A small volunteer team joined WA Project Coordinator Casey for an additional few days on Cocos (Keeling) Islands at the beginning of her Indian Ocean Territories voyage. The crew were greeted by crystal clear water, white sandy beaches and shallow coral reef systems teeming with life. It was really wonderful to reconnect with the community, to learn about the incredible work the Parks Australia, Cocos Marine Care, the Shire of Cocos (Keeling) Islands and locals are doing to protect the marine environment.
They took a ferry over to Home Island where AUSMAP Program Director Michelle Blewitt delivered some microplastics training and Casey also presented on Project ReCon to the community and potential partners on West Island. We learnt that tuna trackers are a somewhat regular occurrence in the shallow waters and local residents Penny and Emma brought in trackers that we are currently testing to see if they can be a part of the Project ReCon fleet! Local tour operator Pete McCartney also has a tested beacon ready for deployment.
The team were able to join DBCA Principle Research Scientist Dr. Scott Whiting on an afternoon of turtle health checks in the lagoon, which was a highlight of the few days on island. Its always great to connect with the true reason we do the work we do in this space.
There is much work to be done in this incredible part of the world in terms of marine debris removal and monitoring. We hope to be able to provide more support to this amazing part of the world in the future. Thank you to the Cocos community for your support and for showing us around your piece of paradise.