Weeks 1-2 ARCHIVE
27th July 2012
New Norfolk to North Hobart, 35km
Beach Clean-ups: 1 (New Norfolk Primary).
Word of the day: vestibule
Question of the day: How would you design a 'What rubbish floats?' experiment?
Animal of the day: Brush tailed possum
Rubbish of the day: Light bulb (complete) and 1 thong (footwear)
The phone rang at 7.10am as expected. I'd woken up earlier and made a hot drink in the tent vestibule and let the flame flicker on low to warm the air slightly. It was Jo Spargo from ABC. Jo had been down to Marion Bay earlier in the week and wanted to know what we'd found by the end of that day and later in the week. After a quick update I volunteered a weather report of no wind, mist down to the river and beautiful. A great day for a clean-up with Mr Cooke's students from New Norfolk Primary.
I arrived at the school just before recess, and just in time to witness a footy card swap meet. Deals were being done with raised, but not angry voices and I learnt that the hologram cards of team champions were the hot item this season. With recess over we gathered to walk down to the Esplanade next to the caravan park where I slept last night. A council team were sweeping under bushes in the park and we noticed the grass had been recently clipped and cleaned. It was a tidy looking riverbank! The students formed teams and went in for a closer look. Sure enough we uncovered a good haul of broken glass, paper and wrappers that had been through the mower, and we even managed to fish a few things out of the water. This included plastic bottles and a garbage bag but the soccer ball floating in the reeds was too far out of reach. The rubbish of the day is a tie between a light bulb and a broken thong.
Before the students walked back to school for lunch we talked about which of the items we collected might float further downstream, even as far as Hobart beaches and beyond, and which would probably stay in the local river environment. What do you think? I reckon there's a few science inquiries just begging to be done on what floats and why!
I zoomed down the highway with a strong tailwind. If I could reach Claremont before the end of the school day I could drop in for a quick hello to the Windermere Primary students. They had organised and completed their own clean-up and survey yesterday and I was super keen to see how it went. With the wind staying strong I made it in plenty of time. Too early actually, everyone was out playing inter-school netball and football! But I did get a report from a team of students who explained that they'd found plenty of debris on the shores near the school. We'll wait and see exactly what was uncovered when the results are uploaded to the Dump (which is slowly growing).
Special teachers note: There is an excellent new resource from an IMAS (Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies) project called Redmap. It's a chance for students to become scientists and potentially collect valuable data on marine species. Redmap have produced squillions (or a bit less) of laminated species ID booklets. Great teaching resources and free. We'll send out a booklet to the schools we know are on the Coaswatchers program but if you're silently watching from the side feel free to contact Redmap and request one directly.
26th July 2012
Lauderdale to New Norfolk, 51km
Beach Clean-ups: 1 (Howrah Primary).
Word of the day: defrost
Question of the day: Do tyres float?
Bird of the day: magpie
Rubbish of the day: Truck tyre
I heard a better name for dog poo today- barker's eggs. This morning the task was to get to Howrah Primary for a clean-up and survey of Howrah Beach, which is just over the school soccer pitch. Lucky ducks. The road in from Lauderdale was especially busy with morning work traffic so I was happy to find the Rokeby to Howrah bike track. At the school the three classes and parent helpers gathered with buckets, bags and gloves. We talked about being careful of needles, sharp glass and barker's eggs. Howrah Beach, like any that have hundreds of people using them each day, is full of new and decaying barker's eggs. Okay, I'll stop saying barker's eggs now.
Down on the beach the team spread to all the areas we didn't get to last week and began collecting. The usual suspects of plastic, cigarette butts, lollipop sticks, styrofoam and cans (from behind the dune) were all common. There were some great finds with one student finding a pile of coins (can't recall how much but let us know on the forum!). A small team excavated a truck tyre that was half buried and rolled it up to school, and there were lumps of concrete, a rotten blanket, jacket, pill bottles and piles more. And have a look at the photo with the students and the fishing lure. We coukld just about start a second hand shop by the end of the journey! Once again, we were all gobsmacked at how much junk had been hiding down there. The students dragged, rolled and lugged our collection back to the netball court for a closer look. With great apologies and mild relief that I couldn't stick around for the important job of sorting, counting and weighing I departed for New Norfolk. It was a fantastic clean-up from a really motivated team of students and I'm looking forward to seeing the final count.
