Monday, April 12, 2010

Statistics from the Trip

Depending on which way you look at it this years trip was a outstanding success as we collected more rubbish than ever before or a dissapointing result in that people are still polluting this wonderfull planet. The statistics are the result of many hours of beachcombing and then painstaiking counting and tallying. The numbers provide insights into trends and likely sources of rubbish.

Below are two sets of graphs. The first are the 2010 graphs and below them are the 2001-2010 combined survey graphs. Click on the graphs to enlarge

The below graph shows the items collected for the Dirty Dozen between 2001-2010. Note that in 2009 the numbers are generally lower than other years. 2009 was the year we experienced the worst weather of any trip and spent the majority of the survey inside the protected waters of Port Davey. This meant we were unable to survey the west facing beaches that generally 'catch' most of the rubbish.

It is also worth noting that in 2007 we also surveyed 'Beercan Bay' and we see the same if somewhat smaller spike in Aluminium Cans.

More stats to follow in the coming weeks.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Home with a Record Haul

Loading the bags onto Haydens Truck
More Rope than you can poke a stick at
Unloading the large ropes, drums, bouys and larger items.

The large sorted bags ready for removal from the boat.

The good ship Velocity returned to port late yesterday with the full compliment of volunteers after a very rolly trip down Tassies SW coast. We left the Cheiftan G and Miss Carmen at 6 am Friday morning to finish fishing along the south coast before the next patch of weather hits early next week.

With the addition of the rubbish from Ketcham Bay and New Harbour (Beercan Bay) our final tally for the week was 17714 items. This is a new record haul by nearly 3000 items and a testament to the hard work of the team throughout the week.

We were met at the Dover wharf by Hayden Abbott and Dave who loaded the 2 tonnes rubbish onto Haydens truck with the forklift so it could be transported to the Huonville tip/recycling centre.

A big thanks to Patagonia and Pennicott Wilderness Adventures for their financial support and the Wursthaus, Gillespies Ginger Beer and Cascade for the help provisioning the troops, who along with the help from National Parks and Wildcare the cleanup could never have taken place.

I am slowly updating all the blog entries with photos from the days collecting including the daily immunity items which granted a night off from the dreaded rubbish count.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Velocity is at Dover unloading the booty!

Matt and the Crew have stepped off onto the Jetty at Dover and are busy clearing all the debris from the deck. They'll be back in the bright lights of Hobart this evening and no doubt be keen for a little celebration! So give them a call!

Matt will fill you all in on the totals and details of this years trip once he gets back to home base!

Thanks for following the blog, this is Jimmy signing out.

Last remote Blog from the Sou'West

Part of the 599 cans collected at Beercan Bay

Dara removing rope from Ketcham Bay

Southwest cape in fairweather. 2008 Cleanup

Transcript Eight – Guest Bloggers Dara Penfold and Hamish Renwick. Sent 11 am April 9th 2010

“Dara Penfold and Hamish Renwick reporting here this very fine day Thursday the 8th. Woking up to skipper Harry pulling up the anchor and off we went at 7am. We started steaming from the beach in the lea of Low Rocky and four and a half hours later arrived at beautiful Ketchum Bay. It was a rolly trip, beating us back to bed for a morning siesta. Once at Ketchum, we got the day on the road with a strong coffee and off we went to the foreshore. It was a challenging up hill rope climb leading us to the true South West bush walking path to Ketchum Bay. We then ran into a bunch of bushwalkers that soon told us where the rubbish was, and off we went. At Ketchum Bay and new harbor we collected the most aluminum cans with 599 and roughly another 225 pieces, making a total of 824 for the two beaches. The day was ended with a mean Wursthaus lamb Lyonnaise on the BBQ with roasted carrots, potatoes, pumpkins and sweet potatoes. Oh and BBQ mushrooms and capsicum washed down with some Gillespies’s Ginger Beer. On behalf of myself and Hamish, we would like to thank Matt “the Gator” Dell for all his work, the 15 volunteers and also Davey Wyatt, Nic Harris and Dean from the lovely Miss Carmen. It has been an awesome experience, the lovely South West is amazing, and we recommend it to anyone that has the chance to see it by sea to latch on and take the ride!.”

