Healthy Oceans. Healthy Communities.

Clear the Coast 2024:  Cox Island 

July 8, 2024

We’re just back from our first expedition of the season, with a satisfying 28 bags of harmful plastics debris collected (plus dozens of strings of stuff that just doesn’t fit in a bag). Our volunteer team was pumped to try out new base camps on Cox Island, the nearest of the Scott Islands group. 

Cox is a large, heavily forested island completely ringed with treacherous rock, so our crews were dropped by helicopter. We chose the steep, cobble beaches of the southern shore, as they were most likely to afford protection from high tides and northwest winds. Finding level spots for the tents proved challenging; many of us awoke in a downhill jumble on our first morning. 

We divided into two crews of 6-7 people to cover the maximum amount of territory. Our beach was the only one that proved to have a walkable trail over one headland, allowing us access to both east- and west-facing beaches on the Island’s southernmost point. The other crew were camped in the central south coast on a large beach that kept them occupied for the three days we were out there. 

Anticipating the potential for landing a boat in calm weather, we had backup from Jason Rose in his Hurricane 749, an aluminum-hulled shallow-draft vessel that, with Jason at the helm, can get into remarkably treacherous places safely. He picked up our crew once we were done with both walkable beaches, to go on to a third small pocket beach that was heavily impacted. 

While we never saw any of the seabird life that used to abound on Cox, we were visited by raccoon and mink, the descendants of a 1930s attempt to establish a fur-ranching business on the Island. It was interesting to see that the raccoons were coloured chocolate brown, unlike their urban cousins. Also unlike their urban cousins, they took no interest in our food stores! 

The incredibly beautiful bay on which we were camped was also home to sea otters and seals, which were very curious about our activities, but kept their distance. A pod of five orcas did a swim-past and breach. Birds we never saw called from the impenetrable forest behind us from dawn to dark. We all left with the blissful feeling that comes from working hard to restore a wild place for the amazing creatures that live there. 

Our deepest thanks to our volunteers, who are already itching to get back there to the places we didn’t clean!  

If you love the outdoors and are interested in wilderness camping, hiking and stewardship to participate in a large project to remove plastic marine debris from shorelines on Northern Vancouver Island and the Scott Islands we are looking for Field Technicians for full-time seasonal work. Apply by July 18, 2024