The weather was cool, but the enthusiasm warm, as 26 members of the Nanaimo Paddlers Club launched their kayaks and canoes to spruce up the shores of Newcastle Island.
Their mission was to rid the shoreline of every piece of flotsam and debris that had washed up over the summer and to return the Island to as pristine a condition as possible, now that boaters, campers and hikers have left for the season.
Five teams of paddlers spread out around the island Saturday, looking for anything that wasn’t of natural origin, while two five-metre skiffs cruised the shores waiting for radio calls from the volunteers to come in and take away their piles of garbage.
The paddlers found a number of large pieces of Styrofoam and four tires, which filled a pick-up truck, while garbage bags of other waste accumulated quickly, as well as what appeared to be a heavy iron ramp from a boat trailer.
Also found were large pieces of a car interior with the upholstery still attached to the vinyl, a brand new work boot, one new lady’s pump, and a single sneaker and sandals.
There were plastic and glass bottles, pieces of broken glass, plastic, food wrappers and metres of rope.
The total amount of garbage collected weighed in at 370 kilograms.
“It was evident that we collected less garbage this year than last,” said Liz Van Heerwaarden, cleanup organizer. “We hope it is a sign that people are becoming more environmentally aware and are picking up after themselves.”