The team at Whitsunday Rent a Yacht believe that we're privileged to live in one of the most beautiful places in Australia and with that privilege, comes a sense of responsibility to the environment we love.
Certified ecotourism operators such as Whitsunday Rent a Yacht are already operating within a framework which aims to minimise the impact of tourism on the environment. However, we are always open to finding new ways to align with the values of ecotourism and to support local organisations who are focused on specific environmental goals.
When we heard about a clean-up flotilla being organised by Ocean Crusaders in the Whitsundays, we wanted to be involved.
The mission? To gather a group of likeminded people to cruise the Whitsundays for five nights, spending a few hours each day cleaning remote beaches while also enjoying the sites.
Ocean Crusaders is a charity organisation that specialises in cleaning campaigns for our oceans, waterways and beaches. They operate as a Social Enterprise, working for government organisations and large corporations to clean waterways on a regular and often annual basis.
Ocean Crusaders focus on going to the places many wouldn't, removing items many think are impossible to get.
The community Beach and Island Clean Ups run by Ocean Crusaders are usually large scale events, joining forces with other groups to make light work of what can seem like a daunting task.
A flotilla is a group of boats which sail together, like a convoy.
Whitsunday Rent a Yacht operate flotilla group sailing holidays (outside of Covid) so that people can sail in company to the outer Great Barrier Reef and beyond the standard bareboat cruising area. The clean-up element, however, has been brought to the table by Ocean Crusaders.
Ocean Crusaders takes the clean-up flotilla team to remote beaches and using a barge named "Salter" - they remove plastics and debris. Once the rubbish barge has been filled, it's taken to the mainland for sorting.
In between cleaning remote beaches & waiting for Salter to return for another re-fill, the crew enjoy hikes, swims and relaxing on their boats.
There are several options to choose from when it comes to joining a clean-up flotilla with Ocean Crusaders in the Whitsundays.
The Whitsunday Islands are heavily protected with areas holding world heritage and National Park status. Yet, despite best efforts to keep the Whitsundays pristine, the unfortunate truth is the world’s oceans are overrun with plastics and even the most idyllic places get their fair share.
Popular beaches are kept clean around the Whitsunday Islands, simply because they attract more people who do the right thing. There are also several local organisations such as Eco Barge Clean Seas who frequent the islands, managing coastal rubbish.
But not every beach in the Whitsundays is easily accessed, and it's these smaller, out of the way places which become built up with plastics and boating waste. Hard to reach beaches are the focus of Ocean Crusaders clean-up efforts.
The below video was taken at Shaw Island and shows the type of work the recent flotilla undertook.
Working with Sunsail Whitsundays, Whitsunday Rent a Yacht and Whitsunday Getaways; Ocean Crusaders managed to put a fleet together with 40 people.
There were three private boats, 3 bareboat chartered from the Sunsail/WRAY fleet and Whitsunday Getaway II, who was the all-inclusive vessels.
The team managed to remove 2.2 tonne of debris from the Islands. It was a real community effort with 20 cubic meters of the debris going into a skip provided by the Whitsundays Regional Council.
If you do find yourself on a remote beach with rubbish in the Whitsundays, spend some time stacking the waste above the high tide mark. Local clean up teams such as Eco Barge can pick up the stacks of rubbish you create.
This video from the 2020 clean-up flotilla highlights how everyone on a bareboat charter can help.
Ocean Crusaders are planning to return to the Whitsundays for a clean-up flotilla in 2021. If you feel inspired to join the crew, follow Ocean Crusaders on Facebook for up to date information. If you're not in the Whitsundays but still want to be involved with Ocean Crusaders, head over to their website oceancrusaders.org
Thank you to everyone who was involved in this year's clean-up and to Ocean Cruisaders for including us in such a worthwhile environmental initiative.
Join us in the Whitsundays and enjoy the freedom to explore