Boarding the Arctic Sunrise from a support boat

Today we had the opportunity to get down and dirty. On our way back from the ice edge we sailed through the Forland Sundet to a beach called Poolepynten on the Island of Prins Karls Forland to pick up rubbish.  

Armed with rubber gloves and rubbish bags, a dozen of us strolled down the beach. We recognized in the snow some paw prints from an Arctic fox. About a kilometre away three reindeer were lying down to shelter themselves from the wind.

But how on Earth could such a remote place, hardly inhabited, have rubbish on its beaches you might ask? Well, both the Gulf Stream and the currents from Siberia happen to pass by, and bring in fishing nets, ropes, floats, and even the odd spray cans, bottles and plastic containers. The weirdest things we found were two different shoes and a computer screen!

We cleaned up the beach for about two hours in the morning.  After a quick trip back to the boat for lunch we were back on the ‘black widow’, one of our inflatable speedboats, for a second clean-up session of three hours.

Back home in New Lynn, Auckland, I regularly participate in rubbish clean-ups along the Whau, our local stream. It saddens me to see how much rubbish goes into the waterways and into the sea. But to find out that you can even find rubbish in such an isolated part of the planet is a stark reminder of the need to be mindful when it comes to not littering. I really enjoyed the work-out though. Tonight I will sleep in knowing that we did an awesome deed.