Penrith Island is a remote island approximately 80km from Mackay. Due to its fringing reef, we are only able to organise projects there on the highest tides of the year. Four volunteers and three crew set off in high seas on 14th of February and stopped in at Scawfell Island to clean up the beach and identify any problem weeds. Very happy to say that the beach was looking weed free and low on plastic debris.
The following day, even though the seas were 2m plus, we braved the weather only to turn around when wave height reached 3m. The safety of our volunteers is always paramount to any decision made. We decided that the best course of action with the possibility of a cyclone forming was to head to Brampton Island with a short run back to the marina if required. On arrival to a safe anchorage, we donned our hiking thongs for a walk to Turtle Bay to remove 80kg of marine debris from the beach.
Unfortunately, TC Marcia was planning to form and head towards Mackay and we were in its path. So, we headed for the safety of the Marina and some volunteers tried to drive as far down the coast before roads were possibly cut. Thankfully, TC Marcia decided to head south and missed Mackay completely. The crew of the Wild Cat and Dave bravely headed out the following day to collect rubbish left on previous projects on Brampton Island. In total, we were able to collect one and a half large industrial bins worth of marine debris from the island.
Thanks to all volunteers involved in what was Wildmob’s first project cancelled due to weather in 6 years. An eventful project that saw a huge amount of marine debris removed from beaches. We will be back to Penrith again, so stay tuned folks!