The Percy island group is a remote destination often only reached by cruising vessels, but its perfect for a Wild Mob project. It was recently hit by Tropical Cyclone Marcia so 7 enthusiastic volunteers and 2 crew were interested in seeing what damage was sustained. Endangered beach scrub on turtle beaches was the objective for the trip over 7 days.
The motor over to Whites Bay on Middle Percy Island was with glassy conditions with many flying fish and schools of tuna observed. On arrival, the vegetation damage was obvious with many damaged trees and leaves missing. The beach was thankfully free of weeds but not of marine debris so we were able to collect 300kg of rubbish and then explore the creek and its surrounding Melaleuca forest.
With ever changing conditions, we headed over to South Percy Island for the bulk of our work. The beach scrub was affected by Tropical Cyclone Marcia in some areas only. There was also evidence of recent activity with a few tracks of late adult Green turtles nesting and some new hatchlings emerging from nests. The work removing lantana and prickly pear was difficult in the sun, but we managed to cool down with refreshing swims at the end of the working day. We also got to explore the island on walks with breath-taking views and some snorkel to explore the underwater inhabitants.
The volunteers were keen to get into some weeding and help clean up the A-Frame located on Middle Percy. We were surprised at the amount of sand covering the walls of the building indicating the ferocity of the winds. A few of us went for a hike to the homestead surveying the damage to the trees and lack of birds. The biggest swarms of Blue Tiger butterflies we had ever seen greeted us. They were luckily sheltered in the rain-forested valleys.
On the journey back to Mackay we found an anchorage at Curlew Island. We walked the beach for weeds and found only a few. A small amount of marine debris along its length topped off an enjoyable trip.
A special thanks to all the volunteers for your efforts throughout the week. We were able to rehabilitate a total of 5.8km of beach scrub and clear over 400kg of marine debris from the beaches.