Trip Leader:   Tony and Stella Weldon

When: 14th – 15th May 2011

Location: Leschenault Peninsula

Participants: George & Linda, Glenn, Bruce & Judit, John & Lyn, Rick & Nancy, Michael, PJ, Richard & Helen, Guy, Rob & Julie, Mike & Marilyn, Tony & Stella.

Leschenault Conservation Park, Australind

Club members began arriving late on Friday afternoon in preparation for a work on Saturday and a convivial gathering around the campfire in the evening. DEC had left some excellent chopped wood for the campfire and happy campers enjoyed the ambience of the evening and speculated if there would be rain.

In the morning Leon, who is responsible for DEC Visitors Services in the Wellington District, arrived with other DEC staff Kevin, Nick, Tash and Bryan. After the briefing at 9am and the arrival of another three Club members, people divided into the Beach Party and the Shelters Group. 
Those of us at the beach walked and drove alternatively from north of Buffalo Beach to within about 3km of the groyne picking up pieces of rope, plastic items of all kinds, drink cans, bottles and lots of broken glass. Later Bridget and I walked from where the main group were working at The Cut around to the groyne and collected another large bag of bottles, cans and broken glass. A total of 30 bags of rubbish were collected and in addition a mattress, a cupboard, (possibly intended for future firewood at a beach party), a rusty fold-up chair and a bong were added to the heap at the campsite. Plus full cans of beer and baked beans & a jar of tomato sauce. None of these three were consumed by us! A pile of concrete was reported dumped at the beach entry of Belvidere Beach track. One beach campfire was still smouldering creating a hazard with its inclusion of broken bottles and so was quickly extinguished and removed.

A very detailed, very time consuming sorting of the debris was done and the details included in a report on the debris collected and has been sent as requested to DEC for information to the Tangaroa Blue Ocean Care Society, an international group set up to monitor beach debris. Their aim is to get background information about the type and source of such material in an attempt to change behaviour and protect the marine environment. Read more about this on It was suggested we count each item, catalogue and weigh the bags however, we did not have the resources to do this and left the bags for DEC to collect and process.

Several people were on the beach fishing and reported catching a few tailer, herring and some salmon that got away.

Linda, scribe for the Shelters Group, reported ten members headed off to ‘the cut’ for a day of measuring, dismantling and re-erecting. The two jetties are to be an ongoing project. Linda and George set about measuring both jetties for DEC to obtain the necessary timber so, on future visits, we can proceed to dismantle and renew the jetties. 

In the meantime Bruce, Judy, Rob, Julie, Richard, Helen, Guy and Mike went off to dismantle three shelters that were in the bush area back from the foreshore. Bolts were rusted on so grinders were used to cut them off. You have never seen such a happy crew pulling things to pieces. The shelters had been erected well and the bracing proved a bit of a challenge, this was eventually just sawn off. As Linda was sitting writing up the figures at one of the shelters Bruce decided to remove an overhead beam – fortunately he didn’t drop it and Linda lives to tell the tale.

Two shelters down, we stopped for a well earned lunch break. After lunch timber from the shelters was moved to the re-erection site, the third shelter was removed, and then all got involved in putting up the new shelter. George showed DEC how to work out where the poles went -they thought he was a bit over the top but at least it went in square. The others sorted out what timbers were needed then with four chiefs, all with different ideas, and many Indians (the beach crew had arrived by this time), the shelter was eventually standing proud and square. A job well done by all participants. We then all headed back to camp for showers, Happy Hour and a beautiful BBQ tea provided by DEC.

The moon rose through the clouds and then, for a few hours, was surrounded by a huge circle of cloudless sky with just three twinkling stars. This interesting “ring around the moon” phenomenon indicated rain mid week. Sceptics round the campfire, and iPhone, checking Google agreed this was so.

This is the information we have collected.

·     Date/ time/ hours spent collecting rubbish. Saturday 14/05/2011.

5 hours plus driving to and from the beach add 2 hours because some were not as quick as others. 12 volunteers

·      Total bags collected 31. One of these was collected from the area between the shelters at The Cut and the ocean. 29 left at the campsite and 1 put on the back of the DEC ute at The Cut.

·      Total distance travelled: from the northern boundary past Buffalo Beach to within about 3 km of The Cut entrance/groyne. One of our team drove the last few kms and noticed there was very little debris. We did not follow as there was drop off that did not look very stable. A rollover would be a trifle embarrassing

·      Weight : not possible – no scales provided

·      Total distance: not certain >10km

What did we pick up?

·      A lot of broken glass, broken bottles, cans, bottles, toilet paper, plastic bags, plastic toys, plastic bag remains, plastic drink and condiment bottles, glass jars, balloons, binding, cloth material, clothing, pieces of plastic, food wrapping, pull tabs, plastic containers, straws, polystyrene foam, paper & cardboard, plastic cutlery & plates, shoes, lids & bottle tops, plastic wrap, tea bags and foil.

·      Also bait container lids, strapping bands & pieces assorted lengths, fishing floats. Bait bags and packaging, plastic piping, rope of assorted length, a broom head, cable tags & ties and a machinery part.

·      Cigarette butts, lighters, packaging wrappers, drug paraphernalia, pieces of wood, furniture, tissues, sanitary products and nappies. A mattress was also dragged off the dunes in a sorry state

·      In addition to the items on the catalogue list other things collected were: 2 x live bullets, a bong, a wooden cupboard, a very decrepit matress, a chair with a person’s name on it. We reported also that a heap of concrete had been dumped just at the entrance on to the beach from the Belvidere track.

Every one participating agreed it was a great weekend and they will be back to do it all again in October.

Stella Weldon & Linda Bickerdike.


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