Hello everyone, Pat and Theo reporting together today, and what an exciting day it was.
We pulled up the anchor and headed out to Southwest Cape, a rugged finger of land that is basically the bottom left hand point of Tasmania.
Captain Adam sailed the boat really close to the cliffs so we could take photos of all the seals to help Rachel's scientist friends with a habitat survey.
Rex launched his drone and flew it right along the coast getting great photos. I will upload his video when I get back to Hobart.
Captain Adam knew what he was doing but it was still scary when a big wave bore down on, and then passed under us. Especially when you looked up at the jagged cliffs above us.
Then it was time to do some fishing. Tasmanians love trying to catch a big fish called a stripey trumpeter. We were all keen to hook a fish for dinner so we headed out to where the sea floor drops away to an underwater cliff and looked for schools of smaller baitfish on the depth sounder. The trumpeter is a carnivore that eats smaller fish, squid and octopus. If the smaller fish, squid or octopus have swallowed any plastic or pollution then it ends up stuck in the trumpeter's gut.
We found a good spot and we dropped our hooks a looong way down and pretty soon hooked a big trumpeter [the underwater photo is not from the team but Rex flying the drone is straight from the field!]. Anyway that was dinner sorted.
By then the other boats had steamed off to anchor in Spain Bay (see the map). When we joined them they had already made a start.
Before I go any further I should explain why our expedition is here, picking up litter off a wild beach, in the middle of nowhere that does not get visited by many people.
There are several reasons:
1. The litter is brought to the ocean waters off the coast of Tasmania by ocean currents, which are like big conveyor belts of water.
2. The strongest winds blow from the west, which pushes the floating litter up onto the beaches and rocks.
3. Hardly anyone ever visits these beaches, and even if they do they can't pick up much litter, so it stays there, building up over time.
4. Winter storms move the sand around on the beach which buries the litter.
"The Cleanup" expedition comes out here every year and removes as much litter as possible. We also record what different types of litter we find, and how much. We use this information to work out where the litter is coming from which will help our leaders make decisions to hopefully fix the litter problem.
Many Australians think that wild places such as Southwest Tasmania are very special, and should be looked after. It IS a national park, but there are not enough rangers to fix the litter problem so that's why we are here, doing our best to help solve a BIG problem.
We cleaned up Spain Bay beach last year, but the rubbish had come back!
We spread out in a big line and picked up everything we saw that was not natural, even the tiny pellets of plastic that were weathered fragments of larger things.
The weirdest thing we found was a tiny tyre off a toy car.
This report is getting a bit too long, so we will tell you more tomorrow.
After cleaning Spain Bay we sailed around into and anchored in Schooner Cove.
Pat and Theo