Whilst our newsletter is getting typed into the computer, the Tangaroa Blue crew is still unpacking the cars and hosing down the red dust from every square centimetre of our gear after returning back from our last multi-day clean-up in Cape York.
For the 5th year in a row, we headed up the Cape, the area worst affected by marine debris in Australia, to collect what we could from these remote beaches. This year we tackled five different sites: Cape Bedford, Chilli Beach and Captain Billy's Landing on the east coast, Mapoon on the west coast of the peninsula and for the first time the very tip of Australia, the iconic five-beaches loop in Somerset. Over 200 volunteers and partners pulled more than 18 tons of rubbish off the coastline during the last four months.
This equals hundreds of thousands pieces of mostly plastics being picked up, sorted, counted and whenever possible recycled that otherwise would still sit in the environment. Some of these plastics had been in the environment for so long that they literally disintergrate in your hands when you try and pick them up. The helping hands from the Somerset clean-up encountered this problem all too often, making it much harder to remove those countless fragments of plastic.
During the dry season we also located and reported five of the infamous silver canisters, filled with aluminium phosphide, they can be fatal when inhaled or ingested. We thank the local QLD Fire Brigade officers who sometimes had to walk kilometres to safely retrieve and dispose of the canisters.
Five clean-ups also equal almost 50 days of bush-camping and countless kilometres on dusty roads, but also stand for some amazing wildlife encounters and fantastic support from local rangers and community groups to make these events possible.
Very literally we can now proudly announce that Tangaroa Blue has made it to the top of Australia.
The Cape York clean-ups were funded by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, the Australian Government's Reef Trust, Parley for the Oceans, and the Queensland Government's Everyone's Environment Grant. We thank everyone that helped out this year, and we can't wait to start planning our 2016 Cape York adventures!