Back on the road I was cursing my fingerless gloves and dreaming of a heated handlebar invention. The long drag up and dangerous descent of the Tasman Bridge gave a birds eye view of much of the Derwent Estuary where the recent clean-ups have been taking place. On the bike track from Hobart to Claremont I happened upon Jonah (pictured) who had a big pile of weeds hanging out of his backpack. "Why all the weeds in your bag Jonah?" I asked. Jonah explained that he's running workshop tomorrow as part of the Still Gardening program. The workshop will look at what weeds can tell you about your soil, which ones might be edible and which ones will probably kill you if eaten. Now that sounds interesting. Later in the expedition it could come in handy to know which roadside weeds I can eat...
Tomorrow: Made it to the beautiful Derwent River town of New Norfolk tonight and will be meeting New Norfolk Primary students tomorrow for a riverside clean-up and survey. It'll be interesting to see what litter might be getting into the Derwent and floating down to some of the beaches further down. Results tomorrow night!
25th July 2012
Roadside camp near South Arm to Lauderdale (via South Arm School), 25km
Beach Clean-ups: 1 (South Arm Primary).
Word of the day: wade (can you think of other verbs that are also used as peoples names?)
Question of the day: Is it true that black swans are only found (endemic) to Australia?
Shorebird of the day: Black swan
Rubbish of the day: Toy motorbike
Whoa, 130kg of beach debris was collected by South Arm Primary students today. We had to guestimate the weight of the machined timberbeacause it didn't hang off the scales properly, but whichever way you slice it up, that is a LOT of rubbish. We were on the neck beach from 9.30am-12.30pm with different groups being shuttled back and forth in 30-60 minute intervals. The neck is an isthmus (that means a narrow strip of land connecting two larger chunks) with a strong surf beach on one side and a sheltered cove on the other. Coordinating teacher Sally-Anne had noticed that a large amount of rubbish was collecting on the sheltered side so that's where we spent our time today. In a month or two the pied oystercatchers and other shorebirds will begin nesting here and it wouldn't be possible to do a clean-up in case we disturbed their nests, so it was just in time. I'll have to check with our bird expert Eric about some of the upcoming clean-ups to see if they'll be getting into breeding season time. If you're planning a clean-up of your own, it might be worth finding out about shorebird nesting too.
In the morning it was low tide and we could see the birds wading up to thier little birdy ankles, but by lunch the tide was in and the birds had either left or decided to float about on the surface. Some of the students told me that they call this Treasure Beach because it's well known that little objects of interest wash up regularly. The rubbish of the day was a toy motorbike, which I don't think made it into the end of day count. There were also a ot of tennis balls, pieces of plastic packaging, aluminium cans and even a few toothbrushes! The groundsman, Dave, made the observation that even more rubbish would be found on the other side of the road. I told Dave that we'd stick to the beaches and whoever takes on the 'Roadside Debris' expedition will be going for many years! But I do see the sections of highway that are adopted by different businesses and organisations, so there are sections of roadside being looked afte too.
When the last bus left I cycled into school to help Ebony, Zoe and Ella do the final weigh up and count. To count the seven bags of plastic debris we cheated a little bit. We decided to count half of one bag at random and then multiply that to represent all the bags. It's a sample count but if you're careful it can give you a fairly accurate total number. Based on our sample we estimated that there were 13440 pieces of plasti altogether. What a mammoth effort South Arm Primary!
Tonight I made it back as far as Lauderdale and had to check into the hotel as there were no good camping sites. Tomorrow I'll get up early to be at Howrah Beach (the end we didn't do last week) to work with Howrah Primary and then pedal up the Derwent to hopefully reach New Norfolk by nightfall.
24th July 2012
Roadside near Sorell to roadside near South Arm , 44km
Word of the day: enthusiastic
Question of the day: Is oil marine debris or pollution? (taken from the forum by JackWPS)
Coastal plant of the day: Sheoak (Allocasuarina spp.)
Roadside rubbish of the day: used nappies
There's a good question from JackWPS today in the forum, should we consider oil as pollution or marine debris? I think this needs more investigation and I'll send it off to Heidi Taylor for comment. Today was a travel day as I needed to get close to South Arm for a school clean-up tomorrow morning. It was hard to unzip the sleeping bag and get the morning routines started due to the very cold overnight temperature. I cleaned up the campsite so you could barely see that I'd been there, just a patch of flattened grass. No fireplace, no broken branches and no rubbish means no-one gets grumpy with me. The riding gloves are good for padding but not so good at keeping the tips of my fingers warm. Rolling down the hills into Sorell I tucked them alternately under my armpits. Just before town I spotted someone's drivers license that must have fallen out of a passing car. Knowing how annoying it is to lose your license I delivered to the police station, which wasn't open. If you're the Sorell police officer, there is a license slipped under the door.
