Gili Trawangan has been stuck inside an island lockdown for almost 3 months now. No one allowed to enter and if you leave, you cannot return. After the initial few weeks, these strict measures meant that if islanders are sensible and social distancing, we can kind of do as we please. We aimed to set out World Oceans day to make it safe and fun for everyone, whilst still trying to encourage the whole community to help out for our oceans as they could!
Morning turtle nests!
It seems to be a Gili Trawangan World Ocean Day tradition that some of our resident sea turtles come up the beaches to nest! For the 3rd year running, in the morning of WOD, we answered calls of a reported turtle landing in the north of the island, a young hawksbill mother had made her nest! We started the day by carefully installing a protection cage over to fend off predators, and discourage poachers from taking the eggs. Once our little babies have hatched (trust us, you will hear about it first!) then whilst they are waiting in the little cage, we can ensure the whole beach is free of rubbish and debris – even a cigarette butt, or a footprint is enough to hinder their tiny but huge journey down the beach to the ocean!
Barre, beach clean and burrrn!
World Oceans day started with an amazing session of Barre, some hardcore aerobics followed by more squats on the beach and a quick dip in the ocean to snorkel clean up any surface plastics in the north. They collected 9KG of marine debris just from the north beaches, what a great start to the day!
Cleaning Up Our Dive Sites
Several GIDA dive shops got together to clean the dive sites with the most marine debris found in recent weeks. With this effort of the shops working together, we collected 116kg of ghost nets and fishing lines, nappies, plastic sachets and wrappers and a whole array of other plastic waste. We focused the underwater clean ups in the channel between Gili Trawangan and Meno, this is where most of the plastic trash travels from river outlets in Lombok (and some, further afield!) and floats through this currents and gets caught amongst corals, lucky we had such good teams with great plastic-hating eyes to search even for the tiniest bits of rubbish.
One island beach clean up
Our morning turtle tracking around the island means that we can report on any areas of debris on the beaches as well – double turtle conservation efforts! From this, we found 4 locations with so much debris that we needed help from all Gili Islanders to ensure our beaches remain beautiful for the rest of the dry season. The four groups met at 4pm with bags at the ready and learnt what we could separate and recycle as we went along the beach. This way, we can send as much of the beach plastics to be recycled as possible. In one hour, the massive beach clean efforts brought in 385KG, bringing the total for World Oceans Day to 510kg! Half a ton of rubbish, one day, a whole bunch of dedicated islanders!
The day finished off with an ocean inspired pub quiz where fantastic hosts at Trawangan Dive centre put islanders to the test with some pretty hard questions and facts about our oceans, dorking out on some ocean debris facts, how far we have explored the underwater world (less than space, how crazy is that?!) and a wavy music round with some singalongs at the end. The charity quiz entry fee totaled an amazing 2,100,000RP which is to be split between the FMPL working ponies, and feeding the ponies in STUD horse riding adventures – the only ethical sunset horse riding stables on Trawangan. Why? Because in their free time (and they have a lot of it now!) all of these ponies love to spend their time splashing in the sea as well!
As the island lockdown continues, we will continue to patrol the beaches to protect the nesting turtles, to keep on cleaning the beaches as often as it needs and feeding and taking care of the island animals. If you would like to donate to help feed our trash ponies whilst they continue to clean up the rubbish then please follow our GoFundMe page!