“P.S.: When we weren’t emu bobbing the beaches, life was spent in the ocean or in the galley, underneath the spell of an ipod and creating “all-time-next-level-legit-dance-moves”: “the Sliding Palp”, “the Content Head-flip-bob”, “the Tanglefoot” to name a few. Life was fun!! Back to reality tomorrow though…. Siiick! [much laughter]”

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Catching up on the remote Sat-phone blogs from the coast between Sandblow to Low Rocky Point

Rest before the last haul to the dingy landing spot

Rope walk

A long drag at the end of a long day

Transcript Seven – Guest Blogger Dayna Trevaskis. Sent 1 pm April 8th 2010 detailing the activities of the 7th of April

“This morning’s wake up call came through from Dave at about quarter to six. He called for the crew swap over maneuver. Dara and I hauled ourselves out of bed [on velocity] and grabbed a couple of crumpets for the dinghy trip over to the Chieftain G for a spot of early morning Cray fishing with Captain Davey and Spikey, our mentor crayfish “hauler-upperer” and general “tell-ya-what-to-doer”. The day could almost not have started better with ‘bolt blue sky and albatross wheeling above and around the boat. We rocked the pots for a good couple of hours in our funky blue ad bright yellow wet weather overalls, while the rest of the crew were whisked into the beach and checked the Sandblow out for rubbish. By the time we’d thrown the pots back in and a few [red shelled] beastie boys below deck [in the cray well]. The remainder of the Cleanup fleet had moved north to the next beach [in the lea of Low Rocky] targeted for our surf/cleanup assault. The surf report was fun, but not perfect, which matched the beach rubbish situation. Today’s scrutineering was accompanied by our first touch of “shock horror” RAIN! Once the beach was clean we were all ferried back to the mothership Velocity by Captains Davey and Harry for an epic rubbish sort, followed by a few beers and an on board fry-up for dinner. Life is tough. Over and out”

Marine Debris collected:
The SandBlow = 632 items
Beach in the lea of Low rocky = 1640
Running total for the 2010 cleanup trip = 17 067 items

Hania's Blog revisited - a more complete version

Photo Note: natural underwater treasures - and dinner!

Transcript Five (Repeat of Mondays blog)– Guest Blogger Hania Watt, reporting on what sounds to be an extra ordinary day. Resent via satellite phone at 1 pm 8th of April 2010

“Hi there! Today was another early rise at 5 am to check the craypots. I chose to take the offer to give Dave and the crew of the Chieftain G a hand with hauling the pots this morning and let the two young boys catch up on their beauty sleep. Sunrise revealed another glorious day on the west coast. We all enjoyed a relaxing morning with the team taking part in various leisure activities diving, surfing or fishing. We then shared a hearty baked bean breakfast before hitting Craypot Beach. We walked the length and breath of the beach and scaled the dunes. We found a bulk of the rubbish buried deep in the sand and concentrated up river among the tea tree. A few gnarly adventurers scaled the steep sand slopes to retrieve the rubbish deposited there by the prevailing westerly winds. Hamish took a spectacular tumble down the dunes in front of an attentive audience, including an intrigued sea eagle. We returned to the fleet to reset the pots and sort out our loot. "Miss Carmen” crew and volunteers were treated to a feast of fresh crayfish as a reward from the skipper. We scoffed it like kids after a sports carnival. Some reggae rhythms resonated around the our bay anchorage while the skies had us gazing up at a spectacular Aurora Australis. A delicious second dinner of fresh abs and crays from the days diving. Some live music from a few talented folk provided some enthusiasm for the late night sorting mission. So our work it seems is rewarded again like the precious days by the visions we experienced of nature smiling upon us. Thanks everyone for another happy, successful day."

Notes :
*The loss of information from today’s blog is possibly explained by the “rain” of charged particles in the upper atmosphere which cause the Aurora Australis to occur. It is plausible that these charged particles also interrupt the satellite communication required to send the blog.

