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Whitsunday 2012 Clean Up

18th and 19th December 2012

Donations collected from Calendar sales and other various donations
Double Bay Hut, Mainland

For our last trip of the year we decided to continue to our efforts of removing the enormous pile of glass found at the dumping ground behind Double Bay Hut. Our volunteers all knew it was the last trip and were unstoppable, collecting bag after bag of glass in four hours - in fact, there was so much glass that it would not all fit on the barge!! A return trip was therefore made the next day to remove the remaining bags of glass, with a total of 2,328 kilograms being removed!! What a fantastic end to an amazing year for Eco Barge!!!

10 volunteers
2,328 kgs collected

17th December 2012

Caring for our Country
Driftwood Bay, Hamilton Island

Today was our second Caring for our Country monitoring trip with only 10 weeks elapsing between trips to this hotspot location. Our two hot spot beaches were actually relatively clean, however, another beach in the bay that had not been selected as a hotspot was inundated with marine debris. Now affectionately known as 'microplastic beach' we would have needed another 3-4 hours to completely clean this beach. However, the most heartbreaking thing of all was with the incoming tide we were actually able to witness new marine debris being washed up on beach as we were cleaning - further stressing the point that the marine debris that we are finding on the beaches and coastline of the Whitsunday Region is only a sample of the plastic rubbish that is in the world's oceans - a truly scary thought!!

10 volunteers
122 kgs collected

3rd December 2012

Caring for our Country
Saba Bay, Hook Island

It was with great excitment that we undertook our very first monitoring trip for our Caring for our Country project. This hotspot location had only been cleaned 8 weeks ago, so whatever marine debris was found on the two target beaches must have arrived in the last two months. And sadly, both beaches were again quite impacted by marine debris, with 154 kgs of rubbish being collected, which averages out to 2 kgs of marine debris per DAY arriving on these two beaches... highlighting the great need for the Whitsunday Marine Debris Removal Program in the Whitsunday region. After finishing cleaning these beaches, our fantastic volunteers were all keen to keep going, so we headed to two more small beaches and collected another 56 kgs.

10 volunteers
210 kgs collected

29th November 2012

Reef Catchments
New Beach, Mainland

Today we celebrated our 60th marine debris removal trip!! And because it was such an exciting occasion we decided to do things a little different so we targeted a new mainland location - New Beach at Lethbrook near the O'Connell River. Our volunteers and the Eco Barge (on its new customised trailer) were transported to Lethbrook boat ramp, where the adventure really began! New Beach is extremely impacted by marine debris, and 62 bags later our hard-working volunteers had managed to clean about one-third of the beach - we will definitely be returning to this location in the future to finish the job!!

11 volunteers
489 kgs collected

9th November 2012

Caring for our Country
Border Island

The last Caring for our Country hotspot was a location that had never been the target of a marine debris removal trip, so it was with great excitment that we headed to Border Island. A huge amount of boat pieces and other items that were likely to have come from a boat were collected, making us wonder whether a boat had come to grief near Border Island at some point. Once again our volunteers worked tirelessly and we look forward to when we will return to this location in the future.

10 volunteers
361 kgs collected

2nd November 2012

Caring for our Country
Grimston Point, Mainland

Today we focused on a mainland location, with our fourth Caring for our Country trip targeting Grimston Point. The type of marine debris found along the mainland tends to be quite different to what we find at our other locations, with large amounts of boat parts (and even an entire boat!) being removed. We also found a lot of plastic bags and straws - types of marine debris that seem to rarely wash up on the beaches and bays on the islands. Grimston Point contains a large number of beaches and bays, however, we were only able to remove marine debris from two of these beaches, as they were so highly impacted that by lunch time the Eco Barge was already full!

10 volunteers
721 kgs collected

1st November 2012

Caring for our Country
Turtle Bay, Whitsunday Island

Our third Caring for our Country trip saw us targeting many of the small beaches within Turtle Bay, Whitsunday Island, with marine debris being removed from four highly impacted beaches that are open to the south-east winds. It was extremely tough going for our amazing volunteers, especially one of the beaches (affectionately called Back-Break Beach) where layer upon layer of marine debris was found within the driftwood. Lunch was at a beautiful sandy beach further into Turtle Bay, however, while eating it was noticed that even this beach was impacted by marine debris! After giving this beach a quick clean, it was then time to head for home with over 40 bags of marine debris, a fridge and an industrial cable spool (the later which weighed in at an impressive 86kgs!!)

