Saturday, April 6, 2024

Coxes Bight-South Coast Tour back to Recherche Bay

 The boats awoke to a stunning sunrise and headed east for a day of sightseeing and surfing. The Rumours offloaded their surfers and headed for a circumnavigation of Maatsuyker Island, the Roundtop and Flat-top islands before heading out to Pedra Branca for a spot of fishing. The Nena and Velocity headed east trawling for the first Bluefin of the trip. Albert hooked and landed a nice fat 25 kg specimen just east of the Big Witch. The surfing crew jumped in at South Cape Rivulet for fun few hours of waves while the Celtic Rose jammed their way towards Recherche Bay warming up for the night ahead.

The boats rafted up in the late afternoon sun, prepared all of the lovely seafood collected over the last ten days and sat back and enjoyed the music under a starlit sky from the Wild Roses, the 2024 cleanup band. Over 55,000 items have been collected, counted, itemized and documented and are heading back to civilization where they belong.

A massive thanks to the skippers Darren , Dave,  Adam and Nick along with our fantastic volunteers who braved sea sickness, storms and the chilly autumn mornings to clean the shores of the magnificent TWWHA. Thanks also to many the sponsors and supporters without whom this effort would not be possible. 

Thursday, April 4, 2024

Coxes Bight

 Much of the crew got a good night’s rest at New Harbour, so it was no surprise that 21 of us hit the beach at Cox Bight this morning with renewed enthusiasm. We did a 7km return walk, from our drop-off point to Point Eric and back. 

It wasn’t an easy landing, but we hopped, skipped and slipped over jagged rocks and Neptune’s necklace, and began the long beach stroll west. This was our first chance to hit the South Coast Track, which generally creates different conditions for the clean-up crew – the campsites offered up plenty of big rubbish pieces, such as buoys and big ropes. There were also a few balloons caught in the coastal scrub, seemingly celebrating a 4th birthday, as well as some waders, a long-handed shovel and a broken hiking pole. Inevitably, though, the tide-line still offered up lots of plastic fragments.

Other highlights included a group photo (beautifully framed by team photographer Albert Wyatt), as well as sightings of Bassian thrush, sea eagles, red-capped plovers and a stack of hooded plovers. There was also an abundance of handsome spiders amongst the rubbish piled up at one South Coast Track campsite.

We returned east along the beach to find some pretty challenging surf at our pick-up point. Almost everyone involved got a bit wet, but we also got to witness some impressive dinghy driving skills and the whole crew was returned to designated boats safely, in order to make a rather high-spirited count of the rubbish. Today’s tally was 5273 pieces of rubbish – an impressive result given the amount of large items we lugged along the beach.

It’s now our eighth night on the south-west coast, and hard to imagine the trip’s finishing up soon. There’s still one full day left to enjoy our time out here – and it’s probably a fair bet to say we’ll enjoy it to the fullest.

Spain Bay to Stephens Beach

 The teams mobilised early and headed to Spain Bay in preparation for a visit to one of the most beautiful beaches in the South West.  The 22 volunteers embarked on the 45 minute walk to Stephens Beach, with some spotting the elusive ground parrot amongst the button grass and heath.  Steve was first on the beach and headed off on a quick 6.5 km walk to the far end of Noyhener Beach to check the River mouth boat access. The large 4-7 metre swells meant there would be no boat pickup and everything collected would have to be carried back across to Spain Bay.

The beach with its towering dunes and numerous scattered living places yielded the usual assortment of microplastics, nurdles, bottle tops and ropes along with a large number of small crayfish tags. In 5 hours the team managed to collect 10069 items. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Schooner Cove, Spain Bay and Norman Cove

We woke this morning to a soft grey morning with low cloud and super still air. The forecast was for high winds and rain. A few brave souls headed for Spain Bay for a morning of collecting mostly micro plastics in the beautifully protected beach. The soft clouds and occasional squalls passing allowed us the privilege of listening to the birds and the gentle wash of the waves. 

While we were on the beach, Dave and Harry provided a masterclass in wingfoiling, enthralling us as we looked up from the sand.

