Ahoy, me hearties — I've discovered a pirate bar right here on our shores.
It was marked not with an X (it is kind of a treasure) but with tall wooden sticks reaching for the sky.
I spied it as I was walking along the iWay path between Clive and Haumoana and decided I needed to investigate.
At that stage I wasn't sure what I would find but as my feet hit the beach my eyes instantly went down, searching for booty.
My pockets started filling with pretty stones and shells as I approached the wooden structure.
The beach was littered with driftwood and there were a few other structures but nothing matched the pirate bar.
It is very cool and someone, or some people, have gone to a lot of trouble to build it. I think almost everything is scavenged from the beach, apart from the perfectly good plastic chair and a few of the decorations.
It's pretty much BYO grog and the booty belongs to everyone who visits.
Only a bilge rat would plunder the place.
I didn't stay long because shiver me timbers, it was a bit chilly.
I carried on with my walk along the beach and was really pleased to notice there was no rubbish.
There have been a few beach clean-up weekends lately, so I thought perhaps this part of the beach must have been done.
Just as I was thinking that, I saw a green plastic bottle sticking its ugly bottom out of a pile of driftwood.
I picked it up as I passed and then about a dozen steps further along found an orange strip of plastic, then a yellow bit of plastic, part of a plastic bag and then a smaller plastic bottle that had maybe held some sort of medication.
By now my hands were full, so I was hoping I wouldn't find any more before I headed back onto the pathway.
Just before I stepped back onto the path at Ferry Rd I noticed a green bag. Damn it. Oh no — it was a doggy bag, a used one. I walked past, but then I felt guilty. What if that bag ended up in the sea? I answered myself: it's full of poo, do you really want to even touch it?
I turned back for a closer inspection. If the outside of the bag was soiled, I wasn't touching it. Then I noticed an empty margarine container discarded nearby. I gingerly picked up the poo bag and dropped it in. The walk back to the carpark where there were rubbish bins was a fast one.
I did, however, see two more green poo bags discarded in the grass alongside the pathway. I couldn't pick them up because I was fully loaded.
It made me quite mad, though. Why bother picking up the poo if you are going to discard the plastic bag which is even worse for the environment?
Did they pick up the poo because someone was nearby and watching, then throw the bag away later?
I have seen people in town pick up their dog's mess and put it in someone else's wheelie bin as they walked past.
A bit cheeky but rather that than leave it or discard the bag and all.
It's such a shame because this is a beautiful walk with gorgeous vistas and amazing birdlife.
It's also popular with dog owners. I'm sure 99 per cent do the right thing.
The rest — well, they certainly know the meaning of one-use plastic bags.
* Linda Hall is assistant editor of Hawke's Bay Today