Out of Sorell there is a causeway which crosses Orileton Lagoon. Stopping to read the sign, I learned that it's actually a worldwide recognised wetland. It's home to a number of threatened species including a seastar that gives birth to live young, one of only three species of seastar that does this. The rest lay eggs, which I didn't know either! If anyone knows why wetlands are important except as homes to threatened species, let us know. The sign also said that half of Australia's wetland habitats have been lost in the last 200 years. More investigation required.
Beyond Orileton Lagoon I took the road to Seven Mile Beach, Acton Park, Lauderdale and then out along Rifle Range Road to South Arm. At Lauderdale I watched the pied oystercatchers gather on the mudflats. First there were 7 wading through the shallows, then 18, and in the blink of an eye 27 appeared. I couldn't get a close-up photo but there are two of them in the photo. Not sure what they're busy eating but they seemed very enthusiastic as their little heads bobbed in and out of the water.
Tonight I'm camped on a soft bed of sheoak needles, which is about as good as it gets. I'm looking forward to seeing the South Arm Primary students tomorrow morning on the Neck Beach. Apparently there might be a lot of marine debris washed up, but we'll have to wait and see what the tide brings in.
Tomorrow: South Arm clean-up and then maybe ride back towards Hobart to be close enough for Howrah Beach clean-up with Howrah Primary on Thursday? Not sure where I can camp, might be back at Mornington cabin park?
23rd July 2012
Marion Bay to roadside camp near Sorell via Dunalley, 37km
Beach Clean-ups: 1 (Dunalley Primary).
Word of the day: distracted
Question of the day: Can you identify any of the shells pictured, either common or scientific names?
Shorebird of the day: Pied oystercatcher
Rubbish of the day: Pencil case
The Principal of Dunalley Primary, Matt Kenny, arrived at the Marion Bay carpark not long after I'd rolled in. He had a hi-vis vest on and a boot full of buckets, tongs, gloves, first aid kits and everything you need to take a whole school full of students, Kinder to Grade 6, to the beach. Jo Spargo from ABC had also come down a bit earlier to talk to some of the students doing the clean-up. Jo went to record an interview with Matt just as 2 large and 2 small buses arrived. Everything from that point onwards is a blur! No, not really, but the energy of the Dunalley students was wonderful. We made teams and walked the long, wide and slightly soft beach for what must be a few kilometers to near where the water rushes in and out of Blackman Bay at the spit. Several surfers were braving the cold water to paddle out to a distant wave break that is formed on the shallow sand banks.
With light winds and a cool winter sun the students looked high and low for marine debris. It didn't seem much would be found. In the middle of the pack where I was we got sidetracked looking for shells and inspecting a few dead bird carcasses (someone even found a little penguin wing). It was easy to get distracted by the scenery looking north up to Maria Island! In 2 hours many of us seemed to have only found one or two bits of rubbish. There was a pencil case unearthed, lots of machined wood (construction or boat material), a red hard hat, and assorted bits and pieces. But it wasn't until we went back to the school gym to lay it all on tarps that we could see the combined result of all those students efforts. I'd still say it was the cleanest beach I've seen so far (and it was an enormous area covered), but by the time it's finished being counted and weighed there will be hundreds or even thousands of individual items collected. Big extra thanks to Matt, Sabine Bailly, all the teachers and helpers on the beach. It was a massive team effort.
Jake and Blake jumped on their bikes to see me out of town and I continued around past Connelly's Marsh to find a good place to camp. I'll keep my exact location a secret but I can hear the cars whizzing past not far away. If you ever do need to camp between towns (because you're on a bike for example), you need to make sure you follow some sensible rules. Let me know on the forum if you can think of any?
The third Rubbish Dump clean-up, from Landsdowne Crescent (Mrs Wishart) is now online. Check out how many pieces of plastic and styrofoam they counted! Wow.
