One of our favorite family activities is hiking the coast and looking for treasure. Our treasure consists of Japanese glass balls, Giant scotch-mans, or anything we can pick up and give it a new use. It is always interesting to see what we can find. Even dead ocean animals washed in from the deep can be an interesting biology lesson for both the kids and us. We have found anything from Sperm Whales to tropical species including turtles. There is always time for play and a fresh seafood feast. Lunch can consist of mussels,clams, or barnacles. All of which we have found ways to cook over an open fire.
On our most recent mission, we encountered more man-made marine debris than ever. Which is totally expected due to an extremely large mass of debris from the Japanese Tsunami. There were many indicators including beverage bottles marked with what I believe to be Japanese writing. There is also way to much local debris. Styrofoam being one of them. I hate styrofoam. There I said it. It is cheap, widely used as floatation, and is everywhere on the coast. The foam is grinding into little bits and is forming what appears to be snowdrifts in the corner of coves. I have recently learned that it is also a common insulation used in Japanese homes. So we may see even more. On the upside, the stuff is super light and huge blocks can be carried away easily. Sometimes removing it can be an impossible task. What we have done is stash it in secure locations. This stops the styrofoam from breaking down and can easily be picked up later by helicopter.(if it is remote)
Since I haven’t heard any hard action plans just yet, we have been organizing little clean-ups and trying to form partnerships with other concerned individuals. The District of Ucluelet and Karla Robison have been leaders in data collection and seem to be really on top of things there. Joint projects involving Atleo Air, resorts, and local First Nations are in the works. So stay tuned…For now, we will be looking for volunteers and sponsors. For the off-season, Atleo River Air Service will be searching for anyone who wants to chip in for a full day adventure, fly 30 some miles up the coast by heli, do a little beach combing, see first hand the debris in remote areas, and do something about it. This priceless adventure will go for just the cost recovery of $400 per person. Please feel free to pass the info along to others and have them call us.