While the team were on Spain Bay, the boat team headed for Norman Cove, where the swell was building throughout the day, and it was more exposed to the wind and rain. It was a rough trip for 4 bags of rubbish including a printer cartridge for a total of 601 pieces. Spain Bay yielded 6 bags of rubbish including carpet, a lego wheel and a range of clothes pieces for a total of 7743 pieces. The weather closed in the late afternoon so the boats rafted up for the count and a early night.

Monday, April 1, 2024

Port Davey - Choose your own adventure day

Monday 1st April, well who's the fool? We've just realised it's Aprils Fool's Day and we've missed the opportunity to do some serious pranking!!! Time has a way of slipping away or slowing down out here!

After a fabulous night in Schooner Cove, rafted up to enjoy fine food, drink and company with our resident pumping band Miscellaneous Debris, it was a slow start this morning. The word was out that it was a ‘Choose your own Adventure Day.’ The options were to bush walk, surf with a side of rubbish collection, chill, or take a trip up into Claytons Corner and onto Melaleuca Inlet to pick up a crew member.

The phrase herding cats is used often as the team rally, talk logistics, check weather, liasise with skippers and deckies, check the weather again, gather their gear, pack food, water and essentials and finally get into zodiacs or head off in their respective boats.

Velocity and Nena filled with walkers, surfers and rubbish collectors, dropped the Mount Stokes/Mount Misery walkers at the start of the track. An intrepid bunch of experienced guides and keen trampers thoroughly enjoyed the steep ascent to Misery. The views were spectacular, each heart thumping step on the exposed track more than worth the effort.  

The V and Nena journeyed onto Toogelow Beach for a sup, surf and foil. Conditions weren’t all time but the scenery sure was! There was plenty of debris to be collected, so Mel and SP scoured the beach and were joined by the surfers.  Macro debris and some micro pieces soon filled the bags and were ferried out to the zodiacs by the wet suited surf crew. A few of the skippers took off in their zodiac to collect debris they’d spotted at Wallaby Beach and came back with a big haul of industrial sized ropes.

Rumours took a trip inland and the Celtic Rose stayed at anchor. The arvo was spent brilliantly with marine debris weaving, spoon carving, crib and game playing, reading and zoning out at the incredible scenery or listening to the tales, tall and true, of fellow team clean members.

The weather forecast looks like rain is on its way so there’s talk of another quiet day tomorrow before we can get back onto the ocean beaches and remove the ever rolling in debris.


Sunday, March 31, 2024

Green Island Main south to Duckhole

After a gentle night of rolling on the waves and through our dreams we woke to some light clouds that burnt away as the sun rose over the beautiful south west.

The boats all convened at Green Island main to revisit the kelp and seaweed patch that has previously been the site of much slimy rope and plastics both macro and micro. Green Island didn't turn up any strange or unique items but of course small pieces of rope and plastic were picked up in the 100's and 1000s.

The final number collected was 4,291 which is less than other years but could be down to the fact that this beach has been regularly cleaned each year for some time. 

We then continued south around the rocks to Duck Hole. This was a beautiful walk and scramble along the edge of the island collecting all we could find along the way. The final count for this part of the coastline  was 2,186.  In 2018 we collected 38,100 from the same stretch of coastline.

Saturday, March 30, 2024

Nye Bay then Mulcahy Bay

The west coast offered up a cooler, misty morning. It was not only atmospheric, it also made ideal conditions for a big day of scouring the beach for rubbish.

22 hardy souls were out beneath the bay’s big dunes with eyes peeled for rubbish of all kinds. There were big items – a blue plastic barrel that needed wheeling out – but much of the time was spent on hands and knees, sifting through sand that yielded much micro-plastic.

Some of the party added their footprints to those of Tassie devils, collecting debris to the far end of the beach and back. The whole team gladly returned to boats for a late lunch and then all boats travelled to Mulcahy Bay in beautiful afternoon light, scattering albatross and cormorants as we headed south.

Most of the clean-up crew devoted the arvo to creative activities: driftwood carving, basket-weaving, a music jam. Even with all that going on, some more rubbish was picked up from the south side of Alec Rivulet, and although a few unfortunate souls slipped into the drink, it’s been another successful and enjoyable day of the 2024 clean-up.

Daily Rubbish Total 8059