21st July 2012
Mornington to Marion Bay, 48km
The first Saturday of the expedition was a cracker. Sunshine, tailwinds and a relaxing ride from the edge of the city (Hobart) to the middle of the countryside (Marion Bay). After a week of beach clean-ups and short, sharp rides in between it was good to stretch out and get the feel of the bike again. Still heavy, it turns out, and still hard to push up Tasmanian hills! The temperature, despite sunny days, has hoverered around 12-13 degrees all week. It's perfect for riding and just a little chilly on the skin when you stop for too long. Today I stopped plenty of times beside the road and maybe even in a coffee shop or two? At Copping I met store owner John Yaxley (pictured) and visited the local museum. Even though I live in Tasmania and have driven past Copping plenty of times, I've never stopped to have a look around. One of the best things about riding is that you get to see the landscape, even familiar ones, in slow motion.
I've ridden this way because Dunalley Primary School are descending on Marion Bay beach on Monday for a mega clean-up. Luckily my friends Paddy and Prue have let me pitch the tent in thier backyard for a few nights and it's just down the road from the beach. Paddy is the site manager for the Falls Festival (music and camping) and Prue is a boiler maker who has worked in some incredible places. She will soon fly out to work in Papua New Guinea on drill rigs. Now that will be an adventure! Tomorrow I'm looking forward to helping Paddy on his mobile Lucas Mill (turns logs into sawn timber) and learning more about how it works. It'll be a good way to pay them back for the tent site, and I might even sneak inside to eat dinner with them tonight. There won't be a report on Sundays for this expedition because I'll write a weekly blog for the Mercury newspaper and choose a t-shirt winner from the forum.
20th July 2012
Mornington Base Camp with Howrah Beach clean-ups, 10km
Beach Clean-ups: 2 (Montague Bay Primary and Landsdowne Crescent Primary).
Word of the day: haul
Question of the day: What metals are different Australian coins made from?
Rubbish of the day: Car tyre
Finally, a piece of rubbish that will be really useful. This afternoon the Landsdowne Crescent team uncovered a fishing knife at Howrah Beach. I'll keep that to cut my cheese for lunch! In fact the whole day with Montague Bay in the morning, and Landsdowne Crescent in the afternoon was spent sifting the sands of Howrah. Toy soldiers, CD racks, newspapers, lighters, piles of cigarette butts, hundreds of little pieces of plastic and even a car tyre were in the haul. Leesa, from Ogilvie High, was the last future Flinders Island expeditioner to us join this week and she's taken the great photos in this report.
The two classes from Montague Primary were lucky the avoid the heavy showers that swept across Hobart early this morning. The team was joined by a parent helper with a metal detector for that hard to find buried treasure. An old two cent coin was one of the discoveries.
One of the dog walkers on the beach complimented the students on their effort and explained that she did her little bit to help keep the beach tidy as well. But, as she pointed out, many hands make light work.
After Montague Bay Primary departed there was a lot of excitment as the Landsdowne Grade 1, 2, 3 and 4's disembarked the bus and were split into teams by teachers, Mrs Dudgeon and Mrs Hall. Even though part of the beach was covered in the morning, the bags quickly filled with small and large pieces of litter. It seems the closer you look, the more you find, a theme common to this week and more than likely will apply to the whole expedition.
It has been a stupendous (another good word of the day) first five days of this adventure. Over 600 students and helpers have cleaned up beaches from Woodbridge to Howrah and soon enough we'll see the Rubbish dump filling up as we see the results coming in. Waimea Primary posted the second data set today. Well done.
Just to let you know, the weekly t-shirt winner, based on contributions to the forum, will be selected every Sunday. Stay tuned and get posting. There has been some great ones already this week with people introducing themselves, asking questions of our awesome experts, and answering the question of the day.
Tomorrow: Riding to Marion Bay, which will probably take all day, so no beach clean-ups planned. If any one around Tasmania, Australia or the world is heading to a beach over the weekend don't forget your rubbish bag, gloves and/or tongues and keep up the great work started this week (don't forget to post it online at the rubbish dump also!).
19th July 2012
Taroona to Mornington, 19km
Clean-ups: 2 (Albeura St Primary and Landsdowne Crescent Primary)
New phrase of the day: styrofoam fatigue
Question of the day: How is styrofoam made, what from, and what's is mainly used for?