In the lea of Low Rocky

Day Seven – We haven’t received the remote blog today - Satellite phone reception is patchy on the wild west coast and with the team cleaning the most northern and western beach that they will visit, we have to assume they have found one of those patches. This isolation will only heightening their sense that they are, truly, a world away…
They would have spent their day at a beach that faces south west, and with the winds today being light from the north east, coupled with a 12 – 14 second sou’west swell, I can only imagine the fun they had during their dawn surf! They may have even squeezed in an afternoon session after a spending the day cleaning one of the remotest beaches in Australia. I can image Matt would have wanted to make the most of the still conditions before the winds began to strengthen and veer further to the northwest in front of the southwest change*, forecast to hit overnight. It is time for the boats to begin the steam back home with the weather at their backs. By now they will have rounded Southwest Cape under the moonlight.
Over the next couple days they will be stopping on the southern coast, possibly cleaning Cox’s Bight and, weather and time permitting, other remote beaches between South West and South East Cape before returning to Dover (and civilization) on Friday.

*Weather Link
Archive of the Low Rocky Point weather station

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Groundhog day...

Leverage was often employed to remove ropes from under rocks and sand
Dune Blowout
Dispose of at sea?

The arvo session

Transcript Six – Guest Blogger Tim Cox, reporting on some tomfoolery, groundhogs and waves…. Sent via satellite phone at 10:15 pm 6th of April 2010

“Woke up at 8 am with the boat rising and falling to a new long period 4 meter swell, I was still wrapped in sleep from the previous nights Cray fisherman Jamboree: Blokes with guitars, laughter, abalone and avocado toast dominated last evenings hi-jinks.
Back to the sounds of the morning; Dara was talking about waves, Dave was talking about waves, Matt was talking about waves. Looking over the rail I see the bay exploding with white water. The conditions looked perfect. We surfed a left that boiled forth and barrelled over kelp covered reef, while Matt and Sam surfed a right-hander 350 meters to the south. We all had a 2 hour session, getting plenty of waves before returning to the good ship Velocity for a muffin and a coffee.”

“For the last five days my life has been like Bill Murray’s in the movie Groundhog day, except that I am trapped in a surfing playground surrounded by the most amazing untouched wilderness I will probably ever see. Untouched apart from the 14 799 pieces of marine debris we have already collected on this trip…”
“Following breakfast we jumped in the Zodiac and hit the beaches for the daily cleanup. Matt kept things rolling like a well oiled machine as usual, employing some carrot and stick techniques to keep things moving. Once the Zodiac dropped the rubbish back to the boats, and returned with treats warm clothes and shoes, antics then ensued. The day ended with a scenic dinghy glide up a river whose edges were bordered by temperate rainforests. A hard day ends…”

Photo Notes:
The top image shows what 14 799 items of marine debris might look like on the deck of Velocity.
The lower image depicts one of the many secret treasures of this wild coast.

Monday, April 5, 2010

A truly spectacular day!!

Mega rope!

Pulling Craypots out of a medium other than water is difficult.

Dara's long drag

The Emu Bob spread out to cover the entire width of the beach.

Skipper Dave Wyatt dragging his improvised sled of debris from one end of the beach to the other.

In search of ropes up behind the dunes.

Transcript Five – Guest Blogger Hania Watt, reporting on what sounds to be an extra ordinary day. Sent via satellite phone at 10 pm 5th of April 2010

“Hi there! Today was another early rise at 5 am to check the craypots. I chose to take the offer to give Dave and the crew of the Chieftain G a hand with hauling the pots this morning and let the two young boys catch up on their beauty sleep. Sunrise revealed another glorious day on the west coast. We all enjoyed a relaxing morning with the team taking part in …[broken and garbled message]*…, surfing or fishing. We then shared a hearty baked bean breakfast before hitting. …..[extended static and broken garbled message]...... as I am sending this blog we have the Aurora Australis** lighting up these south western sky’s, while skippers Dave and Deano have the guitars out and are jamming live west coast fisherman rock!”

