Thursday, February 23, 2017

Cleanup day 6

Beach Clean-up; Day 6

Port Davey, Lay Day.

Dawn revealed in stark contrast, the antithesis of the previous evening's perfection. I'll digress 12 hours to the close to yesterday's clean-up, to an afternoon that defies suitable description. Nonetheless, I'll give it a go for all those who couldn't join us, namely Ulla, a veteran of the Clean-up team and regular star performer who had to thumb a ride to Hobart on the Extremity; a local Uber Abalone Boat, to fulfil her duties as bridesmaid at another seaside town in Victoria. That right there is the kind woman everyone needs on their Bridal team.

In a region that is within direct sight of the South West Cape, infamously known for its inclement weather and unruly seas, we witnessed an evening that could only be described as sublime. A balmy Northerly wind fanned a dropping swell and there were few clouds to speak of save the Mares Tails up high & in the distance. Notable because they provide forewarning of strong winds and a change in weather, for those in the know - which wasn't me by the way, I just thought they were pretty clouds! But, if you're like Rory and are accustomed to cloud interpretation, you're ahead of the game.

The extended late summer weather, resulted in a climate so pleasant that none of us wanted to see the day or evening end. Entering Port Davey on the Velocity and enjoying the view from the Fly Bridge, sipping on Moo Brew Pilsners, we witnessed conditions slowly improve on what already seemed to be perfection. Once behind the Breaksea Islands, the wind calmed as did the surface water, to produce a still, glassy and reflective water way. Millpond I believe is the appropriate term. To see the largest, most pristine estuary in Southern Australia in a state of total calm was a sight to behold. It's a memorable experience that further enforces the need for greater protection for areas of significant environmental importance. To see this Australian Wilderness at its penultimate but knowing full well the landscape and local species are endangered from our day to day use of plastics, highlights the need for greater awareness around this global issue.

This week we've collected over 55,000 pieces of trash, with close to 8,000 from yesterday's haul. I suspect that if we ventured out each day to the next accessible beach, we could recreate the same scenario infinitely unless we change our ways. Given this can't occur, it's awesome that you're checking out the blog and offering your support to those that can contribute their time and efforts annually on all our behalf.

For today though, the priority was safety. With the Mares Tail forecast proving accurate, a 20-30 knot Westerly blew up and with rising seas, making the open beaches inaccessible. It gave us the chance to check out the estuary while we docked at Claytons Hut to fill up on fresh rain water. The water, kindly supplied courtesy of Winsome & Clyde Clayton's Rain Water tanks. The Claytons lived here from the 1950's until 2006.

This area has a wonderful local history and the unique aspects of the estuary itself provide habitat for many amazing animals such as Sea Pens, Seastars, Whitley's Skate, Basket Stars and Sea Whips. Realizing that you've contributed on a small scale to help preserve this region for a short period is a rewarding experience and highly recommended.

While the boats tanks filled, we took the opportunity to stretch the legs and tramp up Claytons Hill and to the top of Mt Beatie to absorb in the panoramic views.

The week's debris gathering, squatting, hauling, sorting and counting certainly builds up a healthy appetite so we convened at the Claytons Hut in the afternoon to light a fire and pull out the ships fry pan for a huge cook up, The team rallied and managed to produce a gourmet feast from the food generously supplied by the trips Sponsors. The Worsthaus Steaks and small goods combined with your choice of either an ice-cold Gillespie Ginger Beer or a frosty Moo Brew provided the days second highlight. Special thanks also to Craig Moysten for providing the ice for all four boats, which kept the food and beverages cold for the entire trip. These delights are no small gesture and ate great appreciated by the entire team. The meals and drinks throughout the day are definite something we look forward to and make the trip more enjoyable.
With most of the day past, we're left to harbour in Port Davey for the remainder of the night and recharge for a blustery day tomorrow. The forecast abates somewhat and we'll look to commence the clean up on the Southern beaches around Stevens Beach of Cox bight.
Fingers crossed- we can get into the beach and make up for the lost day of cleaning.

By Matt.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Day 5 blog

Waking to another stunning morning in Mulcahy Bay to a light Northerly breeze and small swell.

