stones, twisted coral, and ravaged kelp. Halves of coconuts littered the sand; torn pieces of fabric and garbage were strewn across the pitted, craggy rocks, and odd bits of flotsam and jetsam from days gone by jutted out from between the palms and plants.
Little white sand crabs wheeled about, skittering across the sand, warning you to stay away. They reminded me of little dogs, ankle biters – they’ll yip and snarl at you but come near and they’ll dart away quick as you please.
This beach was tired. It was tired of the garbage that festooned is shore. Angry at being disturbed, wracked, and ravaged. This beach clearly said: Go away. Leave me be.
Most people seem to listen. The beach was nearly empty save ourselves and a few Japanese tourists. The journey there took us off the main road, up and over hills of unpaved, deeply pitted roads, closed in by a dense jungle. A once stately resort tucked back from the shore was a testimony of failure with its faded peeling paint, overgrown terraces, and sagging patios.
Nobody wanted this beach.
And this beach wanted no one.