Art or Pollution?

I think most of us who cruise are hoping to find that perfect unspoiled and secluded spot to drop anchor for the night. It is a reality that with so many of us using the seas either commercially or recreationally, evidence of the presence of humans can be found on even the most remote shorelines.
            While on a recent cruise in Maine waters, we anchored at a privately owned island. The owners of this island generously allow the public to land on, and explore, all but a small section of the island.  We rowed to a lovely sandy beach, tied off the tender, and began to walk the granite shoreline. As we walked, or rock-hopped the evidence of “civilization” lay everywhere; smashed lobster traps, lobster buoys in various stages of disintegration by the scores. Bits of pot warp, and old planks, and bits of fiberglass that may have been a boat at one time, littered the shore. Our discoveries were interesting, but also discouraging. Then, we stumbled upon the edifice shown in the photograph below:

Stone Arch

            My reaction was; “Cool”. However, I am aware that there are those who view such a sculpture as a form of graffiti, environmentally insensitive, and inappropriate to a “wilderness” setting.
            To my mind such spontaneous acts of creativity is the antithesis of the ruined plastic loberstering gear that had washed up on the same shore. To be confronted by the byproduct of an industry that has, due to economic pressures, moved away from biodegradable materials, leaves one kind of impression. The re-arrangement of found materials in a non permanent way to create temporary art seems, to me anyway, to represent the opposite values to an industry that accepts the loss of non-biodegradable material into the sea as an acceptable byproduct of fishing.
            I am not trying to trash the lobster fishery. In many ways, I think the self-regulation and the arguments over sustainability that have been going on for the last quarter century within the lobster fishery are a model that other fisheries could learn a lot from. 
            What I do find annoying are the “leave-no-trace” purists who would categorize the sculpture we discovered as a form of vandalism and who disassemble such ephemeral works of creativity. I would rather see the effort put into developing biodegradable lobster buoys.
            Meanwhile to the unknown sculptor I say; rock on.


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