9 volunteers
404 kgs collected

8th October 2012

Caring for our Country
Driftwood Bay, Hamilton Island and Turtle Bay, Whitsunday Island

With moderate northerly winds we were able to do a double-run and head to our second Caring for our Country hotspot location, Driftwood Bay on Hamilton Island. Our volunteers today included some of our amazing Whitsunday residents as well as some motivated backpackers who were happy to give up a day of their holiday to come and help us remove marine debris. We removed 237 kgs of marine debris from two highly impacted beaches in Driftwood Bay. We still had plenty of hours left in the day, so we headed to Turtle Bay and made of start of cleaning an area of mangroves that was inundated with marine debris. Our enthusiastic volunteers removed 205 kgs before we had to call it a day, but we will definitely return soon to finish the job.

12 volunteers
442 kgs collected

7th October 2012

Caring for our Country
Saba Bay, Hook Island

Today was the first of our Caring for our Country trips, with Saba Bay being the first of five hotspot locations to be targeted. The mission of our Caring for our Country trips is to completely clean our hotspot beaches to allow us to determine a baseline of how much marine debris is present at these locations. We had a brilliant bunch of volunteers on-board, including Wantungaa, a children's performer from NSW who is very excited to educate about the issue of marine debris. It was a fantastic day out, and a brilliant start to our Caring for our Country project

11 volunteers
441 kgs collected

30th September 2012

Sponsor: Reef Guardians
Neck Bay, Shaw Island and Maher Island

We could not have asked for a more stunning day as we took volunteers from GBRMPA, Reef Catchments and the Local Marine Advisory Committee out to the southern Whitsunday Islands to remove marine debris. We also could not have asked for a more enthusiastic group of volunteers, with 335 kilograms of marine debris being removed from Neck Bay in under two hours!! Since we still had plenty of hours left in the day, we then headed to Maher Island and proceeded to collect another 204 kilograms in only 20 minutes, with our amazing volunteers only stopping their clean up efforts because the Eco Cat did not have room for any more rubbish!! A HUGE thank you to all of the volunteers and especially to Reef Guardians for making this trip possible.

13 volunteers
539 kgs collected

28th September 2012

Sponsor: Fairholme College
Pandanus Bay, Long Island and Roma Point, South Molle Island

21 students and three teachers joined Eco Barge Clean Seas to remove marine debris from two beaches. The students were fantastic, removing a total of 31 kilograms of debris from Roma Point and 95 kilograms from Pandanus Bay. The students had been to Pandanus Bay the day before and told us the beach was 'clean' and were amazed that once they started looking, there was actually marine debris everywhere! The day was topped off by an educational talk by Jacquie from Eco Crew, allowing everyone to walk away with a much better understanding about our beautiful marine environment. A big thank you to Jacquie and all the students and teachers from Fairholme College. The enthusiasm of the students while helping us remove the marine debris and their questions and interest in learning about ways to prevent rubbish ever entering the environment gave us huge hope in the power of the future generation!!

28 volunteers
126 kgs collected

7th September 2012

Donations collected from Free the Whitsundays from Marine Debris 2012 Calendar and other various donations
Double Bay Hut

It had been a while between trips to Double Bay Hut, so it was time to head back there to continue the hard-work of removing the huge pile of glass bottles and other rubbish that has slowly accumulated over the years. The 'dumping ground' was heartbreaking and our volunteers all quickly got to task of removing layer upon layer of beer bottles and other broken glass. In total 72 bags of glass was removed. Other rubbish was also removed, including a steel can with advertising from the Commonwealth Games in 1982!! Which shows just how long people have been dumping their rubbish at this location. It was an extremely difficult day, and so a huge thank you to all the volunteers that came along and participated in this back-breaking work!!

8 volunteers
1189 kgs collected

25th August 2012

Donations collected from Bingo at Club Crocodile
Double Cone, West Double Cone and Gumbrell Islands

With some more beautiful weather being forecast for the weekend we were able to organise another trip. The first target islands were Double Cone and West Double Cone. These islands have benefited from a few trips in the last 18 months and as such had only minimal marine debris. There is always work to be done though, and both of these islands are now 18 bags, and 58 kgs of debris lighter. Gumbrell was an entirely different story though, and we were able to see the marine debris even as we were approaching the island. Our volunteers all put in a top effort, removing 40 bags of marine debris, as well as a truck trye, a car tyre, a car bumper and fridge door, totalling a huge 243 kgs of debris!

