Constantine Cornwall

Challenging clean up during winter storms

10 beaches in 10 days

Cornish local environmental group Clean Ocean Sailing has cleared a total of 863kg of marine pollution in just 10 days. This was accomplished under sail on ‘The Annette’, their historic Schooner, using her as a base for dedicated volunteers to clean remote beaches and coastline.

Many locals enjoy participating in beach cleans and are thoughtful as to their con- sumption of single use plastics. However, during their 10 Beaches in 10 Days expedition Clean Ocean Sailing targeted beaches that were only accessible by boat and, day after day, found them inundated with all sorts of marine debris.

This expedition did not come without its challenges. The crew faced an incredibly tough first day. They came across a juvenile fin whale, stranded above the high tide line. Just a few hours prior she was swimming along side The Annette, the crew watched on as she raised her tail out of the water to dive deeper. Sadly, despite the fast response and best efforts of the crew, BDMLR and other volunteers she passed away later that afternoon.

Furthermore, in an effort to avoid nesting and pupping seasons and therefore reduce environ- mental disturbance this expedition was planned for February – coincidentally a very stormy month. Battling through Storms Ciara, Dennis and Ellen, in swift succession, the crew experienced 50 mph wind, rain, thunder, hail and snow – sometimes all in the same day! Captain Steve Green recalls one of the journeys across the bay: “We sailed out of Gillan and across Falmouth Bay in big waves and 50mph winds. The old boat felt safe and as the wind increased we got up to 6 knots with all the sails away! Bare poles only!”. Despite the wobbly anchorages, sea sickness and soaked-through clothes that came with the weather the crew still powered on.

In the face of all these obstacles the crew still managed to pull off a series of impactful cleans, sure to benefit the local marine environment. When asked to sum up the trip in one work the crew came up with ‘rocky’, ‘windy’, ’memorable’, ‘fulfilling’ and ‘thrilling’ – with many keen to get back out again to clean even more distant shores.

In the end, 15 incredibly hard working volunteers removed 863kg of waste from 8 miles of coast. The waste was sailed back up the Helford River to their headquarters in Gweek, where it will be sorted, recorded and recycled appropriately. Much of the waste collected during this trip will be sent to the Ocean Recovery Project. From there the waste will be injected back into a circular economy system, for example Odyssey Innovation manufactures sea kayaks from this ocean plastic.