2021 Cape York Trips Done and (Very) Dusted!

The final Cape York clean-up of the year is done and dusted, and what a massive one it was! In mid October, 20 Tangaroa Blue volunteers and staff headed up to the tip of Australia to clean-up the 5 Beaches Loop track with the Apudthama Rangers. 

By the first day it was apparent that the clean-up was going to be a loooooong slog, with piles of pumice, 38+ degree heat and lots of small pieces of plastics rather than the usual large items we find at this site. It was promising to hear that a number of visitors had passed through and taken it upon themselves to clean up what they could ahead of us.

Day 1: Small pieces of marine debris is buried amongst deep piles of pumice… this is going to take a while!

Traditional Owner Christo, a Gudang man, performed a Welcome to Country and shared his knowledge of the region alongside Uncle Raymond and Uncle Robert, who were there from day one until the very end. Despite the heat, the crew got to work, with the help of some cold watermelon, ice cold water and cool face towels given out at lunch to boost the morale! 

Icy cold towels at lunch for the back of the neck – yes please!

During the week, over 25 locals and travellers came to lend a helping hand, bringing the total volunteer count up to 50 people! The kids provided boosts of energy that were very much needed out there in the sun.

Volunteers line up on the beach to help us out

The team were also paid a visit by Dale, Evan and Reon from Biosecurity, who are currently working with the Apudthama Rangers on the Ghost Net project, and were keen to see whether they could put some training into action. Well, they got everything they hoped for and more! Within an hour of being on the beach the crew found and retrieved a ghost net as well as found an exploded Silver Canister containing Aluminium Phosphide pellets, which was safely reported and removed by the fire department.

The first ghost net that was retrieved off of Beach 3

Team Gayle decided to run a couple of scientific experiments at the data table and on the beach, and determined that there was not a statistically significant difference between the number of right foot thongs vs left foot thongs… By running their own bottle lid collecting transect on the beach, they also came to an estimate of 750 bottle caps for every 100m of beach cleaned!

All in all the crew hauled off just over 2.2 tonnes of marine debris from these 5 Beaches, entering over 70% of the data into the Australian Marine Debris Initiative (AMDI) Database. 

The sorting crew hard at work!

To top it off, the team were rewarded with a pod of dolphins just as they were relaxing at Pajinka, on the northernmost point of the country. And an even bigger miracle… on the way home we had Fruitbat Falls all to ourselves!

Feeling on Top of Australia! Minutes later a pod of dolphins swam by

Check out these beautiful words from Cathy, who jumped aboard this adventure of a lifetime with her husband Jeff;

“It was an epic trip up to Cape York, Mathilde Gordon and Dan took amazing care of us all, they are an amazing team and a credit to Tangaroa Blue. It was so our pleasure to be a part of this amazing clean up. Mathilde said when the dolphins came past us all at the Tip of Australia, it’s like the dolphins were saying thanks! Jeff and I are definitely “changed” since our experiences during the clean up, we so can’t wait for the next one. We are hooked!”

Once again we’d like to say a massive thank you to everyone who made this trip possible, including Northern Peninsula Area Regional Council – NPARC, Apudthama Rangers, Cape York Camping Punsand Bay, 1300Truckhire, The Croc Tent Cape York, Coen Exchange Hotel and Armbrust Fuel Station.

Lucky us – no one else in sight at Fruitbat Falls!

Published by