Trip Leader – Tony and Stella Weldon

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 removed.

A report on the debris collected 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 www.oceancare.org.au 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.

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.

Stella Weldon & Linda Bickerdike.

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