The crew departed from the tranquil anchorage of Bond Bay and headed south around South West Cape to the protected Wilson's Bight for a morning of of diving and surfing in calm crystal clear waters. After a quick sweep of the beach the everyone assembled on the beach for some team photos, to celebrate breaking the marine debris collection record with over 112,000 items removed during this year's cleanup. The team then headed for Southport and were treated to a spectacular cruise along the south coast with crystal clear sky's and light winds.
After a record breaking count on day 8 (of nearly 40,000 pieces!!), the cleanup team was delighted to hear the skippers announce that day nine was going to be a leisure day. For the first time in cleanup history, the team did not pick up rubbish on a fair weather day. What a treat in the such a location!
The surfers went surfing, kayakers went kayaking, fish were caught and coastlines explored and enjoyed.
After an early start from the stunning Nye Bay, all bar the surfers, who headed north in search of the perfect wave, headed south, back to the sheltered oasis of Port Davey.
The skippers rafted the boats together and a feast from the mornings catch was prepared. Abalone, lobster and fresh fish all washed down with ice cold beverages; Moo-Brew and Gillespies ginger treats all lovingly donated and chilled perfectly - thanks Craig Moysten for the ice! After much digesting, the team was ferried onto the shores of Bond Bay for an afternoon of exploring the calm beaches and surrounding forests.
Most swam in the unseasonably warm and glassy waters. Some headed off into the forests overlooking the beach in search of bird-life, others strolled down the pristine squeaky sands that melt seamlessly into the lush green, sculpted lawns below the Melaleuca canopy.
Truly, an amazing day for everyone involved and a sunset to remember. An evening of fine fresh food including chef Masaaki's crumbed abalone delights and a five boat soirée, got us re-energized for another day of relieving a stunning beach of its unwanted plastic invaders.
Our 8th day on clean up 2018 turned out to be a day of contrasts. The morning surf crew got lucky this time and snuffled a sweet sunrise session with "Go Hard" Gerhard scoring wave of the day on a challenging right hander.
After a quick break the crew reunited on the south shore of the majestic Giblin River and continued south east from yesterday's clean up site along a sharp schist coastline, a big change from the expansive beaches we'd become accustomed to. What started as a cruisy wander along the nocks and crannies of rock pools and kelp filled challels soon turned different when we hit a little creek inlet which made the litter trap at Green Island Main look like a pristine paradise. It was quite the head spin to get lost in the details of picking the ropes, debris and micro plastics from the grains of sand and then looking up to take in the superb vistas of this otherwise seemingly untouched coastline, frame by a blazingly amazing sunny day.
Four hours we spent, some 20 pairs of hands picking plastics and filling bags like we'd not done before this trip, but at last the call was made to get what we could to the boats to start what promised to be an epic count, whilst others carried on along the shore to clear up some of the larger rubbish pieces that otherwise promised to be next years clean up micro plastic nightmare.
With the good ship Diamantina III headed back to Melaleuca to drop a couple of crew off to catch flights back to civilisation, the count took place on Rumours, with the rumours of a record breaking count that had been in the air all day proved true with whole buckets filled with micros contributing to a whopping Day 8 total of 38,400 pieces!
Count done, the surfers jumped at the chance to try their luck on a tantalising right hander, and caught a few, but in the end the session was stolen by a pod of dolphins picking up a sunset set way out the back, doing triple loops and leaps and surfing a wave or two themselves. Wow! What a day, what a trip!
With the promise of good conditions and the wind easing, we took our window of opportunity to head north, steaming off early from Green Island Main. Nye Bay is a favourite for the team with huge coastal dunes and the mouth of the Giblin River making for some stunning scenery.
We found lots of familiar big items – trawl nets, buoys and old fish bins – along with lots of other rubbish, but micro plastics were the favourite of the day, concentrated in small intense patches along the beach.
At lunch, the majority of the crew jumped in dinghies and headed up the Giblin River for a sight-seeing tour. The quick sand at the water’s edge claimed a few crew who were suddenly thigh deep in the slimy sand.
When we returned, we continued to sweep in line formation up the beach, everyone’s heads below hips for optimal micro plastic collection, occasionally distracted by the myriad animal prints that criss-crossed the beach. Slowly, we are picking up the tracks of the locals and trying to identify some of the movements that the wildlife are making.
Sun sun sun and lots of sand – an amazing day in the wild west.
Oh yeah, and 11,965 pieces of trash removed from the area today. Another job well done.
The surfers woke up at 5am but the surf was not up. We converged at the first site, Alfred Bight. This area had a large amount of micro plastic in amongst the rotting stinking kelp, an unfortunate place to spend a few hours. Desolate, wild, rough and you can tell that by what was washed up here the gradient was a high energy wave site, a testament to the wild west coast. Today, it was calm compared to what it could be on a stormy day.
As we travelled to the next site, we slit into two groups. One went by boat and the other scoured the challenging rocky shoreline for marine debris. There was various scattered large plastics and small plastics across the shoreline, including a large tractor tyre. How did it get here, we wondered? There was a substantial amount of glass. We speculated – does life affect organic life? Does it break down to sand? How long does this take?
The next site, Denn’s Gulch, was more rocky and there was plastic up further in the bush area. In exploring this site, we encountered dangerous plants and insects (nettles, jack jumpers and wasps). When there was nothing left to gather, including energy, ginger beers were drunk (shout out to our sponsor Gillespies!) and everyone boated back to count well over 17,000 pieces whilst others took the opportunity to catch the surf.
Day 5 - Monday 5 March Team Clean woke up in the sheltered anchorage of Clayton's Corner. After a slow morning we steamed out of Port Davey and around to Spain Bay, our target for the clean up that day. Aboard the Velocity an alternate plan was cooking, we would head to Norman's Cove, suit up and paddle into the beach to do a clean up. If waves were caught along the way, so much the better.
We felt like pretty hard-core beach cleaners rocking up in our wetties, little did we know that some hard-core cleaning lay ahead! While Norman's Cove was small, it seemed to be a magnet for marine debris and we filled our bags over and over. A few hours in we started to regret our surf-style arrival, the sun was out and we were sorely missing our sunnies, hats and refreshments! Cap'n Dave came to the rescue, dropping supplies into the beach, and these got us over the line. When we cruised back into Spain Bay, the rest of Team Clean were impressed with our haul! They had sweated it out on the sand collecting all the little stuff.
A big clean meant a big count (21,126 pieces of trash off the beach and onto the boat!) but it went in a flash because we knew what Masaaki was working on aboard the Velocity... Three days after it was caught it was finally time to get stuck into the fat, fat bluefin he had caught. The sashimi platter that resulted blew our collective minds! With fresh wasabi to boot. A stellar day on the water in the south west!