11 volunteers
301 kgs collected

13th August 2012

Sponsor: Reef Catchments
South Molle and North Molle Islands

After some windy weather we were finally able to get back out on the water and we focused our attention on two islands, cleaning four beaches. We had some late cancellations, so our six volunteers really had to work hard to get all four beaches clean – a massive effort so thank you to everyone.
One of our volunteers was Qamar Schulyer, a PhD candidate from the University of Queensland. We have been helping Qamar collect manta trawl samples while on transit to and from our target locations and Qamar came out with us this trip to provide further training, but also helped remove the debris from the beaches and then assisted us in sorting and counting everything we had collected – Come back anytime Qamar!!

This trip was made possible thanks to Reef Catchments who have come on as our first STARFISH Sponsor!

6 volunteers
189 kgs collected

22nd July 2012

Sponsor: Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service
Gloucester Island

Eco Barge teamed up with Wild Mob, Reef Catchments & Queensland Parks & Wildlife Service to help clean up Gloucester Island, together we counted and sorted 19 bags of marine debris that the Wild Mob volunteers collected from Gloucester Island. They also collected 29 bags (equaling 119 kg) of weeds - top work Wild Mob, Reef Catchments and Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service!!

148 kgs collected

16th June 2012

Donations collected from Free the Whitsundays of Marine Debris 2012 Calendar
Rattray, Armit and West Double Cone Islands

We targeted the beaches of three islands in the northern group of the Whitsunday Islands. It was a huge day of collecting and sorting marine debris, with the trip finishing well after dark. A big thank you to all of the volunteers who committed this many hours to cleaning our beaches!

13 volunteers
243 kgs collected

8th June World Oceans Day 2012

Donations collected from Bingo at Club Crocodile
Neck Bay, Shaw Island

To celebrate World Ocean Day on June the 8th Eco Barge Clean Seas Inc. and a band of volunteers went out to collect marine debris. This latest trip was made possible by the donations raised from Bingo at Club Croc held each Friday at 7pm. On board that day was an extra passenger, a green sea turtle named "Wray". The sea turtle was found by a local resident, John Whatmough who brought the turtle into Fauna Rescue Whitsundays to be cared for after he found the turtle caught in an abandoned crab pot near Long Island. “The turtle was extremely lucky he did not drown in that crab pot as he had been caught in it for who knows how long?” said John. The Turtle we named Wray is now happily swimming around the beautiful Whitsunday Islands again, thanks to all the efforts from Fauna Rescue Whitsundays, Libby Edge and Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service. After the successful release of Wray the Eco Barge Volunteers got straight into cleaning up one very impacted beach from marine debris on Shaw Island. The volunteers worked hard and enthusiastically to collect a total of 41 large bags of marine debris. This week more volunteers will count and sort this huge pile of marine debris and enter each and every piece into a National Marine Debris Data Base to help find out where and what types of marine debris enters the Whitsunday Islands.

8 volunteers
278 kgs collected

10th March 2012

Sponsor: Whitsunday Regional Council
Driftwood Bay, Hamilton Island

This clean up focused on four very impacted beaches in Driftwood Bay on Hamilton Island. Once we removed all the marine debris we returned back to base at Edges Boatyard to count and sort all the marine debris into the National Marine Debris Data Base. Thanks to the support from the Whitsunday Regional Council, we removed a total of 44 bags of marine debris, which included over 3,000 bottle tops and lids!

11 volunteers
354 kgs collected

10th February 2012

Sponsor: Charter Yachts Australia
Saba Bay, Hook Island

We cleaned three (and a bit!) beaches in Saba Bay, which is one of the worst impacted areas in the Whitsunday Islands. All our volunteers worked extremely hard and in very hot and calm conditions. Thanks to the support from Charter Yachts Australia we removed 54 bags of marine debris.

8 volunteers
639 kgs collected 

Marine debris removed from the
Whitsunday islands since July 2009
= 174,764 kilograms