Rubbish of the day: rusted aerosol can (pictured right)
This morning was the last one for the base camp at Taroona so I had to pack up the tent and load everything back onto the bike. It was too heavy to ride up the street where I've been staying so it was a slow start, pushing it to the top where I joined the main road into Hobart. At Marieville Eslanade I was joined by Nic and two more Ogilvie expeditioners, Lacey and Maddy. Not far behind them were two classes from Albeura Street Primary who had walked down from school with gloves, bags and tongs for the clean-up. The beach and park is a really popular dog exercise area which means there are little pooey landmines everywhere. The students had to remain standing for their safety briefing!
We were a little worried that a team from Waimea Primary might have made it this far yesterday and there wouldn't be any rubbish left but the students soon found plenty to fill their bags. Like at Cornelian Bay there was a lot of small broken pieces of glass and 'city' type rubbish. There's a large stormwater drain at the end of the beach which some of the students investigated, while another team went around the breakwall at the other end of the beach. Quite a lot of rubbish was found jammed between the rocks and in hard to reach places. Mrs De Paoli and Burnett gathered the troops up, we called it a clean-up success and parted ways. They went back to school and I hit the road to Bellerive Beach.
Through Salamanca and onto the bike track I rode up and over the Tasman Bridge. This is the main bridge that connects the eastern and western shores of the Derwent Estuary. Something dramatic happened in it's past but I might leave that for you to discover another time. By staying along the foreshore cycling tracks I could avoid the busy roads for a while, much less stressful. At Bellerive Beach I met Maddy and Lacey who had driven over with Nic and there was just enough time to grab some fish and chips for lunch. Lacey worked on the mobile phone to check and approve posts to the forum. Two classes from Landsdowne Crescent Primary arrived by bus and unloaded onto the sand. We walked to the far end for lunch before sweeping back on the hunt for marine debris. Mrs Rees took charge at the front with Mrs Wishart supervising a forensic team at the rear. Their job was to carefully pick over the scraps that the forward team had overlooked. This turned out to mainly be frustratingly small pieces of styrofoam. Pieces of disposable coffe cups, packaging boxes and beans (like the ones in bean bags) were everywhere at the back of the beach where the wind and tide had washed them into the sand. The students decided the forward team must have had 'styrofoam fatigue'. That's a condition you can get from crouching down to pluck individual styrofoam beans between your fingers for hours on end! I heard that it might be related to 'maths fatigue' too. The truth is that there is no easy way to collect all the pieces, but we decided it was a good start and the next clean-up groups can continue to make a dent in it.
There were some larger items of rubbish collected including a jerry can, detergent bottles, a whole stack of undelivered catalaogues (naughty delivery person!), a pill bottle, and a frisbee. For another school or group, we hardly made a start on the northern end of the beach where the carpark is located, so you'd get plenty of rubbish if you went there. To finish the day I cycled slowly over to the Mornington cabin park where I'll stay for a couple of nights.
Tomorrow: Heading to Howrah Beach to meet a new team from Landsdowne Crescent Primary and also Montague Bay Primary. Howrah Beach will be cleaner by tomorrow night but there is an iffy weather forecast so don't forget your raincoats.
18th July 2012
Hobart area clean-ups from base camp in Taroona, 29km
Clean-ups: 2 (Waimea Primary and Goodwood Primary)
Word of the day: volcanic
Question of the day: What is the bird pictured on the sign?
Rubbish of the day: Reading glasses
The beaches around Hobart are getting a very thorough scrubbing this week. Today I loaded a day bag in the trailer and headed to Waimea Primary to join a massive clean-up effort. Classes were buddied together and assigned different sections of coast stretching from Battery Point to Blinking Billy Point, with one team heading even further south to Blackmans Bay beach to fill their garbage bags. We all started the walk down from the school together but when we reached the walkway steps I peeled off and rode the rest of the way, the trailer is terrible bumping down steps! Sammi, another Flinders Island expeditioner also met us at Nutgrove Beach before we continued around the corner to a spectacular rocky shoreline at Blinking Billy Point. The rounded rocks (what makes the rocks on beaches round?) were of special interest because the team had heard that an outcrop of volcanic rocks was nearby. So, as well as finding marine debris the students also examined the rocks carefully. Many correctly identified the volcanic rocks but we had lots of questions over other types of rock. Some even had fossils. The rubbish of the day was someone's reading glasses. They were at the back of the beach and looked like they'd been left behind accidentally. If you lost these glasses contact Waimea Primary before they become part of a marine debris art exhibition! Overall the beach was much cleaner than others this week. The students guessed that it might be because the local residents take good care of it, or the shape and angle of the beach means that not much debris washes in. It'll be interesting to see the final result once it's all counted and appears on the Rubbish Dump.