Team Velocity departed early, heading for Low Rocky Point.
The remaining teams (Wilsons voyager, Rumours and Breaksea) hit the wide open Mulcahy beach, with huge rolling sand dunes and a beautiful little tannin
stained fresh water rivulet.

Since Low Rocky Point was last cleaned in 2014, the numbers were consistent with todays count. Noticeable less large rubbish however, with similar amounts of small plastics, bait savers and rope.

On face value, Mulcahy Bay seemed pristine but after some searching by the remaining group, a total count reached over 8000 items along a circa 1 kilometre stretch. The usual small plastic candidates were again in the thousands, including a my little pony, a plastic polar bear and a "trolls" Pez candy dispenser.

After a warm sunny afternoon, with high cirrus clouds heralding a strong Northerly wind,
we turned tail and headed for Port Davey and safe anchorage.

The final count for both crews exceeded 11,000 individual items, another reminder of the importance in keeping our beaches and coast line pristine.

Hopefully tomorrow conditions will permit us to hit Stephens beach for a cleanup. Stephens is documented as having the highest wave energy of any beach in Australia, so even though we cleaned it up real good last year, we would expect there to be a fair bit of litter churned up from the sand. We'll see…

Peace out Girl Scouts!

By Mike and co.

More photos from Towterer beach cleanup day 4

2 Messages in bottles at Towterer beach

Day 4

We were greeted with a sunny sky this morning at Towterer beach, and headed to the shore with a few butterflies in our tummies – last time this beach was cleaned it took us two days! A small science team was dispatched to survey the dunes and towering middens, and the rest of us got stuck into the rubbish. The first great find was a message in a bottle, launched from Kergualen Plateau in 2014, and the second was.. another message in a bottle! This one from Kettering by a yacht that had just completed the Sydney to Hobart, also in 2014, but had not won so we threw it back (…JOKE not really). The other rubbish collected included a lot of our favourite SMALL PLASTICS, in particular a very large number of nerdles. Once you start finding them, you can't stop, and we all got on our hands and knees! The total for the day was 1500, significantly less than the 28,000 haul from 2 years ago, however given the recent rain we suspect much of the small plastics were buried just under the surface. Our days work ended with a steam up to Mulchay Bay, where we found a good spot for a dive/snorkel and a few waves which, despite a rolley count, made for four boats of happy punters.


Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Photo of Theo with debris and diagram of Green island main beach features and processes

Day 3

Day 3

The day started with some keen workers going for a morning dip in the 16deg waters of Schooner Cove, due to the unfavourable surfing conditions this was the first wash for many!

We then set sail for Green Island Main beach, a veritable treasure trove of small plastics buried amongst the fragrant rotting kelp the area is well known for. It didn't disappoint and the team gathered over 15000 pieces in 3-4hours of intense pit diving.
Matt also used the time to refine his 3D mapping techniques using drones and GPS in a most impressive display of technological wizardy.
Whilst the count was lower than previous years, we were still disappointed to see that such a huge quantity of plastic had accumulated since last year, but most notably in smaller forms.
The afternoons adventures in plastic continued further around the corner at The Duckhole, a quite pleasant stoney beach underlayed with mountains of rope hairs and more small plastics. Lucky us! Masaaki fabricated some spectacular eyewear in form of two holey limpets, which provided some excellent sun protection from the blazing sunshine. Technical difficulty here of 8/10 due to prolific stinging nettles and jackjumper nests, and at least one Tiger snake was spotted. Final tally for this extraction coming soon!

We then headed to South East Bight to try and escape the neverending roll of the exposed West Coast where we have anchored for the night.

The plan for tomorrow in to head to Towterer, but while writing this we have just been informed that The Mulcahy is more likely due to weather conditions. This may well change a few times before we set off tomorrow and we will end up where the wind blows us, as is the norm on the cleanup. Wherever we go there will be rubbish to collect we can be sure of that !

Dayna, Harbs and Joey

Monday, February 20, 2017

Photos from Monday morning

Rex lands the drone back on the boat after getting some great pictures and video of the boats leaving Port Davey on Monday morning.

Theo checking if some Crays are legal to keep. This one was a bi too small so we let it go.

Now we are cleaning up Green island main beach, there is always a lot of rubbish mixed in with rotting kelp, YUK!