28th of July, 2019 – Cape Kimberley Beach near the Daintree River is one of Tangaroa Blue Foundation’s quarterly monitoring sites, on which data is collected and recorded every three months.
This event is supported by ReefClean; a collaborative effort between Tangaroa Blue and our partner organisations, and is funded by the Australian Government’s Reef Trust. ReefClean facilitates the physical removal of marine debris, provides education, empowerment and awareness programs to help clean-up the Great Barrier Reef.
It was still dark as a small group gathered at the pickup spot in Cairns, outside Tobruk Pool. Four early-morning risers Doris, Laura, Makie and Raphael, met with Andy and Jules, clean-up coordinators, to head north for yet another beach clean.
Leaving Cairns in a 12-seater minibus, we welcomed the sunrise along the Cook Highway towards Port Douglas. A brief detour in “Port” saw us fortified with caffeine and breakfast snacks, while we picked up three more volunteers Dylan, James and Janine. Our final destination – Cape Kimberley Beach – near the mouth of the Daintree River, was another hour away.
With the sun truly up when we finally got across on the Daintree River Ferry, we made it to the former Koala Daintree camping ground (closed until further notice). Launching forth, we set up base camp at an access point to Cape Kimberley Beach, where we were joined by four more keen locals, Georgie and Rosey, Brooke and Tom.
The skies were overcast with sunny spells as the main group, led by Andy, trekked south for approximately 3kms.
Beach trolleys were put to good use as the team head south, towards the mouth of the Daintree River.
Compared to last quarter, this July’s cleanup yielded much less, with even the iconic “Thong Tree” being quite bare.
The group remained in high spirits despite the passing rain showers and kept going to the southernmost point of the beach before turning back and gathering all the rubbish they had previously walked past.
Meanwhile, back at base camp, the rain made sorting data a little more challenging for Jules and Rosey. But with the help of Jason, the local caretaker, the small data collection team did their best as more bags and debris were gathered, weighed and sorted.
When the teams rejoined at base camp, lunch was quickly set up, and everyone tucked into the welcome fare. Many thanks to our catering department (Andy) who provided for the team’s dietary requirements – we hope you were all kept happy! If not, please send comments to our complaints department (Andy).
The final haul for this quarter was 157.5 kgs, comprising of an intact car window, some large foam insulation, timber pieces and even a kids’ ride-on toy car! Prevalent as always, are high amounts of hard plastic remnants, which easily topped our tally at 5425 items.
In second place, were plastic lids and bottletops at 1197 items. These were diverted from landfill by local artist Rosey for an upcoming environmental art festival in Port Douglas. We hope today provided some great materials to work with and perhaps even some inspiration!
Third place goes to foam insulation / packaging remnants at 959 items. It’s no surprise that the lightest materials are often borne on ocean currents and can travel quite long distances. Remote beaches often become an accretion or collection point for debris, as such landmarks are usually difficult to monitor or access.
Andy and Jules would like to thank our willing volunteers for getting up so early and putting in a hard day’s work! You guys are absolute CHAMPIONS and we hope to see you in future!!
- Total Weight = 157.5 kg
- Total Volume = 20 clean-up bags x 56 litres = 1120 litres
- Total Distance = 3,000 m
- Total Area = 3,000 m x 10 m wide = 30,000 m2 (or 3 hectares)
- Total Effort = 13 beach cleaners & data collectors approx 6 hours = 78 hours
Written by Jules Lim