Just before lunch I jumped on the bike and raced off to meet the Goodwood Primary students at Cornelian Bay for the second clean-up of the day. They'd arrived before me and were warming up on the playground, which is quite fantastic if you're ever in the area. Beau is pictured here doing an unconventional (that means 'not normal') dismount off the climbing tower. It's one you practise A LOT before trying in front of a crowd! Ishita and Anisha from Ogilvie High helped us out too. The Cornelian Bay beach is further up the Derwent Estuary than other beaches this week and it doesn't get ocean waves washing ashore. This meant the type of debris was different and the beach itself was different. The students had to look hard but they uncovered a lot of broken glass, plastic, and cigarette butts.
On the water were a something of ducks... what's a group of ducks called? There were also the common silver gulls, or seagulls as we usually call them, and a few pied oystercatchers. The bags were collected in the playground and we talked about what we'd collected. I felt a bit sorry for the teachers who are going to sort through the pile back at school because this was the 'dirtiest' rubbish from a clean-up so far. Good luck Goodwood and it'll be great to see the results on the Rubbish Dump!
I received a message from Snug Cares asking if I could put the following day's plan at the end of the daily report. Sure can, and if you have requests or suggestions to make the website work better for you, let me know.
Tomorrow: Departing Taroona base camp for the last time and joining Albeura St Primary for clean-up near Marieville Esplanade, then over the Tasman Bridge to Bellerive Beach to meet Landsdowne Crescent Primary at lunch. Campsite unknown but maybe Seven Mile Beach Caravan Park?
17th July 2012
Taroona area clean-up with Campbell Street Primary, 2km
Clean-ups: 2 (Campbell Street Primary and Laura & Peta OHS)
Word of the day: tongs
Question of the day: What are some commonly found birds on coastlines around Australia?
Rubbish of the day: Swordfish (pictured) or the part from an old kerosene lamp (not pictured)
Today was spent close to base camp in Taroona. Four classes, over 100 students, from Campbell Street Primary descended on the foreshore from the high school to the end of Hinsby Beach. Split into two groups they uncovered some incredible marine debris... and a dead fish. Joining us for the day as volunteer helpers were Laura and Peta from Ogilvie High School. They are part of the 11 strong team who are flying over to Flinders Island for the Girls Vs Wild expedition in September. Along with parent help, teachers and Principal Ricky Oates it was a large scale undertaking. The students filmed the event to make their own documentary and they've promised to send us the end result so we can all see it!
It was a bit like at Snug Beach yesterday where we thought perhaps there wasn't much rubbish washed up and our bags would be empty. But yet again with a bit of determination and many hands doing the work, the students collected many hundreds of individual items - we'll wait and see exactly how many when they get a chance to sort, count and weight the results back at school. The first casualty (with actual blood) was Sophie with a sliced finger from picking up glass. It's a good lesson for future Coastwatchers to use your tongs for dangerous items like broken glass. Sophie handled it without a fuss, accepted a band-aid from Mr Chadwick and continued onward in true adventure spirit.
The biggest piece of rubbish by size and weight was the broken off end of a dinghy that several students lugged up to the park rubbish bin for the council workers to collect. Other interesting items include the toy swordfish, a part from an old kerosene lamp, box cutter, thong, gumboot and a home made hula hoop! With sand dune making, destroying, and making again occupying after lunch it was an excellent day on the beach. Special thanks the Mr Krueger and the staff for organising the day.
Back at base camp, I have changed the tyre on the trailer and replaced the stand. Both of these items were well and truly worn out at the end of 8in8in8 but I'd forgotten until I got back in the saddle yesterday!
16th July 2012
Woodbridge to Taroona, 33km
Clean-ups: 2 (Woodbridge School, Snug Primary)
Word of the day: Launch
Question of the day: How many plastic bags are made every year around the world?
Rubbish of the day: Electric grinder disc (the cutting wheel)
The first day of Coastwatchers began at home as the moon faded into the sunrise. Looking up the Channel between Bruny Island and Woodbridge (the starting point), I could see that yesterday's rain had cleared away, probably chased into the Tasman Sea by the howling westerly wind! I cycled down to the Woodbridge Marine Discovery Centre to meet Andrew Walsh who has been a big help setting up for the launch. Sophie is doing work experience and the photo shows them in front of a marine debris display (a few ideas for teachers?!).