Notes :
* A completed blog entry will appear once the team are back in satellite communication. It really is the wilderness out there after all!
** The loss of information from today’s blog is possibly explained by the “rain” of charged particles in the upper atmosphere which cause the Aurora Australis. It is plausible that these charged particle also interrupt the satellite communication required to send the blog.

Spending Easter Sunday between Shipwreck Bay and Paradise

Full Rancid Better Milk Carton
Tricky Beach Departure
The Crew of 2010 relaxing after a full morning's cleaning
Sam hauling back to the Zodiacs

Transcript Four – Guest blogger 13 year old Oscar Wyatt, reporting on the trip between “Shipwreck Beach” and “Paradise Bay”. Sent via satellite phone at 9 pm 4th April 2010 (Easter Sunday)

“Up at 5 am with the very loud sound of the chain coming from the seabed. Got into the cabin and had some Weetbix, then I realised that we had some Easter eggs in the cupboard! Hamish and I had some and then went and got our gear on to help pull the (cray)pots. Fishing was successful this morning getting a fish a pot. After that we went to clean “Shipwreck Beach”. All was good making it through the breakers, and cleaning the beach too, because there wasn’t much rubbish; which is a good sign, in a way. After cleaning the beach and having a look at the wreck, we steamed up to “Paradise Bay” the sun was getting low. The surf was alright, but the only thing that was working was the button reef. It was a bit chunky for me so I stayed back and chilled on the boat. When everybody got back, Harry and I decided to go for a “skurf” with our home-made ghetto tow rope. Back on board everybody was getting ready to sort some rubbish. We ended up collecting 3092 items for the day. Crayfish pizzas for dinner washed down with nice cold Gillespie’s Ginger beer, all to bed early again tonight with the sweet memories of a good day."

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Grand Midden Beach

This beach is usually the dirtiest of the trip it yeilded 3430 items this year
Hamish hauling and checking out the surf
4 ply rope. Great new tie-up ropes for the Velocity and cheiftan G
Rest after a long haul
Rubbish Run.

Transcript Three – North of Port Davey, amongst the middens. Report sent by Matt via satellite phone at 9 pm 3rd April 2010

“We had another big day! The crews of the Miss Carmen and Chieftain G all rose at 4:30 am to lift the craypots, with all hands on deck helping, in 3.5 meter seas and light winds. We then proceeded on to “Grand Midden” beach. After a tricky beach landing on the south end of the beach, we found the beach fouled with considerable amount of large plastic pieces, bottles, buoys, nets and ropes. In all we collected 3430 items. The debris collected today were generally larger items, much different to the plastic bottles and small items collected at Spain Bay. Once again the most numerous items were small pieces of rope followed by plastic pieces, bait strips and caps and lids. After a big day the crew cooled off with a late arvo surf. The waves were chest to head high punchy beach breaks. Coxy scored the wave of the day, air dropping into an inside dredger, to the hoots of all. Vege curry and chilli beans for dinner and another early night. … Hey Jim can you call us back with a swell forecast…?”

Long day at Spain Bay

Transcript Two - Spain Bay has been cleaned. Report sent by Matt via satellite phone at 10 pm 2nd April 2010.

"It turned out the two kayakers decided to help the rest of our team clean Spain Bay, which was a bonus. Together we spent four and a half hours, cleaning the full length of the beach, collecting 3602 items. “Usual suspects”* were found: small rope pieces, plastic pieces, bait box straps and plastic caps and lids. The Miss Carmen and Chieftain G crew finished setting their gear** just as we finished at the eastern end of the beach. We were met at Whaler’s with a dolphin escort off the bow. Early night for all tonight..."

Harry and Sam Beachcombing. Cleanup 2010
Holiday Isle - Not for us! Heaps of rubbish to collect. Cleanup 2010
The First Nights sort. A slow long one for the first timers who have to work out what each item is. Cleanup 2010

* Check the History and Statistics page of this Blog to see the typical breakdown of items found from past SW cleanups
** The owners/skippers of the Velocity, Chieftain G and the Miss Carmen have volunteered their time, expertise, diesel and bunk space to this years SW Cleanup. The personal cost of this undertaking gets increasingly expensive each year and they must mitigate this cost by continuing to fish for Australian Southern Rocklobster when opportunity and the weather allows.

