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.

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