The invited guests, including Minister for Education Nick McKim and Rob Pennicott started to arrive before 10.00am just as the team of students from Woodbridge School walked down from the school grounds further up the road. Everyone bunched around the podium set up right on the edge of the water to listen to the Minister and Rob launch the expedition officially. Rob shared some mind boggling statistics about the number of plastic bags produced every year... (but in the excitement I've forgotten, so that's the question of the day)... and the wind continued to blow away anything that wasn't bolted down. No-one seemed to mind too much as we organised a small team of students to help on the very first Coastwatchers clean-up at the nearby beach. Most of the adult guests came down to help out as well and we collected our first survey information to put on the Rubbish Dump, nice work Woodbridge!
With a final farewell I pushed off with a wheeze and a grunt to begin pedalling north to Snug. The truth is I'm not very fit at the moment and forgot how hard it is to tow a fully loaded trailer, front panniers and a basket around on a bike. A few kilometers up the road, on the steepish hill out of Kettering, I had to dismount and push the bike. Appalling form, but it won't be the last time. Some of the hills later in the expedition are REALLY steep!
Snug Primary classes were meeting me after lunch for a clean-up on Snug Beach so I ignored my rapidly beating heart as best as possible and made it to the rendezvous (another word of the day) point early. Priya, a Bookend Trust scholarship student studying at UTAS, arrived to help with the beach safety which was wonderful. The students, teachers and adult helpers came walking down from the school in a long snaking line along the footpath. It was great to see the enthusiasm and smiling faces ready to pick up rubbish. We all the thought the beach looked fairly clean and wondered how much we could collect, but after an hour of fossicking close to the ground the students returned to the grassy park with bags full of marine debris. There was a grinding disc, sandals, bucket handle, treated pine post, tea bag and styrofoam box among the hundreds of items collected. The students will sort, count and weigh the loot in coming days to add to our Rubbish Dump. The wind had follwed me up from Woodbridge and positively gale force for the Snug team. They did a great job in tough conditions. "Look, there's a seal!" someone shouted from up the beach. We peered out and after a few moments realised it was a rubbish collection bag that had been caught by the wind and carried out of reach. Oops, that's not supposed to happen on a clean-up, but we decided we'd done more good than bad in the final wash-up!
Leaving Snug I continued up the Channel Highway, through Kingston and up one final hill to Taroona, which is a southern suburb of Hobart, or a northern suburb of Kingston... or just a place of its own. Depends how you look at it. I've pitched the tent in the front yard of a house (I promise I have permission) but the map won't show you exactly where it is for their privacy. That's enough to get us started, but a huge thanks to all who made the first day a success (that mean's I didn't crash and no students had sand fights). The list is too long for here but Andrew Walsh, Woodbridge staff and students, Minister McKim, Rob Pennicott, Niall Doran, Pete and Ninna (the camera people), Snug staff and students, and especially Nic, who gets a break from me for a while- you're all awesome and let the EXPEDITION BEGIN!
Counting down the days....
It's the day before the launch. I've been busy for the past week making sure all the equipment is ready for the riding, paddling and walking that coming up over the next four months. Ninna came with me to Cyclingo, a bike shop in Hobart, where they did some mechanical repairs on the old bike that rode with me around Australia a few years ago. It hadn't been well looked after (my fault) and needed a lot of shiny new parts to be safe to ride.
The good news is that they did a marvellous job and I've just taken it for a fully loaded test ride down the road and back. I've taken the basket off the handlebars and wired it to the back rack but otherwise it's the same set-up as 8in8in8, with a trailer and front panniers (bags that clip onto a rack over the front wheel). Nic, who you'll know as the Yellow Tailed Black Cockatoo (YTBC) on the forum, came with me. It felt incredibly heavy and it was a struggle to get up even the slightest hill. I've forgotten how much energy it takes to drag your life around in a trailer behind you! The first few days luckily don't have too many kilometers but I'll still have some sore muscles. It's raining outside now but the forecast is for clear skies tomorrow. The launch is at 10.00am with Woodbridge School students and some special guests at the Marine Discovery Centre. The first daily report and Rubbish Dump data should be coming through tomorrow (Monday 16th July) evening. Jump on the forum at any time to introduce yourself or leave a comment.
Whoa, that's a lot of rain outside... catch you online tomorrow.