Tuesday, March 23, 2021
Monday, March 22, 2021
The teams awoke to crystal clear skies in the northern part of Recherche Bay close to where the French D'Entrecasteaux expedition that had named many of the areas features in had anchored over 200 years before. We readied ourselves to reintegrate back in to society after an unforgettable 10 days in perhaps the most picturesque and user friendly wilderness zone on the planet. We journeyed back to Southport to clean up the boats, talk to the media and repatriate the marine debris with the land.
This trip we have managed to collect and document 95511 individual items, the second most items collected in the clean-ups 21 year history. A massive thanks to the boat skippers Bucky, Jesse, Harry and Dave for guiding us safely through the wild west coast, and also to the 15 Volunteers who worked tirelessly cleaning the beaches and counting the days spoils. To our many sponsors and donors, thanks so much for the ongoing support.
We will populate the blog with high resolution photos in the coming days.
The team woke refreshed after a early night at the aptly named Beercan Bay. Masaaki motivated the troupes with some stunning crayfish muffins for breakfast. This beautiful sheltered harbour is bounded by very steep lush green peaks and the white sand beach is cut by the rich red tannin stained water flowing out of a wide creek. The beach was the cleanest we had seen in years and we retrieved a measly 706 items, the majority of which was beer cans and small pieces of can. Many thanks to the bushwalkers who had gathered most of this rubbish and bagged it up next to the campsite.
The highlight of the trip for many other than last nights spectacular aurora was the discovery of a perfect paper Nautilus Shell by the youngest member of the team Gabby. This is the sort of Marine Debris we love to find.
We headed towards home via a scenic coastal route past the white sea cliffs of Cox's Bluff, Prion Beach, Precipitous Bluff and the towering dolerite cliffs of South Cape. The Nena headed for Dover to get their team back in time for work on Monday, while the other three boats met up on Sunset at the Pigsties at Recherche Bay for a last night shindig.
Sunday, March 21, 2021
Today we worked Noyhener beach. The recipient of the highest wave energy of any beach in Australia. Wide and white, backed by impressive hammocky dunes topped with green scrubby toupees. We spread out and scoured the beach. Some concentrated early on a patch of micro plastics gathered above the tanin stained creek that meanders along behind the apex of the beach, keeping the toes of the dunes wet. Others zigzagged across the gently sloping expanse of crusted sand littered with rounded quartzite pebbles, momentarily distracted by pieces of a ship long wrecked, aged by its hand hammered copper nails. Drift wood was plentiful. Some forged ahead to gather the larger items. A huge clump of thick rope at the far end of the beach took some digging to free. As always micro plastics abounded.
As the day's collecting wound up frothers went in for a late arvo surf, others wandered the rock pools or relaxed, taking in the picturesque scene. Some much needed r & r for the hard working team of vollies, a chance to stretch our well worked backs and thighs after days of sand walking, stooping, crouching, dragging and digging. A large Cray, snaffled at the start of the day from a deep rock pool, was sushimied and scoffed in situ.
We rafted up and ate before the count. The team was rewarded shortly after sunset with the fabled Aurora Australis. Many commenting, with broad smiles, that it was the first they'd seen.
7,649, the total count.
P.S. Sorry Lucy, Will won't be home on Sunday
Friday 19 March 2021
Green Island Main and the Duck Hole
By SP & JG
We wake to a very heavy sea mist with the boats split up, anchored between the Towterer and Green Island anchorages. Visibility was less than 50 metres and the boats at Towterer beach were rolling heavily in the 3 metre SW swell.
We were eager to get on land at Green Island Main to make a start on what is always an epic day of rubbish collection. As the mist cleared we made it to shore; heads down and bags filling quickly. After three hours, we moved over to the Duck Hole, taking the 2-km rock scramble by foot. The 'Duckhole' yielded its usual assortment of ropes, bottle-caps and plastic. The old-timers commented rubbish was down until we hit a pit of micro-plastics.
After 7 hours on the beach, with a building SW swell and southerly sea breeze developing, we step into a highly organised sea ballet (dinghy pick-up and boat-transfers) featuring our stellar skippers Dave the Wave, Bucky, Hazza and Jesse. The crew disperse to surfing and coastal adventures on the way back to the safety and comfort of Spain Bay, where Masaaki prepares tuna sashimi plates as the count begins.
Green Is Main: 13,457
The Duck Hole: 10,213
Another day done. We will sleep well tonight!
Friday, March 19, 2021
The day started early with the boats departing Nye Bay before sunrise. After a glassy steam south the team assembled at Towterer Beach.
We were greeted to a playful 2-3ft beach break, stoke levels high, the crowd was soon spread over the beach. Making the most of the early morning; warm calm conditions - very rare in these parts.
We shuttled in to the southern end of Towterer, starting the day with a set of goals to ensure we weren't deterred by the size of the beach and plastics strewn through the dunes and tide lines.
In total we picked up debris for 7 hours but in reality we had 18 people immersed in a 50 metre section of micro plastics. The scale is difficult to describe. 18 people sitting in situ collecting pieces mostly ranging from 2.5mm to 10mm. This is the scale of rubbish that gets overlooked by most rubbish collectors. Once seen and noted, never forgotten! Nurdles were thick and numerous. Veteran marine debris collector Ula commented she'd never seen so many nurdles. If we didn't know what a nurdle was before today, now we do!
An intense section of beach also yielded many larger items, buoys, fish bins, a mass of ropes that took a combined effort to excavate, squid bulbs, fenders, large pieces of fishing nets, and a tangled mass of cargo strapping.
Highest days count for our trip so far with 26,641 found and foraged. Even though it was our highest count so far, sadly there are many more micro plastics that will be there to greet us next time.
It was an early morning start for the clean up convoy, steaming north from Spain Bay in the pre-dawn. The swell had backed off and cruising was considerably more comfortable than the previous day. Plenty of albatross, dolphins and seals followed us up the wild west coast but alas, no tuna.
The surfers had a quick wave on the way up, and the fishers had some success with a couple of Stripey, and for Gabbie, a cod. Jesse got in the water and picked up some abalone and a couple of crays.
The crew landed at Nye Bay and were initially surprised at what appeared to be a relatively clean stretch of sand. But microplastics lurk in the sand blows and mangroves. And under that, plenty of big and nasty junk - buoys, bait savers, nets and bottles. And ROPE. So much rope. It was sad to see the trees that line parts of the Giblin River choked with fragments of nylon rope. The place was looking much better by the time we'd finished, though, and the crew returned to the boats in the late afternoon exhausted but very satisfied with a job well done. At the end of the day, it came to 11,602 pieces of plastic removed from beautiful Nye Bay. Until next time!