Photo credit: Demi Bucklow
St James Tidal Pool with The Beach Co-op and Waves for Change
“Meet the locals. These are some of the many animals we share this pool with” is the message found on a wall alongside the popular St James tidal pool within a captivating mural depicting some of the unique creatures – from octopi to sea slugs – found in the pool. The mural and message aim to generate an appreciation of ocean life within visitors to the pool.
The idea originated with Lisa Beasley and Aaniyah Omardien of The Beach Co-op who have been working with the City of Cape to help find and implement greener cleaning methods for the pools. These pools, which are naturally fed by the ocean tides, provide a sheltered environment for a rich diversity of marine life, many of which often go unnoticed or are too difficult to spot in the open ocean. Lisa and Aaniyah were inspired by the stunning ocean life they saw during the winter months in 2017 when they started the cleaning project for the St James, Dalebrook, Kalk bay and Wooley’s pools in False Bay. A high pressure hose, which was acquired through a crowdfunding initiative, is now being used to clean the walls of seaweed and algae as opposed to the chlorine and copper sulphate that was used previously. Hopefully these methods will also be tested and implemented for pools on the Atlantic coastline soon.
“We met many curious kids and adults on the beach during this project that knew little about the various creatures that washed up on the beach or those that they saw in the pools,” explains Lisa. The interest sparked from these encounters as well as the beautiful photographs that Lisa captures of the life in the pool is what influenced and led Aaniyah to secure funds from Lush South Africa for the artistic creations. “We wanted to share what we were seeing in the pools with everyone, and we knew this could be captured by artist Claire Homewood, using Lisa’s beautiful photographs as a reference. Securing funding was a crucial step in being able to achieve this dream”, says Aaniyah who is the founder and director of The Beach Co-op.
The Beach Co-op is a non-profit organisation that is inspired by a deep love for the marine environment and the need and desire to help protect it. The organisation arranges various volunteer beach cleanups that use citizen science methods to collect data to help protect ocean life. The Beach Co-op will now start working with Waves for Change to help introduce their ocean-loving kids to snorkeling, and to the life in St James tidal pool. “This is a passion project for us that will deepen the kids’ connection to this spectacular marine environment and reinforce the need to protect what they love,” says Aaniyah.