Friday, April 2, 2010

First report from the South West

Transcript of the first remote blog from Matt direct from Spain Bay* via the satellite phone 1030 am 2nd April 2010

“After seeing Velocity steam off from Constitution Dock, I did our fresh food shopping from the Hill Street store, before driving south to meet Jules, Hania and Jacinta at Huonville. Together we did a quick $1000 shop to stock up on dry food supplies and then continued to drive south. We all arrived at the Dover Wharf at 7 o’clock to meet the crews aboard the three boats: the Miss Carmen, the Chieftain G and the Velocity. We had a ‘mega-crew’ catch-up dinner on the Velocity with Wursthaus sausages and burgers, Deano and the crew from the Miss Carmen provided a fresh vege plate. Dinner was washed down with some non-alcoholic Gillespie’s Ginger Beer**. Once fed, we handed out the rest of the Patagonia T-shirts to the crew, and then returned to our allocated boats to prepare for departure. We left the wharf and headed south, with the Chieftain G leading the way, at 10 pm. It was a beautiful evening for steaming with light winds, low seas and a beautiful moonlit sky, averaging 10.3 knots (10.9 knots when the tide was with us). We made it all the way [west] to Spain Bay (inside the heads of Port Davey, within the boundaries of the SW wilderness area) arriving to drop anchor about 6 am. After a short siesta, a solid breakfast and delivering the two sea kayakers (who hitched a ride from Hobart for their Easter break paddling in Port Davey), we were all ferried on to the beach at Spain Bay via the dinghies and are currently cleaning the beach…talk to you again soon”

* Spain Bay is one of the baseline beaches that we have monitored over the last decade.
** Ginger is thought to be a great natural remedy to prevent seasickness. May as well drink it as beer...

Thursday, April 1, 2010

All Aboard! Velocity Steams South, then West....

Velocity, the SW Marine Debris Cleanup's mothership, steamed south from Hobart this afternoon with an excited crew of volunteers. Sam, Dayna and Dara joined Nic, Jo and Hamish on board for the evening cruise down the d'Entrecastreaux Channel. They were all eager to meet the other two boats and crew in Dover before sunset, so that they could enjoy their first night at sea as they make their way past Tasmania's three Southern Capes, rounding Southwest Cape early on Good Friday morning. They'll all be waking up to be greeted by the splendid coast of the South West World Heritage Area.

Some photos for the Mercury and a few words to ABC before departure

Just before leaving Hobart the SW Marine Debris Cleanup team were able to fit in a couple more media engagements. Lookout for the pictures and story in this weekends Mercury (Southern Tasmania's most read newspaper). Matt also provided a lengthy sound bite to the ABC which will air on local and national radio over the Easter break.

The top photos shows Matt talking with Jessica from ABC news. While the following shot features Jo Goldfinch, Nick Harris, Hamish Renwick and Matt posing for the Mercury Photographer in their new 100% organic cotton Patagonia T-shirts. I am sure they are all hoping for some more T-shirt weather as they head west this evening.

Bon Voyage!

The 2010 SW cleanup’s mothership, the Velocity (skippered by Nick “Harry” Harris), leaves Constitution Dock this afternoon at 3 pm.

So if you have a chance, please get down to the wharf to see this years crew depart and wish them fair weather and good times! You may even make it onto the Blog!

Media Interview with Southern Cross News

These last couple of days have been pretty manic. In between provisioning the boat and organising last minute Patagonia kit for all of the volleys on the trip, I have been zipping between media engagements! If you were watching Southern Cross News last night you may have seen Me chatting about this years cleanup. Keep an eye out in the local TV, print and web news sites for more coverage of this years trip in the coming week. And of course keep checking back here for more photos and their daily "tweet-style" updates.