The Clean Beach Pirates organization started in June 2019.
Nol and Antoine met in the Spring of 2019. The Dutch skipper Nol Schade has been living and sailing in Greece for almost 20 years when he met Antoine Woestelandt. This young adventurer had come solo sailing from France and needed help from Nol with his boat. After repairing Antoine’s boat, they started sailing together.
Sailing around the Ionian Sea, they were startled and shocked by the incredible pollution on the beaches and bays in that area. Because they could not take it any longer to see this garbage lying around, they started collecting garbage in bags and clean beaches. Realizing that this pollution was so widespread, it was clear that more hands were needed to help.
By posting on social media, many volunteers were found who also cared about the environment and who were happy that they could really do something about it! This is how The Clean Beach Pirates organization was born!
The idea of collecting waste came naturally when they set foot on land in Sarakiniko Bay on the island of Ithaca. The beach was full of garbage, they started picking it up, then filling garbage bags, finding big bulky garbage, like tires, empty jerry cans, paint cans etc. For them it was not possible to leave the beach like that, so they loaded everything they could into the dinghy and went back to the boat. When they came back on board they started talking together, so that’s how the idea of collecting the waste to be germinated came about. Every time we visit a bay it paints the same picture, paradisiacal beaches covered with garbage. This project was started in May 2019 and there is still a lot to do!
What we do – The Clean Beach Pirates in action
We clean beaches and ports and publish every day about our work on Facebook and Instagram.
Our team consists completely of volunteers who help us with cleaning the cleaning, posting on social media, finding new volunteers for the boat, answering the mail, updating the site, planning, etc etc.
1. Cleaning beaches
We want to clean at least one beach every day, using the wind’s ability to take us from beach to beach, each time different. Smaller beaches, such as Kastos Bay (in the southeast), can fill up to 20 100-liter bags with waste. Most of these beaches are accessible only by boat, but even the most visited ones are full of waste. Generally the waste is hidden in the bushes, most of the time deliberately. To give in a idea of the magnitude – At the end of June we were a crew of 13 volunteers and we filled more than 100 bags in one week, not to mention the bulky ones (that don’t fit in a bag)!
2. Creating awareness
Changing people’s behavior starts with creating awareness about the global garbage problem, a problem that concerns us all and that we can only solve together.
Firstly we want to get people personally involved and then also we need the involvement of the local or regional governments.
Since we started only recently, we did not have time yet to solicit Greek public institutions. We do not want this movement to be limited only to Greece, our goal is to become bigger, working internationally with other boats joining in our cause.