Clear the Coast 2019 Summary Report
Clear the Coast 2019
As you might guess from the photo, we faced unusual challenges this year from the weather! A southeast, winter-pattern storm closed in on us just after we arrived in Sea Otter Cove with half the crew on board our sailboat, Viajador. We feared that the balance of the crew, arriving by kayak the next day, would be unable to paddle; but they are a highly skilled and hardy lot and found enough of a break in the weather to round the point separating Sea Otter Cove from San Josef Bay and join us.
Our camp site, really the only beach in the Cove with sufficient depth to hold tents at high tide, is properly situated for summer’s northwest winds and took an awful beating from the storm. Viajador, tied to a mooring buoy in the Cove, lost three mooring lines during the storm--chafed right through by the constant pitching of the boat. Another boat moored nearby clocked the wind at 67 knots at its peak. That's hurrican force; nothing we've ever had to deal with before on these expeditions.
The crew rose to the challenge like the champions they are: during the worst of it, they hiked to Lowrie Bay where they were a bit more sheltered and spent a profitable day digging up fishnets partially buried in the sand. Eric Grantner, who's been with us every year, brought a come-along which he used to finally recover a net we've been wanting to get out of the creek at the head of Sea Otter for years. Collection continued throughout the week, regardless of the weather and we ended up reaching all of the beaches we've cleaned for now six consecutive years.
We began the season earlier than usual, accompanying volunteers from the Maritime Museum of British Columbia to Grant Bay for a chilly March cleanup, obtaining materials for an educational display they mounted in April, titled, “The Great Pacific Garbage Patch”. We spoke at the opening and provided assistance with interpretive materials.
Other hardy volunteers made self-directed trips to Grant Bay and Hecht Beach. And when we arrived at Raft Cove to do a cleanup, we were met by a charming young man who'd already stashed everything int he woods and helped us move it to a cache for the helicopter! Our sincere thanks to all who helped out: you know who you are!
In all, these beaches comprise over 40 linear kilometers of sensitive foreshore habitat and include some of the most popular recreational beaches and anchorages on northern Vancouver Island. Debris was heli-lifted out by West Coast Helicopters on September 3 and trucked to landfill by Dan Carter of Port Hardy. Landfill scales confirm the entry weight was 1.47 tonnes; this did not include 3 bags of debris hand-carried from Grant Bay which we estimated at 300 kilos.
Thanks to our sponsors this year, without whom we could not mount such ambitious expeditions: Boating BC Association, B.C. Parks, Canadian Wildlife Service. Kudos as well to the service providers of the North Island, Dan Carter, West Coast Helicopters and the Quarterdeck Inn for service above and beyond! And as always, thanks to you, our faithful donors, without whom there would have been no hot meals!